Nations a n d
Issue 11.1 US $9.95
I N T E R N AT I O N A L H U M A N I T Y F O U N D AT I O N
For over 25 years, International Humanity Foundation has been a proactive advocate for the most vulnerable populations throughout the world. From providing education and safe shelter for the poorest children of Indonesia and Thailand, to famine relief for nomadic tribes in Kenya, IHF has helped the outcast and impoverished gain the most basic of human needs-a sense of self-worth and dignity.
Who We Are
International Humanity Foundation is a nonreligious, non-political, non-profit volunteer organization providing the world's poor with basic humanitarian aid while preserving their cultures, traditions and beliefs.
Orphanage/Safe-Home Program opens homes around the world to the most vulnerable and marginalized children from slum areas and nomadic/tribal villages who cannot be placed with relatives. At the IHF orphanages, children find a personal, permanent family-one that preserves the values and traditions of their culture in an informal, supportive environment conducive to growth and learning.
Education is the cornerstone of IHF; half of our mission is to educate the poor, while the other half is to educate the world about the poor. We create lasting relationships that are a learning experience for both those we help and the volunteers who help them. We strive to provide information about global poverty with the goal of creating a society better prepared for effective problem solving. IHF policies and programs are firmly rooted in a “pass it on” philosophy. By passing on the exchange of ideas and knowledge through direct communication with others, we encourage the development of thoughtful, informed leaders for tomorrow.
2 Harvard Asia Pacific Review | Spring 2010
The Education Program finances expenses for education in countries where public education is a luxury and most of the poor cannot afford to send their children to school. Sponsors can provide the costs for tuition, books, uniforms and graduation ceremonies for one child. Class Sponsorship Program encourages class-to-class sponsorship and builds connections between students in the West and the poorest students overseas. In addition to English and computer skills, we teach math, leadership and life-skills, all designed to enhance our students' problem-solving and teamwork abilities. Famine Feed Program provides emergency relief for the severely malnourished nomadic tribes of Kenya during periods of extreme drought. Our volunteers and local staff distribute enough food monthly to feed more than 500 malnourished tribespeople—mostly women and children—who often walk all day to receive several handfuls of food. Survival Program funds the purchase of chickens, goats and camels for the poorest starving families in rural nomadic tribes. Because they are often unable to farm the land they inhabit, many East Pokot tribes depend on these livestock as a reliable source of sustenance and self-sustainability. Medical Clinic Program funds a basic medical facility staffed by one full-time nurse to provide free or low-cost health care to the children and surrounding community, as well as to our local staff. Medicine and first aid are IHF priorities in Kenya, and our vision is to provide a much larger range of medicines and services. Tribal Peace Farm is an extension of our orphanage and brings people together from surrounding tribes. Its 20 acres in the fertile Rift Valley of Kenya is a group effort of peace, development and sustainability. Children assist in tending it, and crops from this land provide income for the orphanage. Plentiful harvests are shared with the poorest tribes in the surrounding desert areas.
IHF is a registered 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Foundation in the United States.
FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT WWW.IHFONLINE.ORG
ASIA PACIFIC REVIEW
VOLUME XI • ISSUE 1
Comparisons of National Identities in East Asia Gilbert Rozman
The Many Faces of Chinese Nationalism Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom Evolving Chinese Nationalism: From Maoism to Angry Netizens Orion A. Lewis
13 16 20
Compromised Independence: The Geopolitics of Culture in Thailand Michael Herzfeld The Political Economy of Food Safety in Asia, and Implications for the US David A. Hennessy & Fengxia Dong Australian nationalism and its impact on perceptions and relations in the Asia-Pacific region Anthony Moran The Politics of Chinese Nationalism in Asia Edward Friedman
SUBFEATURE: INDONESIA’S TRIUMPHS AND CHALLENGES
28 32 35
Towards Harmony Among Civilizations Susilo BambangYudhoyono An Indonesian Future: Beyond Conflict, Democracy, and Islam Aguswandi Cooperation, Friction, and Safeguarding: Australia and Indonesia’s Security Relationship Dale Stephens & Stefan Gruber
40 43 48
Australian Coal and Climate Change Mitigation R. Quentin Grafton & N. Ross Lambie India’s Economy and the Financial Crisis Dilip K. Das From Circumstantial Bias to Hindutva: Communal Riots and the Political Journey of Hindu Nationalism in Gujarat Anurag Pandey
Citations, references, and additional credits may be found in the online supplement to this issue at http://hcs.harvard.edu/hapr. All photos are protected under the Creative Commons license. Photo Credits: Cover - http://www.flickr.com/photos/rzganoza/3544659685/; p. 14 - http://www.flickr.com/photos/specialkrb/4447108335/; p. 19 - http://www.flickr. com/photos/lobsterstew/135228930/; p. 21 - http://www.flickr.com/photos/linh_rom/2270221225/; p. 25 - http://www.flickr.com/photos/beggs/48950751/; p. 32 - http://www. flickr.com/photos/ahron/148322765/; p. 34 - http://www.flickr.com/photos/tb2011/4457262364/; p. 39 - http://www.flickr.com/photos/angells60640/4462206745/; p. 41 - http:// www.flickr.com/photos/roddom/153521729/; p. 47 - http://www.flickr.com/photos/steveweaver/435539215/; p. 49 - http://www.flickr.com/photos/emmanueldyan/3409746838/
Harvard Asia Pacific Review | Spring 2010 1
Editors-in-Chief Weiqi Zhang Kevin Zhou Managing Editors Joa Alexander Mina Chang Business Manager Kevin Lin MARKETING DIRECTOR Elizabeth Mrema Editorial Staff Andrew Badger Stefan Gruber Angela Kwan Alfredo Molo DESIGN Editor Cindy Wang PUBLISHER Samuel H. Lipoff EDITORs-in-chief emeritus Wendy Ying Ting Zhang Board of Advisors Carter J. Eckert William C. Kirby Roderick MacFarquhar Elizabeth J. Perry Ezra F. Vogel The Harvard Asia Pacific Review is the publication of an official Harvard College student-run organization. Volume 11, Number 1 Copyright © 2010. ISSN 1522-1113. No material appearing in this publication may be reproduced without permission of the editors. The opinions expressed in this journal are those of the contributors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors. Special thanks to the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University for its continued support. This issue was funded in part by grants from the Harvard University the Asia Center and Undergraduate Council. Subscription price: US$20 per volume (two issues). For subscriptions outside the US, add US$20 per issue.
From the Editors In the past decade, a spotlight has been shined on nationalism in Asia. Nationalism has provoked much study because of its impact on bilateral ties, economic relationships, and cultural identity. In the case of China, for example, scholars have argued that nationalism can serve as a legitimizing and destabilizing force in the region. On the one hand, events such as the 2008 Summer Olympics served to reify the country’s national solidarity. On the other hand, nationalism has resulted in greater tensions between China and Japan. This issue of the Harvard Asia Pacific Review seeks to explore the multifaceted dynamics of nationalism in the greater context of the Asia Pacific region. While we explore the rising nationalist sentiment in East Asia’s major players, we also examine how national identity has impacted the politics and international relations of countries such as Thailand, Australia, and India. An inquiry into nationalism in the Asia Pacific region yields a series of interesting questions that this issue seeks to address. How has nationalism evolved in recent decades? What are the similarities and differences across countries? Have governments utilized it strategically for political purposes? What are the long-term prospects for nationalist movements in these countries? In this issue, we attempt to answer these questions through the contributions of scholars who come from a range of disciplines, including history, political science, and sociology. We begin our analysis with an overview that seeks to contextualize nationalism in East Asia, and proceed to magnify its complex nature in China. We then gauge the evolution of movements in countries such as Australia and Thailand, enabling us to draw comparisons between the nationalism of the present and the nationalism of the past. Turning away from nationalism, our Sub-Feature will focus on the triumphs and challenges facing Indonesia. We will examine the importance of the strategic bilateral relationship between Australia and Indonesia and will explore the difficulties that Indonesia has experienced in its transition to democracy. With recent controversies surrounding the Uighurs in Xinjiang, the rightists in Japan, and separatist movements in Southeast Asia, nationalism is becoming an increasingly important issue for the prospects of stability in the Asia Pacific region. It is our hope that these articles will provide our readers with a critical understanding of the political, cultural, and economic ramifications of these nationalist movements.
Advertising: Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Indexed in http://www.asia-studies.com Printed in the USA
2 Harvard Asia Pacific Review | Spring 2010
FEAT URE: NATIONA L IS M
Comparisons of National Identities in East Asia Gilbert Rozman Recent interest in the separate national identities of Chias in Japan during the cold war and South Korea after the na, Japan, and South Korea has not translated into joint recold war. They focus at different times on economic, culgional analysis. Academic traditions of single-country studtural, and political pride, narrowing to one of these sectors ies and generalized global analysis neglect the promise of in difficult circumstances and compounding these sources of focusing on states in East Asia with shared experiences. Prepride when times are better, as in Japan in the 1980s, South occupation with the sharp divide in the region over memoKorea before the financial crisis of 1997-98, and China in the ries of Japan’s historical conduct in the half century leading to 2000s. National identities look back to evaluate a country’s 1945 diverts attention from other themes of national identity. history, selectively applauding some periods while making By comparing the national identities of the three principal excuses for unsatisfactory outcomes in others. China, Japan, East Asian countries, each heir to a premodern state imbued and South Korea all assess some periods negatively, struggle with a shared civilization distinct from any found elsewhere with a perceived lack of normalcy in the cold war era, and in the world, I identify below some regional commonalities. continue to debate the meaning of the post cold war era. The On the basis of these, I argue for the presence of an East Asian vertical dimension refers to levels within a nation, treating National Identity Syndrome (EANIS) with potentially powstate identity in relation to the micro-level of self and comerful implications for foreign relations as well as domestic munity and the intermediate level of civil society and local or regional claims to identity. governance and legitimacy. The concept of national identity as applied to While there has been conThe goal here is to explain what EANIS is and briefly East Asia over the past two decades has such a testation in each of the East Asian cases, the state level note a few reasons why we broad range and so much descriptive content remains supreme. At the should not be surprised by horizontal level, ties to the its existence. that is particular to one country’s experience United States play a large National identity has become a catch-all phrase that only by imposing some order through a clear role in shaping national frustrating balancwith at least three customframework can we expect to make effective use identity, ing efforts in all three states ary aspects: 1) reference to of comparisons and determine their value. through Asian regional ties the state as the unit of analand some type of internaysis apart from a minority of usages focused on an ethnic nationality; 2) emphasis on tionalism. Finally, the depth dimension concerns the intencultural themes, associated with claims for how the state sucsity of national identity. Intensity is high and widely shared ceeds; 3) focus on the impact of perceptions, of both those across the region, rising through a recent spike in China to who are swayed by these claims and those who are affected, the highest level observed. positively or negatively, by their application. Yet, scattered Applying these six dimensions makes comparisons posapproaches in history, political science, and sociology to this sible. Although the intent here is to center on similarities concept leave uncertain what perceptions of state culture are among the three countries with little note of differences, it is of interest. The concept of national identity as applied to East necessary to establish a standard against which to view the Asia over the past two decades has such a broad range and region. Briefly, this can be summarized as: balanced treatment of each dimension and moderate intensity of identity. If so much descriptive content that is particular to one counthis standard is not fully present in any country, it still serves try’s experience that only by imposing some order through analysis as an ideal type. a clear framework can we expect to make effective use of comparisons and determine their value. Here I specify a sixdimensional interdisciplinary framework of analysis used to The Ideological Dimension identify similarities that, I suggest, reveal the presence of an For four and a half postwar decades Japan was split by EANIS with deep roots in the histories of the countries of this a fierce ideological battle between conservatives, who held region. the reins of power, and progressives with prominence in aca-
The Six-Dimensional Framework for National Identity Analysis
Studying national identity, we can differentiate ideological, sectoral, temporal, vertical, horizontal, and depth dimensions. While this list is not comprehensive, it broadly covers the principal issues that figure in discussions of how national identity may matter. National identities fall at different places in the ideological spectrum, often giving rise to sharp contestation between conservatives and progressives,
demic/cultural circles. With the victory of the Democratic Party of Japan in the Diet Lower House elections of August 30, 2009, remnants of the progressive group have again gained influence. Since the democratization of South Korea power has alternated between conservatives and progressives, each insistent on their ideological viewpoint. After ten years of progressive rule Lee Myung-bak’s victory in late 2009 redressed the balance. In China after a brief struggle over ideology in the aftermath of Deng Xiaoping’s shift away from Mao Zedong’s communist extremism, a more cautious FEATURE | Comparisons of National Identities in East Asia 3
orthodoxy has been favored since 1989. In each case a centrist view of the state has not taken hold. One extreme on the political spectrum strives to implant a one-sided version in support of state honor. Revisionism called for “normal Japan” to revisit its past in order to find pride, rejecting centrist thinking in line with international verdicts. For Korean conservatives, as progressives, there was a need to find special meaning in the past in order to overcome the disparaging assessments about why Korea had fallen to the Japanese and then fallen into civil war. China’s communist ideology depended on rejecting the international community’s views of Mao, Stalin, and then the Tiananmen massacre of 1989. An unbalanced ideology has kept squeezing out centrist ideals in each state. Of course, Japan and South Korea embrace democracy and do not challenge the importance of universal values in contrast to China’s condemnation of such values as a smokescreen for hegemonism. China and South Korea accuse Japan’s revisionist ideas about history of being the ideological outlier in the region. These alternative approaches to ideology do matter. Yet, unlike these approaches, the obsession with reasserting the honor of the state as an ideological driving force that stands in the way of centrist thought is shared across the region, reviving a central Confucian theme of bygone times.
cast a shadow in Japan or the division and military dependency that had a similar effect on South Korea.
The Temporal Dimension
The ideal view of history is sustained pride in all periods even if each has its troubling aspects. In East Asia, however, the premodern and prewar periods are seen as troubled by state failures, the cold war period is treated as abnormal because critical goals were not reached, and the post cold war decades appear as a quest still in progress. Great significance is attached to history for its impact on current national identity. Struggling with humiliation over past failures, the nations of this region strive to conceal some of them and to redress the verdicts on others. Japan’s defeat, Korea’s colonization and then division, and China’s century of humiliation followed by communist excesses all cannot be excluded from efforts to redefine national identity for long-lasting national pride. Japan has postponed serious debate and instruction about its decades of war and defeat until recently. Yet, increasingly conservatives regard it as essential to reassess this record in order to realize a normal national identity. South Koreans join in condemning Japan’s treatment of their country, but they are split on how to evaluate its impact on the cold war era and on how to deal with the U.S. role in that era as well as the narrative about a divided country and how to The Sectoral Dimension achieve reunification. Chinese leaders systematically censor In Japan and South Korea in the 1950s and China in information on the history of the communist party in order to the 1980s, amidst criticisms of deep-seated cultural defects convey a one-sided version of their past. All of these states (acute failures were traced far back to a flawed national culare caught in a time warp, distorting the truth and wavering ture), the first challenge was to restore cultural pride. This as politically powerful groups prepare to rewrite the historiproved possible because there was a deep reservoir of mass cal narrative. Confucianism supportive of cultural national identity. The A balanced view of history would find more merit in second challenge was to show that in international ecothe cold war in Japan and even South Korea, especially as it nomic competition—the princiachieved democratization and an pal measure of modernization— National identities look back to evaluate economic upsurge by the 1980s. one’s country could achieve an In China it would find more to “economic miracle.” This fueled a country’s history, selectively applauding criticize in the cold war period, the image of a state overtaking some periods while making excuses for despite drawing positive concluother countries, drawing on dissions about the growing diversity unsatisfactory outcomes in others. tinct social relations and even of voices as well as economic “Asian values” rooted in cultural reforms in the 1980s. All three uniqueness. Finally, political national identity became the states place the narrative of the cold war within a worldview focus. Achieving a breakthrough on some symbolic matpointing to the need to overcome shortcomings without adter of international standing loomed as the ultimate test. All equately recognizing how building a global system in supthree identities coalesced in Japan in the 1980s as political port of individual rights and international stability deserves to goals seemed within reach, leaving the abnormal postwar be a factor in assessing what their nation did, right or wrong, era behind. In South Korea prior to the Asian financial crisis during this period in its history. the three sectoral identities also were ascendant, reinforcing The post cold war era is viewed too narrowly as a stepeach other. Last, it was China’s turn since 2008 with the ping stone to gain the full credit in national identity it deserves Beijing Olympics to experience a surge of all three types of for fostering international responsibility. Chinese are still too national identity together. preoccupied with grievances, while Japanese and South KoOther countries may become boastful of one or another reans concentrate primarily on their immediate identity consectoral identity, but they are inclined to couch their argucerns steeped in history and regional competition. ments more universally. Stressing pluralism as the key to political culture, many in the West accept multiculturalism. The Vertical Dimension Embracing market principles as the key to economic growth, Decentralization has lost momentum after rising hopes they do not stress unique social conditions. In seeking a in the 1980s or 1990s in each of the three states. Civil soshared approach to international responsibility, they generciety did not gain the sharp boost some expected from the ally do not have one or another breakthrough in mind for information revolution and economic globalization since the political national identity. In the EANIS there is a sequence end of the cold war. Strong traditions of familyism are fading of rising sectoral pride culminating in an overlap of multiple under a demographic onslaught and the anomie linked to sectors of pride that raises the intensity of national identity to rapid modernization. Enterprise paternalism has lost ground a high pitch, especially in China, which is not burdened with in each country under new economic conditions. Instead the troubled history of defeat and military dependency that of the intermediate level strengthening as a balance or the 4 Harvard Asia Pacific Review | Spring 2010
micro-level retaining vitality, as expected in the Confucian its horizontal identity on a different plain. Its suspicion of tradition, national identity focused on the state dominates universal values leaves no replacement for opposition to the scene. Politicians in China and Japan have pressed to ideas of internationalism, reinforced in the crackdown of intensify this state-centered iden1989. While since 2000 China tity rather than to revive efforts to has shown an interest in multilatIn East Asia, however, the premodern impose new limits. eralism, including the East Asian and prewar periods are seen as troubled Summit, the Shanghai CooperaIn all three states some attempts continue to redress the by state failures, the cold war period is tion Organization, and the Sixvertical identity balance. China’s Party Talks, each has been intertwo most prominent ethnic minor- treated as abnormal because critical goals preted to exclude values and give ities, the Tibetans and Uyghurs, were not reached, and the post cold war China a chance for leadership. protested in 2008 and 2009 only Despite signs of closer cooperato be brutally repressed. South decades appear as a quest still in progress. tion with the United States after Korean opposition parties call 2005, China’s national identity for restraints on presidential power until their own candidate leaves scant room for joint pursuit of internationalism and is in charge. Japan’s advanced welfare needs for an aging open regionalism in Asia with room for U.S. participation. population lead to new appeals for local power to avoid the red tape of distant bureaucracies. Yet, claims to be achievThe Depth Dimension ing greater balance ring hollow. Hu Jintao’s “harmonious soThe weakness of centrist views, the compounding of ciety” is tightly controlled from above. Japan’s past claims political/cultural/economic identities, the discounting of to a unique level of “harmony” in a “middle mass society” historical periods involving sustained cooperation with the crumbled in the face of sharp new cleavages. South Korean United States as abnormal, the emphasis on state identity at pretense of being the most “Confucian society” is heard less the expense of identities at various levels under the state, and and less. In comparison to states’ rights and vibrant interthe alienating of neighbors while building the moral case for est groups elsewhere, East Asian settings are becoming even leadership in Asian regionalism, all testify to one-sided namore dominated by the moral authority of the state. tional identities. They also reflect intense emotions about naWithout democratic elections and a free press, China is tional identity. Japanese politicians rail against the apathy of most vertical in the way it treats national identity. Despite young Japanese. South Korean progressives are suspicious of the vast size of the country and its decentralized approach to the Americanized ways of many in the Korean elite. Chinese economic investments and development, leaders have boostcommunists have reacted harshly to the spread of Western ed monopolies on matters related to identity, seizing on the ways of thinking. Yet, they have all found ways to reinforce Beijing Olympics as an opportunity to bolster the state. The national identity, forging an atmosphere of defensiveness and common pattern in the EANIS is being carried to an extreme highlighting symbols of danger to the nation. by China’s leadership. In contrast, victories by opposition It is the intense and even explosive nature of national parties in Japan and South Korea keep alive talk of reform to identities that makes study of the EANIS of special interest. reduce some central powers as international ideals continue Japanese examples are mostly associated with support for poto win support. litical leaders pressing revisionist causes, such as visits to the
The Horizontal Dimension
European states are committed to international ideals, work together regionally in the EU, and have stabilized relations with the United States. In contrast, the East Asian states are still hesitant about internationalism, despite lip service to the goal of an “East Asian Community” lack the trust to find a path toward regionalism, and remain obsessed with the United States in ways that stand in the way of a balanced horizontal identity. For many Japanese to achieve a “normal” identity means to gain equality with Japan’s ally and to voice candid views about events from the atomic bombs dropped on their country to the Tokyo Tribunal to the San Francisco Peace Treaty. Idealists about Asianism and about a non-nuclear Japan as the basis of internationalism also fail to heed urgent post cold war appeals for international responsibility. South Koreans have voiced support for internationalism as a host of the G-20 in 2010 and regionalism, notably under Kim Dae-jung, but its priorities center on the peninsula. Also, as seen in Roh Moo-hyun’s hesitancy about supporting the United States and Lee Myung-bak’s enthusiasm for this, the U.S. relationship looms too large, given the uncertainties with North Korea, to divert much energy to other foreign policy goals. Despite strong desire to overcome dependency on one state, leaving a gaping hole in the quest for national identity that has yet to be filled, no realistic options have emerged. China’s fierce competition with the United States puts
Yasukuni Shrine, but that does not diminish their relevance. South Korean examples have lately mostly related to progressive causes and demonstrations such as candlelight vigils. Of Chinese examples many are linked to outbursts against Japan or the United States, but in the defense of state moves in the face of international criticism in 2008-09 they proved to have much broader scope. While for now we lack clear indicators for the greater intensity of national identity in East Asian states, many impressionistic signs add to the evidence identified in support of the existence of the EANIS to point to the need for further study of this phenomenon.
Two Reasons Why EANIS Exists
It is customary to argue that national identities are a product of nation states and that China’s civilizational identity, Japan’s multiple domain identities, and Korea’s lack of opportunity to escape from China’s shadow mean that before the arrival of the West national identity could not develop in East Asia. Instead, the quick quest in these states from the 1860s to 1900s for clear articulation of national identity should suggest that a quasi national identity already existed. Confucianism became more centered on state or imperial household glorification, and suspicion of other states intensified. The fact that many became frustrated with the weak articulation of national identity during decades of transition does not mean that a core identity was not deeply rooted in each of these states. Beyond the shared legacy of Confucianism as it relates FEATURE | Comparisons of National Identities in East Asia 5
to national honor, the East Asian states are each driven by an unfinished historical mission. Many have not found satisfaction in achievements since the late 1940s that would bedazzle other nations; they remain obsessed with far-reaching goals that have not been realized. Japan’s void since 1945 in absorbing the lessons of its wars on the Asian mainland and in the Pacific, South Korea’s impasse in finding a path to reunification, and China’s failure to explain the relationship between communism and either history or globalization are
troubling reminders that national identity issues cannot be resolved. The presence of the EANIS is, thus, testimony to the deep shadows left across East Asia without filling in these gaps. Gilbert Rozman is a professor in the department of sociology at Princeton University. Research was conducted with support from the Korea Foundation and the Princeton Institute of International and Regional Studies.
The Many Faces of Chinese Nationalism Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom Certain years are particularly good ones in which to reflect upon the complex history and multifaceted dimensions of Chinese nationalism. Years that end with the numeral “5,” for example, provide good vantage points for retrospection concerning this phenomenon. For in 1905 Chinese merchants launched a boycott of American goods to show their anger over discriminatory U.S. immigration policies; in 1925 the anti-imperialist May 30th Movement swept through China, triggered initially by members of the foreign-run Shanghai Municipal Police firing into a crowd of unarmed Chinese demonstrators; and in 1935, in what would become known as the December 9th Movement, patriotic students staged rallies and marches to push the Nationalist Party to take a stronger stand against Japanese incursions into North China. While years ending with “5” are certainly good ones in which to contemplate the history of Chinese nationalism, however, they are not the best ones in which to do so. This honor goes to years that end with a “9,” such as the one that is drawing to a close as I write this essay—a year that has seen, like so many others of its kind before it, a nationalist outburst, in this case taking the form of clashes between Han Chinese and ethnic Uighurs in Xinjiang. Here’s a brief listing of various other decade-finishing years, stretching from the end of the nineteenth century to the end of the twentieth century, in which events took place that some participants at least insisted should be seen as efforts to jiuguo (save the nation) or protect the guomin (people of the nation) from outsiders: The Boxer Year of 1899. In December, as a drought caused misery throughout North China, the anti-Christian bands the Western press would dub “Boxers” (due to their use of martial arts fighting techniques) carried out raids against missionaries and “secondary devils” (their term of Chinese followers of the foreign creed), convinced that the foreign religion had angered Heaven. The May 4th Year of 1919. In the spring, as deals were struck in Paris to transfer control of former German territories in China to Japanese hands, youths in Beijing took to the streets in what became known as the “May 4th Movement” (in honor of the first day of major protests), demanding that the terms of the Treaty of Versailles be altered and that the 6 Harvard Asia Pacific Review | Spring 2010
three Chinese officials they blamed for selling the country out be dismissed from office. The Founding of a New Nation Year of 1949. In October, Mao Zedong, whose Communist Party had risen to power in part because of its ability to portray Chiang Kai-shek as having been too weak in his opposition to Japanese invaders during World War II and too dependent on aid from American imperialists after Japan surrendered, stood atop the Gate of Heavenly Peace (Tiananmen) and announced the founding of a New China that he vowed would be fully independent. The June 4th Massacre Year of 1989. In the spring, youthful activists, who presented their struggle as a patriotic “New May 4th Movement,” huddled together in Tiananmen Square and sang “Children of the Dragon,” a nationalistic song by dissident folk singer Hou Dejian, as troops amassed in Beijing during the lead-up to the June 4th Massacre. The Anti-NATO Protest Year of 1999. Yet again in the spring, students marched, this time to show their fury and grief at NATO missiles hitting the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade and killing three of their compatriots. Even this cursory survey of some of the events that took place in years ending with “5” or “9”—some, not all, for still others could be mentioned, such as the anti-Japanese protests of 2005—suggests the need for a modification of my essay’s opening sentence. I should have put an “s” after the word “nationalism,” for the sheer range and variety of the actions alluded to above alert us to the fact that it is dangerously misleading to think of Chinese nationalism as a single phenomenon. Clearly, with China, as with so many other countries (perhaps all), we have to make rooms for considering not a single unified nationalism but multiple nationalisms. One question then becomes, how many? A popular way to answer this has long been, in the Chinese case, to draw a clear line between two kinds of nationalist events, one irrational, the other progressive. According to this line of argument, there are virulent nationalists, like the Boxers, who demonize foreign others, engage in violence and are motivated by paiwai (xenophobic) attitudes. And there are patriots, like the participants in the 1905 boycotts and members of the May 4th and December 9th student generations, who are cosmopolitan, open-minded and express
their aiguo (love of country) by staging non-violent protests. Movement, recounts the badgering he got from fellow male There is also a second, overlapping but somewhat differChinese students studying in Japan because of his romantic ent way of dividing up Chinese nationalist struggles, which involvement with a Japanese woman. And as for violence, has to do with assumptions about authenticity. According on May 4, 1919, the students did not just march but also beat to this line of argument, the key breakdown is that separatup one official they viewed as pro-Japanese and destroyed ing those nationalist protests that are zifa (spontaneous or the house of another. self-generated) from those that are not. In this view, a clear In addition to this event, when the May 4th Movement contrast can be drawn, for example, between the heartfelt was at its peak in Shanghai, there were incidents in which actions of students of the May 4th and June 4th generations, crowds roughed up Japanese nationals (and in some cases whose behavior was inspired by genuine feelings of concern local Korean and Chinese nationals who were mistakenly for the nation, and the demonstrations of 1999 and 2005, thought to be from Japan) . Rumors that the Japanese were presented as ones in which youths became stooges for the poisoning local wells was one potential cause of this inciChinese state. dent. This side of the May 4th Movement connects it to the Before exploring the validity of these efforts to categootherwise very different nationalist outburst of last July, which rize outbursts in such a manner, it is worth stressing that the began with Uighurs attacking Han Chinese in Xinjiang, in breakdowns just described retaliation for purported misI should have put an “s” after the word can often have significant treatment of several workpragmatic implications. This of their ethnic group in “nationalism,” for the sheer range and variety ers is because, the charge that a a South China factory. The struggle is extremist or not of the actions alluded to above alert us to the parallel here is that, once spontaneous, if it sticks, deleattacks on Han gave fact that it is dangerously misleading to think of Uighur gitimizes an eventin the eyes way to Han attacks on Uiof many observers. And, Chinese nationalism as a single phenomenon. ghurs in Xinjiang, rumors more specifically, throughout that Uighurs were stabbing the early 1900s, foreigners challenged by Chinese nationalist Han with tainted hypodermic needles functioned much like protests of any kind were quick to label these efforts nothing those that, ninety years earlier, had fanned the flames of antimore than a revival of “Boxerism,” which has long functioned Japanese sentiment in Shanghai. as a code word in Japan and the West for savage and barbaric A close look at the parallels as well as contrasts between behavior. Some Chinese have countered this idea at times the events of 1989 and 1999, meanwhile, while also revealby arguing that the Boxers were not completely misguided, ing the limits of a clear-cut paiwai/aiguo divide shows as well or pointing out that the foreign troops who came to suppress why the distinction between “spontaneous” and “officially the uprising committed atrocities of their own after freeing sponsored” nationalist movements can be more complex the foreigners the Boxers held hostage in Beijing in the sumthan is commonly imagined. When the anti-NATO protest mer of 1900. Still, the idea that Boxerism was a terrible thing broke out in 1999, at a time when I happened to be in China, took hold domestically in some quarters as well. It was thus making them the only event discussed here that I was able to important in 1905, 1919 and again in 1925 for protesters to watch firsthand, the Western press often presented them as refute the “New Boxerism” charge. completely unlike the demonstrations of 1989. The TiananWhat, if anything, is wrong though with the Boxer/May men generation, so the general story went, was pro-American 4th binary distinction itself, and the spontaneous/manipulatand more open to the world, while the youths that protested ed one that overlaps with but stands apart from it? The main in 1999 were neither. The 1989 protesters, however, were problem is simple: when it comes to both events and genfiercely independent, ready to stand up to the government, erations, it is too simplistic to think of a paiwai/aigou divide and unlike their counterparts ten years later, were not mathat is clear-cut, and the same goes for the notion that there nipulated by the regime. is a black-and-white contrast between movements that are There were definitely differences between the students spontaneous and those that are stage-managed from above. who took to the streets in the years that concluded the last It is easy to see why, for pragmatic purposes, participants in two decades of the twentieth century, but here are some various struggles might want to say that their struggles are things to keep in mind. First, in December of 1988, just a utterly unlike historic events that are denigrated, and also to few months before the Tiananmen protests broke out, some assert that their struggles belong to the hallowed May 4th anti-African riots took place on Nanjing campuses. It is not lineage (e.g., in 1925, 1935, 1989, and also 1999, protestclear whether any of the students who took part in these fraers insisted that they were following in the footsteps of the cases, said to have set-off by young Chinese men who were heroes of 1919,) but analytically, the vision of clear divides angered by tales of male African exchange students consortbetween “good” and “bad” nationalist moments just does not ing with young Chinese woman at raucous parties, would hold up. later participate in the demonstrations of the following April To illustrate the messiness of the paiwai/aiguo divide, a and May. But because at their height, a high percentage of close look at the May 4th Movement will suffice. The Japacollege students in all major Chinese cities got swept up into nese press, in trying to denigrate the protests of 1919 by lathe Tiananmen movement, it seems very likely that there was beling them nothing more than a revival of “Boxerism,” cera good deal of overlap between these winter riots and the tainly went too far. And yet, the May 4th Movement was not springtime marches. devoid of its xenophobic and violent moments. Many of the It is possible, moreover, to trace a connection of sorts bestudents involved in the 1919 demonstrations were cosmotween the anti-African riots and the occupation of Tiananmen politan in their intellectual interests, fascinated by and open Square, with the latter representing a much more positive to ideas coming from Japan and the West. This did not mean way of acting on the same sort of frustration experienced by however they were completely free of anti-foreign prejuthe Chinese students in the earlier protest. This is because, in dices. The writer Guo Moruo, in a memoir of the May 4th addition to being motivated by a desire for a more transparFEATURE | The Many Faces of Chinese Nationalism 7
ent political system and anger at official corruption, a desire Unger, editor, Chinese Nationalism (M.E. Sharpe, 1996), and for greater personal freedom motivated the Tiananmen proalso Henrietta Harrison, China: Inventing the Nation (Oxford, testers. The occupation of Tiananmen Square had, at times, 2001). For contrasting approaches to 21st century developa party-like atmosphere, with Cui Jian’s rock songs as well ments, see Peter H. Gries, China’s New Nationalism (Univeras Hou’s folk anthem providing the soundtrack and students sity of California Press, 2005); Christopher Hughes, Chinese reveling in spending time in a setting where there were fewer Nationalism in a Global Era (Routledge, 2007); Jeffrey N. controls on interactions between the sexes, including public Wasserstrom, “Chinese Students and Anti-Japanese Protests, displays of affection, than Past and Present,” World Policy The tale of Chinese nationalism, or rather there typically tended to Journal, Summer 2005, 59-65: still be at colleges and uniOsnos, “Angry Youth,” Chinese nationalisms, decidedly in the plural, Evan versities in 1980s China. New Yorker, July 28, available It is also worth noting is one that needs to be told in a manner that at http://www.newyorker.com/ that the protests of 1999, focuses not just on black and white definitions reporting/2008/07/28/080728 though initially supported fa_fact_osnos; and various conby the government, did not tributions to Kate Merkel-Hess but makes room for many shades of gray. completely lack spontaneet al. editors, China in 2008: A ity. My sense at the time, and still today, is that the antiYear of Great Significance (Rowman and Littlefield, 2009). NATO demonstrations should be seen as part of a movement In terms of specific pre-1949 protests, additional basic that the regime did not create as leap ahead of and try to steer information about as well as citations to relevant scholarship into particular channels. When news broke about what had on the events of 1905, 1919, 1925, and 1935 can be found occurred in Belgrade, students were angry and, particularly in Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom, Student Protests in Twentiethbecause they had just been focusing on what their predecesCentury China: The View from Shanghai (Stanford University sor of the May 4th Movement had done (the Chinese EmbasPress, 1991). For the Boxer Uprising, see Joseph W. Esherick, sy was hit just a few days after its 80th anniversary had been The Origins of the Boxer Uprising (University of California commemorated on campuses with a good deal of fanfare), Press, 1988); Paul A. Cohen, History in Three Keys (Columbia eager to show that they, like their predecessors of 1919, were University Press, 1997); and Robert Bickers and R.G. Tiedepatriotic youths. And once the students were on the streets, mann, editors, The Boxers, China, and the World (Rowman their actions did not always follow the official game plan (to and Littlefield, 2007). For recent assessments of the May 4th cite just one example, the government insisted there should Movement, see the June 2009 issue (no. 18) of China Heribe no boycotting of foreign goods, but some student posters tage Quarterly, available at http://www.chinaheritagequarcalled for youths to show their patriotism by refusing to drink terly.org/editorial.php?issue=018 . Coca Cola or eat Big Macs). It is also telling that the regime The literature on Tiananmen is enormous (even limitmoved quickly to try to get students off the streets and back ing one’s purview to English language materials, as there are into the classroomsduring the incident. Clearly, they were also voluminous publications in Chinese and important studworried that, if such demonstrations continued, this allegies and document collections in French and other Western edly government crafted movement might easily taken on an languages). A good selection of relevant works is available anti-government dimension, with complaints about foreign at www.tsquare.tv , a website created to accompany the expolicies becoming entwined, as had so often happened durcellent documentary “The Gate of Heavenly Peace” (1996), ing earlier student-led struggles, with criticism of the failings directed by Carma Hinton and Richard Gordon. See also of domestic policies . Craig Calhoun, Neither Gods Nor Emperors: Students and I do not mean to suggest that these revisionist comments the Struggle for Democracy in China (University of California about 1919, 1989 and 1999 do not make meaningful distincPress, 1997) and Jonathan Unger, editor, The Chinese Democtions between different flashpoints in the history of Chinese racy Movement: Reports from the Provinces (M.E. Sharpe, nationalism. There do—and some struggles deserve to be 1991). For a fuller discussion of the anti-NATO protests of seen as less xenophobic, more spontaneous and generally 1999, see my China’s Brave New World—And Other Tales more admirable than others. But the trap of thinking in terms for Global Times (Indiana University Press, 1999); for the of clear-cut binaries gets in the way of appreciating the his2009 unrest in Xinjiang, see James Millward, “The Urumqi tory of Chinese nationalism—and will also likely distort the Unrest Revisited,” a posting for “The China Beat” blog, July role that patriotic fervor is playing in China now and will play 29, 2009, http://www.thechinabeat.org/?p=558 . and Rian in China in the future. The tale of Chinese nationalism, or Thum, “The Ethnicization of Discontent in Xinjiang, a postrather Chinese nationalisms, decidedly in the plural, is one ing for “The China Beat” blog, October 2, 2009, http://www. that needs to be told in a manner that focuses not just on thechinabeat.org/?p=905 . black and white definitions but makes room for many shades Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom is a Professor of Chinese History at the Uniof gray.
Suggestions for Further Reading:
For a sense of the main contours of scholarship on Chinese nationalism, see the important essays by Geremie Barmé, Prasenjit Duara, John Fitzgerald and others included in Jonathan
8 Harvard Asia Pacific Review | Spring 2010
versity of California-Irvine and the author, most recently, of China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know.
Evolving Chinese Nationalism: From Maoism to Angry Netizens Orion A. Lewis to explain how the dominant ideas in nationalist discourse Since its defeats in the Opium Wars of the mid-ninehave gradually changed since the founding of the PRC.5 In teenth century, Chinese elites have shared the same “dream order to understand how nationalism in China has evolved of strong China” (qiangguomeng 强国梦).1 One constant gradually we must understand gradual institutional change point of agreement in modern nationalist discourse has been as the selection of certain ideas over others and the processes the desire to overcome China’s international weakness— that determine which ideas proliferate throughout society.6 what became known as a “century of humiliation” (bainian For example, why is it that nativist and anti-traditional strains guochi 百年国耻)—and helping China resume its place as of nationalism have become relatively more prominent at difthe center of power in East Asia. Politically, state-making ferent points in time? How do we understand the specific and nation-building were inexorably intertwined throughout mixture of nationalist tactics that drive the political system? the 20th century, as successive generations of reformers all What is the tone and degree of influence of popular nationalused nationalism as a key tool in mobilizing, constructing ist discourse? Finally, what are the structures that determine and maintaining power (Zheng 1999). From the late-Qing the possibility for new nationalist ideas to emerge? period to the pragmatic reformist regime of today, successive I argue that the emergence of new nationalist ideas in regimes have all sought to organize and lead the nation in a China today is the product of the complex interaction of way suited for achieving their domestic and foreign policy state-led patriotic orthodoxy with broader structural shifts— goals. These trends have continued during the 60 years of namely globalization and the spread of horizontal commuthe PRC, but the specific content of nationalist narratives and nications—which have fundamentally altered the process points of emphasis have gradually shifted over time. of nation-building for the CCP. From an international relaDespite a general consensus on the ultimate goals of tions perspective, nationalthe nationalist project in ism is a classic two-level China, there has always The persistence of multiple nationalist ideas game—often cultivated for been significant debate over and tactics shows that nationalism is not a static domestic political purposes the best means to achieve them. Elite formulations of concept but malleable—one that can be adapted but also an important factor in foreign policy considernationalism in China since to address the specific political logics of the era. ations.7 While these logics the late-nineteenth century overlapped minimally durhave grappled with two priing the Maoist period, the interconnection between domestic mary strategies of national rejuvenation. The nativist school nationalism and international diplomacy has increased subhas emphasized the value of Chinese cultural traditions and stantially as China has shed its isolationism and citizens have tends towards xenophobic resistance to foreign ideas. In gained greater access to real-time global information flows contrast, the anti-traditionalist school has emphasized the (Shirk 2007a, 2007b). outward-looking search for foreign ideas and models to be This new playing field characterized by a more globaladapted and employed in order to strengthen China.2 In genized, developed and informed citizenry has significantly eral, the tactics and policies of Chinese nation-builders have changed the complexity of nationalist discourse in China and fallen somewhere along this spectrum, with the views of key made it more difficult for the state to impose a single version agents shifting from one strategy to another over the course of the nationalist truth (Zhao 2006). Political leaders face of their lifetime.3 public scrutiny if they take contradictory actions domesticalThe persistence of multiple nationalist ideas and tactics ly and internationally, as both audiences have better access shows that nationalism is not a static concept but malleato information. This means that nationalist tactics based on ble—one that can be adapted to address the specific political domestic political logics have significant and a sometimes logics of the era. Thus, this analysis views nationalism and unintended impact on the party-state’s foreign policy calculahistorical memory as contested space that is constantly renetions. Throughout PRC history, state-led nationalism has congotiated.4 As Benedict Anderson (1983) famously illustrated, sistently been adapted to suit changing environmental condimodern nation-builders have used a wide array of tactics tions. However, the party-state is no longer hegemonic in its and messages to “imagine” and shape nationalist discourse ability to completely control nationalist discourse, as bottomand memory. Moreover, the complex iterated interactions up popular reactions have emerged since the mid-1990s as between elite ideas and the broader public drives national an important contributor to nationalist debate (Gries 2004). evolution in directions that cannot be reduced simply to state State mobilization efforts now interact with more compliinstrumentality or distilled into a neat linear progression. As cated array of domestic and international actors, ultimately Yinan He (2007b) points out, contestation over nationalist contributing to the growth of both popular nationalist movenarratives “almost always exists between ruling elites and soments and international concern regarding the future direccietal forces, and even between different elite factions” (47). tion of China’s rising power. These changes have been fueled Given this perspective on national construction, the best way by new communication structures—new academic journals, to measure the pace at which nationalism evolves is to look a gradually more liberalized news media and the growth of at the scope of elite debate within the country. Internet—that have facilitated the pluralization of nationalist This paper explicitly employs an evolutionary framework FEATURE | Evolving Chinese Nationalism 9
discourse in China, as communications broaden the array of foreign ideas and institutions believed to best aid developparticipating actors and variety of nationalist ideas that can ment (Oksenberg 1987: 505; Zhao 2000: 9). be expressed in the public sphere (Zheng 1999, He 2007b, The renewal of state nationalism in the 1980s created Shirk 2007b). space for a re-emergence of different forms of popular naWhile authoritarian political institutions and state-led tionalism,9 as the open door policy allowed Chinese elites nationalism have remained relatively constant fixtures of to reconnect with foreign models that had previously been Chinese society over the past sixty years, there has been subshut out under Mao. An embrace of foreign ideas in the ecostantial variation in the specific content of nationalist mesnomic sphere quickly led to a similar engagement with ideas sages and the relative strength of voices advocating nativist, regarding political reform. Led largely by elite intellectuals, anti-traditional or pragmatic tactics. Indeed, each phase of the nationalism of the “liberal ‘80s” embraced numerous PRC history has been characterized by a particular amalgaanti-traditional ideas.10 The reformers that led the Tiananmen mation of nationalist ideas. The Maoist period was characSquare protests were greatly influenced by foreign models, terized by the importation of best exemplified by the replica the foreign ideology of Marxism This means that nationalist tactics based on of the statue of liberty erected in and an anti-traditionalist effort the square known as the “goddomestic political logics have significant dess of democracy.” Despite to stamp out “traditional culture.” At the same time Maoism and a sometimes unintended impact on the their critique of the state, student was built on peasant nationaldemands were framed in the paparty-state’s foreign policy calculations. triotic terms of national improveism (Johnson 1962) and policy emphasized the nativist ideal of ment rather than overthrow of “self-reliance” (Zhao 2000). During this period international the existing regime. This is why protesters were, at least prior isolation allowed the CCP to separate how it deployed nato the crackdown, officially label as “patriotic” by key CCP tionalism at the domestic level from its foreign diplomacy leaders such as premiere Zhao Ziyang.11 In this regard their 8 calculations if it chose to. tactics were reminiscent a strong version of anti-traditional The international isolation that limited contact between nationalist movements seen in the early Republican period, Chinese citizens and the rest of the world was reinforced by such as the May 4th movement. The proliferation of strongly the strict control of communications during the Maoist peanti-traditional political ideas culminated with the crackriod. Horizontal communication across societal groups was down, as the state’s coercive power was the trump card that virtually non-existent, as information was circumscribed to effectively de-legitimized and selected them out of the systop-down vertical channels of party-state institutions. The tem. The popular nationalists of the 1990s—many of whom regime did not even want citizens to communicate crosscame of age during Tiananmen—generally eschewed the ideregionally by telephone (Lynch 1999: 26). Since spaces for alism of this earlier period and instead adopted a more “republic debate were extremely limited, public opinion was alistic” view supportive of authoritarian stability (Fewsmith shaped largely by state-owned media. This communications 2001: 160; Gries 2004: 5). environment made it relatively easy for official propaganda This shift in popular views was largely consistent with to dominate nationalist discourse, as the CCP’s propaganda state policy. With its legitimacy once again damaged by doinstitutions were hegemonic in their ability to select which mestic turmoil, the CCP embarked on a new patriotic educanationalist ideas proliferated broadly throughout society. tion campaign in the early 1990s, which sought to correct for Following the general breakdown of communist ideolthe perceived weaknesses of previous efforts. The conservaogy as a force for social cohesion after the disaster of the tive faction that gained influence following the turmoil beCultural Revolution, the CCP under Deng Xiaoping began in lieved that the party had been too lax in its propaganda work the mid-1980s to foster is a new version of state-led nationby allowing the public too much latitude in their adoption of alism to restore its legitimacy. As with earlier periods, state foreign ideas (Fewsmith 2001: 36). As economic developnationalism remained a mixture of ideas. While support for ment accelerated with renewed vigor, a new campaign marthe state remained the cornerstone of official discourse, the ried patriotism to a curriculum on “national conditions” (guodominant narratives changed somewhat to better adapt to qing jiaoyu 国情教育).12 Targeted at engendering widespread changing political priorities. Oksenbeg (1987) described this support from a new generation, this campaign sought legitiperiod as the rise of “confident nationalism”—characterized mate authoritarian political institutions—and implicitly the by openness to international ideas in the economic sphere, Tiananmen crackdown—by emphasizing the idea that China confidence in the resiliency of Chinese culture and ongoing faced unique developmental challenges stemming from ecorhetorical opposition to the West as the primary means of nomic backwardness and a massive population. These chalnational identification. Thus, class struggle and self-reliance lenges meant that social stability was paramount to national were replaced with an emphasis on economic development renewal and modernization, and it naturally precluded the as the best means to strengthen China. In this way, the CCP adoption of political reforms and democratic institutions. during the reform era has deftly changed policy, while still While international threats and the specter of imperialframing their efforts as consistent with the PRC’s longstandist intervention has consistently been an important tool of ing goal of national strengthening. This official shift was the nationalist construction in the PRC, the 1990s education first in what has been termed “pragmatic nationalism” (Wang campaign added important new elements. It emphasized 1994; Zhao 2004, 2006). This form of state-led nationalism the 1937-1945 Sino-Japanese war as the key turning point is defined by its non-ideological nature and ability to flexibly in Chinese history, as victory was considered the first against adapt to changing environmental circumstances. Pragmatic an imperial power. Most importantly, the tone and content nationalism represents a middle ground between strongly naof this campaign differed from those during the Maoist years. tivist and anti-traditional ideas, as it builds on the ti-yong (体 Instead of emphasizing a “victor” narrative, in which China 用) strategy developed by late-Qing reformers, combining an had “stood up” to foreign aggression, China’s “victimization” emphasis on preserving Chinese culture while also importing and abuse at the hands of Japanese imperialists became a 10 Harvard Asia Pacific Review | Spring 2010
prominent narrative. Textbooks carried detailed stories of mary topics. As with the “say no” novels, popular nationalist Japanese atrocities complete with graphic photos and eyethemes have proven to be profitable and have proliferated witness accounts (He 2007: 57-58). The Taiwanese KMT and throughout the rest of the news media industry. This has octheir American supporters were no longer the main adversary, curred because nationalist frames have become a politicallyespecially as the KMT became the anti-independence faction safe means of espousing emotionally energized and critical in Taiwanese politics. Instead, Japan and its perceived lack ideas. As one former journalist noted, it is acceptable for of repentance for wartime atrocities became a key focal point news organizations to go in conservative and nationalistic difor public attention and nationalist anger. rection, but it is far more dangerous to promote more liberal Adhering largely, but not completely, to the party-state’s critical frames.14 script, this renewed nationalist drive has been the foundation Constituting a relatively liberalized public space for of the dramatic upsurge of nationalist sentiment during the horizontal communication, the proliferation of Internet chat past 15 years, which has been central to securing political rooms and blogs has also provided new avenues for the dissupport in the post-Tiananmen era. While state nationalism semination of nationalist ideas (Qiang 2003, Gries 2005, has been the key catalyst, official narratives have also interLagerkvist 2005, Yang 2009). The most well-known source acted with a more complex social environment, generating of online commentary has been the “strong country forum” a number of emergent outcomes. In giving greater attention (qiangguo luntan 强国论坛) hosted by the official People’s to the victimization narrative the propaganda campaign has Daily Group, but also known for displays of critical popular facilitated a deeper engagement with the trauma of China’s expression (Li et al. 2003). This has also facilitated new forms WWII past. This has had the effect of invoking passionate of virtual activism, and, as with the traditional media, nationfeelings of anger, which has been the psychic fuel behind alist activism online has become more widespread than “pothe emergence of new forms of popular nationalism that are litical” activism due to its greater legitimacy (Yang 2009: 35). often critical of state policy (Gries 2005, Sekington 2005, This growing array of horizontal communication outlets has Chan and Bridges 2006). State-led propaganda campaigns important implications for how nationalism evolves, because have thus created an environment that fosters and legitimizes it alters who can participate in public discourse and what strongly patriotic and nationalist frames, yet it also provides a ideas are selected. This generates a broader marketplace of framework within which a range of ideas—some of which are ideas that that found in the traditional state-dominated news either implicitly or explicitly critical of the state—to emerge.13 media. Most importantly, new media has expanded the inIn order to fully account for the impact of state nationalism, teractivity of nationalist discourse, a key factor determining one must now account for both top-down and bottom-up dythe “evolvability” of the system. The more citizens are able namics, where state nationalism fosters, but also reacts to, to interact horizontally, the greater the likelihood that new popular nationalisms. popular nationalist ideas can emerge and take root. Domestically, state-led nationalism has intersected with This interactive dynamics between rising popular nationthe diversification of media and information sources. As the alism and a new media environment began to emerge followmedia industry has become commercialized and profit-driven ing the large-scale popular protests against the US’s bombing rather than state-driven it has become more diversified. This of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in 1999. The vehemence has generated a variety of new outlets for the proliferation of and spontaneity of these protests has been highlighted as the nationalist ideas. Beginning in the mid-1990s, a number of clearest warning sign of how popular nationalist passions can popular “say no” novels emerged promoting the belief that boil over and threaten state control (Zhao 2006). Not surprisChina should stand up to foreign powers more aggressively. ingly, the protests coincided with, and provided a catalyst The book China Can Say No （zhongguo keyi shuo bu 中 for, the emergence of the Global Times as an important news 国可以说不）proved so popular that it spawned a series of voice, as its coverage gave voice to the popular passions of imitators and gave its authors great prominence in nationalist the time in a way that official party papers were unable to discussions (Sekington 2005: 23). do.15 These trends have only accelerated with the growth Similarly, popular nationalist rhetoric has become an of the Internet as new waves of “techno-nationalists” have important business strategy for an increasingly market-driven utilized the opportunities afforded them to voice assertive nanews media. This trend is exemplified by the tremendous tivist and anti-traditional ideas often critical of official policy success of the Global Times (Gries 2005). Consequently, a (huanqiu shibao 环球时报), a Despite their critique of the state, student substantial gap has opened up commercially-oriented tabloid between China’s efforts towards demands were framed in the patriotic newspaper covering internaa “responsible” foreign policy tional politics. Published by the terms of national improvement rather than and the views of popular nacentral government-owned Peotionalists who seek a more conoverthrow of the existing regime. ple’s Daily Group, the Global frontational stance, particularly Times has been responsible for with respect to Japan (Chan helping the company retain audiences in the market-driven and Bridges 2007, Shirk 2007a, 2007b). This gap in state media age. While the mundane mouthpiece newspapers policy and the rhetoric of popular nationalists most clearly have continued to lose relevance with audiences, the Global illustrates the complexities of nation-building in a global meTimes has become widely-read national brand name due to dia environment. In unleashing popular passions, nationalits more passionate nationalist tone and coverage of foreign ist discontent also provides a framework that can be used to policy topics that have traditionally been tightly censored critique state policy. No longer can the state easily control (Shirk 2007a). In contrast to the relatively staid and dispashow foreign diplomacy is perceived domestically. Instead, it sionate coverage of international relations found in official must now cope with more extreme nationalist views of both “party papers” (dangbao 党报) the Global Times has made a the conservative and liberal varieties. name for itself with its more in-depth coverage of key popuWhile it is impossible to measure precisely the extent to lar nationalist issues, with Japan, the US and Taiwan as priwhich such views impact policy choices, it is clear that the FEATURE | Evolving Chinese Nationalism 11
growth of popular nationalist discourse online is a concern. case of Grace Wang—a Duke University student that tried to As one prominent foreign policy analyst noted, government mediate between Tibetan and Chinese groups—is illustrative. officials play close attention to online public opinion with Attacked online as a “race traitor” (hanjian 汉奸), her perrespect to foreign policy positions.16 In a country without sonal details along with the address of her parents residence clear public opinion polling, online opinion has become an in Shangdong were posted online.18 important means of gauging the public mood. This may also China’s Olympic year thus highlights how nationalism have the effect of skewing public debate, as techno-nationin China has changed in terms of both official top-down and alists are often the loudest and most outspoken members of its bottom-up popular dynamics. The party-state has effecsociety. Popular protests, particularly those opposing Japan, tively combined nationalist education with softer forms of have continued to develop this decade, but the party-state propaganda suited for an increasingly diversified society. has not been entirely complacent in reacting to them. This Successfully holding major international events such as the interactivity underscores how nationalism cannot be sepaOlympics, and the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, has been rated neatly into state-led and popular manifestations. Both central to these efforts, as they provide opportunities to presstate-led and popular forms of nationalism are symbiotic and ent China as a modern, confident and responsible power. mutually constitutive. The state is often supportive of popular Overall this policy has been largely successful at achieving nationalism that supports its own preferences, but the partyits goals. A recent Pew Survey found that 86 percent of Chistate also seeks to shape public outbursts and has adapted its nese citizens were satisfied with their country’s development, policy in response. making China the number one ranked country in the world in For example, while the CCP no longer has hegemonic terms of public support (Brady 2009: 23-24). control of public messaging, it has adapted its propaganda What is remarkable is that the new popular nationalist apparatus to shape public opinion in a more pluralistic modvanguard is composed precisely of those generations that did ern era. The evolving nature of state propaganda is best seen not personally experience the trauma of past. The term “anin the events leading up to and culminating with the Beigry youth” (fenqing 愤青) is used to positively describe those jing Olympics (Barmé 2009; Brady that display a high degree of nation2009). Anne-Marie Brady (2009) China’s Olympic year highlights how alism. Despite having come of age has documented how the Olymin relative material prosperity and nationalism in China has changed in international stability, recent genpic propaganda campaign differed from earlier nationalist campaigns. terms of both official top-down and erations of popular nationalists have Instead of an education campaign utilized new media outlets to beits bottom-up popular dynamics. and hard political indoctrination, come vociferous critics of perceived Olympics propaganda employed slights to China’s image abroad as “soft” methods. Citizens were encouraged to rally behind well as foreign policy positions deemed too weak at home. a number of innocuous slogans such as “one world, one Nevertheless, the overall nationalist upsurge in recent years is dream” (yige shijie, yige mengxiang 一个世界， 一个梦想) central to CCP power. In essence, the party has entered into and “be civilized and follow the new trends” (jiang wenming, a grand bargain with the reform-era elites. In this bargain shu xinfeng 讲文明, 树新风). The level of generality in these citizens acquiesce to authoritarian rule in exchange for mateideas is characteristic of pragmatic nationalism that seeks to rial prosperity, domestic stability and gradual reform. Havintegrate notions of China’s national greatness with its objecing their individual desires partially fulfilled by much greater tive of re-vamping China’s image abroad. The opening ceresocial freedoms, demands for political reform are suppressed mony of the games presented in broad historical brushstrokes in support of the goal of a strong China. a narrative of Chinese history, and was as notable for what it While this bargain largely explains the CCP’s current omitted—namely any emphasis on the Maoist period—and widespread support, overall national construction in the what it included—emphasis on emperor Qin Shihuang (秦 long-term remains complex. Once unleashed, popular pas始皇), the first emperor to unify China (Barmé 2009). Such sions interact with the global information environment and imagery helped the party-state balance its domestic emphagenerate new forms of nationalistic expression, which often sis on unified stability under authoritarianism with its intergo beyond the scope of their original political intent. Nativnational emphasis on a confident, modern and responsible ists attack China’s conciliatory foreign policy positions, while China. anti-traditional liberal nationalists use the concept of indiDespite of the party-state’s emphasis on world harmovidual rights for critiquing an authoritarian political structure ny during the games themselves, China’s Olympic year was that supports policies deemed to be too weak (Zhao 2006). also characterized by successive waves of patriotic outpourAn increasingly networked and horizontally interactive ining following the Tibetan protests in March of 2008 and the formation environment has forced a formerly hegemonic Wenquan earthquake that followed in May. The aftermath state narrative to compete of dominance in the nationalist of the Tibetan protests—the largest in 20 years—underscored marketplace of ideas. While the party-state has been largely the extent to which popular nationalist passions can rage out effective at shaping discourse it is no longer the only voice of control online. Angered by what they saw as a western that matters. In this more complex adaptive system, nationattack on China’s image, Chinese netizens set about trying to alist discourse continues to provide the primary framework counteract the negative international publicity and protests.17 that allows new political ideas to emerge and proliferate. As Cyber-nationalists set up websites, such as anti-CNN.com as China rises to great power status, the iterated interactions and a forum criticizing western news reporting of the issue. They mutual constitution of popular and state-led nationalisms posted You Tube videos in Chinese and English that pointwill determine how a more dynamic and pluralistic Chinese edly illustrated factual mistakes in international reporting and nationalism continues evolving. angrily criticized western views of the issue. Perhaps more Orion Lewis is a Research Scholar at the Rohatyn Center for Internadisturbingly, this crisis also illustrated how virulent popular tional Affairs at Middlebury College. nationalism online could spill over into the real world. The 12 Harvard Asia Pacific Review | Spring 2010
A s i a n - Pa c i fi c N a t i o n alism
Compromised Independence: The Geopolitics of Culture in Thailand Michael Herzfeld Approximately three years after Thaksin Shinawatr was toppled in a relatively peaceful military coup, the former populist (and, in some quarters, immensely popular) prime minister has continued to campaign actively for media attention and popular sympathy. Most recently, he taunted the present Thai government, which is dominated by a coalition of his political opponents, by accepting the role of economic adviser to a Cambodian government that is widely perceived as being hostile to Thai interests.1 While the coup leaders—with considerable middle-class support in the capital of Bangkok—claimed at the time that they were acting in the national interest against a wasteful and corrupt regime, their critics countered, and continue to argue, that Thaksin is a democratically elected leader whose strong support in the impoverished northeast of the country was a mandate to correct some of the endemic geographical and class inequalities dividing the nation. In the meantime, Thaksin repeatedly fuels his supporters’ protests with artful rhetoric beamed in from abroad.
Thai tensions: Contrasted models of power
In one dimension, the polarization of Thailand does indeed represent classic class conflict. A persistent tussle between authoritarian and egalitarian impulses and between town and country, it is also a struggle over how Thailand will resolve its protracted emergence as a modern nation-state. That is as much a cultural as a socio-political issue. Because the country’s national identity superficially appears to be similar to its European counterparts in invoking a shared culture, religion, language, and institutions, it is easy to forget that it was not always conceptualized in such unambiguously unitary terms. It is also easy to forget that the present image encapsulates submerged elements of these older, local perceptions. Until at least the mid-nineteenth century, the Thai polity—known until 1939 as Siam2—was a feudal hierarchy with its center in the capital and with outlying vassal provinces ruled by local autocrats who owed fealty only to the central authority. The center’s power waxed and waned, according to a cosmologically ordained schema that anthropologist Stanley J. Tambiah has described as a “pulsating galactic polity.”3 Some nostalgia still attaches to the old name. Some critics argue that restoring the name of Siam might break or at least modify the monolithic power of the ethnic Thais; but others retort that Siam was itself an internally imperial polity. The name Thailand is itself an English translation that, when we inspect the Thai terminology, turns out to conceal an ambiguity that carries over from the older name. Thais refer to their country as prathaet thai for official purposes, but frequently, in informal conversation, call it moeang thai. This is not just a choice of equivalent terms. The term moeang, which meant both the city and the encompassing country itself, thereby expresses the permanent possibility of oscillation between local and trans-local forms of power. The
moeang is a segmentary polity—one that can break down into constituent, internally opposed units at several levels— and thus of a type that anthropologists have long contrasted with the European-derived, “pyramidal” nation-state model implied in Thailand by the term prathaet.4 In a word, the polity continues to pulsate, albeit less openly. Thais also recognize that their country has absorbed a heterogeneous array of cultural influences, and that heterogeneity is often a source of pride. Yet, many have difficulty admitting that various parts of this culturally pluralist entity have at times been restive (and, in the case of the predominantly Muslim deep south, deeply conflict-ridden). The cultural and religious differences are also exacerbated by economic ones; in his public statements, for example, former Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan, himself a Muslim, has often noted that the first step toward calming the inflamed southern provinces must be economic improvement.5 It is noteworthy that Thaksin’s support base was, and remains, the most impoverished area of all, the northeastern region known as Isaan, and is characterized by a local language closer to Lao than to official Thai. Many central Thais romanticize Lao culture as a “purer” version of their own, and harbor continuing resentment of the fact that Laos was detached from the Siamese polity by the French. Thaksin’s appeal thus deepens the segmentary cultural cracks that underlie the politically pyramidal nation-state while paradoxically, at the same time, it invokes an encompassing nationalism.
Paradox and compromise: The hidden colonization of Thai national culture
Thai nationalism draws on a dual cultural heritage, in which local identity is framed in foreign-derived terms. It was the Thai monarchy’s willingness to reshape the kingdom in accordance with Western models of the nation-state that, along with significant territorial and mercantile concessions, persuaded the British and the French that the Siamese could be allowed to subsist as an “independent” nation-state. In this unequal accord, in which Laos was just one of the territories annexed by the invading colonial powers, various projects of territorial mapping and the development of “civilized” (siwilai) lifestyle projects played a crucial role.6 The Thai monarchy led the way, adopting a curiously bourgeois version of European social and cultural habits, not only in bureaucratic management, but also in architecture, dress, manners, and even the regulation of a national language. Yet, imitation comes at a heavy cultural and social cost, inviting condescension from outsiders while silencing local vernacular alternatives that do not conform to the emergent pastiche. In short, the proud boast that Thailand had never been colonized was itself a tellingly ironic mark of the country’s subjection to external pressures and values. This process was, culturally at least, colonization in all but name. The FEATURE | Compromised Independence 13
Thai case is not unique, although no other example entirely dent uprising, this one a scant few weeks later in Athens—a reproduces all of its salient features. We could list Greece (on parallel of which the Greek actors, at least, were not unaware which more below), Bhutan, Nepal, Ethiopia, perhaps even as they flourished banners reading “Edho Taïlandhi (Here [is] Japan and China as examples of this phenomenon, which I Thailand).” call “crypto-colonialism.”7 Of course, there are differences—that is consistent with The category is an intentionally loose one. Attempts to what I have just remarked about the necessary flexibility of the reduce the concept to a “one size fits all” format, or to argue crypto-colonial label—but these differences are circumstanabout which countries genuinely qualify for inclusion, miss tial rather than substantive. In Greece the uprising led, along the point. It is true that Ethiopia was occupied by a Western with the colonels’ botched attempt to create a satellite govpower (Italy); that Greece was part of a larger imperial project ernment in Cyprus, to the collapse of the regime, and, shortly (the Ottoman Empire); that Japan thereafter, to a plebiscite that deBecause the country’s national identity finitively abolished the monarchy. itself had (and achieved) imperial goals; and that China, while Thailand, by contrast, the mililooks superficially very much like its In humiliated by such events as the tary did not stay out of power for European counterparts in invoking a long (and their coup against Thakaftermath of the Boxer Uprising, has never seriously claimed postshows that their model is Turshared culture, religion, language, and sin colonial status. But what all these key rather than Greece), and the institutions, it is easy to forget that it Thai monarchy enjoys widespread cases do share, more or less (and it is the “more or less” aspect that is throughout the country. was not always conceptualized in such respect actually the key here), is a strange The status of the monarchy is reintension between their claims of forced by a perception, conceded unambiguously unitary terms. independence and the recognizeven by its critics, that at least in ably Western-derived form of those claims. One has only to 1973 the present king did not endorse military repression. think of current invocations of “Asian values” to realize that It would be churlish and indeed untrue to say that he is not such formulae are not entirely home-grown. They reproduce, personally revered by the vast majority of Thais. on a larger scale, the mimetic response to state oppression by ethnic minorities that recast themselves in the culturalist A dangerous silence—and the dangers of language of the modern nation-state, as Jean Jackson has so breaking it cogently argued: if you can’t beat them, join them.8 The freCurrent insecurity may stem less from the monarchy quent Palestinian imitation of Zionist rhetoric and symbolism than from the actions of its self-appointed defenders. The similarly illustrates this process to perfection. frequency and intensity with which the increasingly dracoThailand and Greece, two countries in which I have nian law against lèse-majesté is invoked—it can now land conducted extensive in-depth anthropological field research, an alleged offender in jail for fifteen years—suggest that even demonstrate some remarkable convergences in this regard. some among those who claim respect for the monarchy may Think only of the student uprisings in Bangkok in 1973, uprisperhaps be cynically abusing its moral authority. Conversely, ings that led to the (temporary) collapse of military rule a year the authors of a recent petition asking for the abolition or later, and one sees immediately a parallel with another stu-
14 Harvard Asia Pacific Review | Spring 2010
modification of the law have shown much greater respect todesigns (with a presidential future guaranteed for himself), ward the monarchy. These critics argue that, if such a law is or of expropriating the symbolic demeanor of the kings, he to be sustained at all, it should not allow ordinary citizens played hurt, asserting that he was an absolutely faithful serto bring charges under its provisions—only palace officials vant of the monarchy. He could not otherwise have survived and the royal family itself. In its present form, the law breeds politically as long as he did. discontent with the monarchy rather than garnering respect Indeed, in the context of a recent rash of politically for it.9 opportunistic lèse-majesté accusations, it remains unclear Two observations are in order here. First, the law seems whether the charges directed against Thaksin were anything to be an imitation of similar promore substantive than these more visions once common in Western localized skirmishes. Similarly, The proud boast that Thailand had never monarchies and today deemed init is impossible to know whether been colonized was itself a tellingly compatible with democratic legisthose who claimed to see a threat lation in those countries. This rethe monarchy in Thaksin’s ironic mark of the country’s subjection to produces a larger pattern whereby rapid accumulation of popular to external pressures and values. some of the more archaic-seeming support and his effective use of aspects of the Thai legal system, the internet to build a wide consuch as those regarding the status of women, evidently destituency included the immediate circle of royal advisers or rive from nineteenth-century European prototypes rather than were merely opportunists taking a leaf out of Thaksin’s own from earlier Thai practice—a classic effect of crypto-colonialbook.12 Conversely, the skillful ambiguity of Thaksin’s own 10 ism. Second, the apparent incongruity of the petitioners’ actions may have paralleled his cynical and devastatingly efargument—as critics of the monarchy, they were nevertheless fective expropriation of the rhetoric of “transparency”; or it invoking respect for the institution—is all of a piece with the may, more simply, have been a reflection of the curious rhelarger ambiguities of Thai political life, in which every form torical symbiosis of democratic rhetoric with loyalty to the of protest is symbolically represented as a defense of a tranthrone that I have already noted—a symbiosis without which scendent, monarchical Thainess. no form of anti-establishment protest can gain a hearing in While such tensions between egalitarianism and authortoday’s Thailand.13 itarianism can be found elsewhere, it would seem that they These contradictions are repeated in many arenas of Thai are especially noticeable in Thailand at the present moment. civic life. Bureaucrats, for example, are supposed to serve They provide the sometimes violent political “pulsation” that “the people” (prachaachon); yet they are often accused of now often breaks through the official surface calm in the selfperpetuating the old feudal (sakdina) system. In this, clearly, styled “land of smiles.” The face-off between Thaksin and they are not unique; Greece, once again, provides a strikthe self-appointed guardians of monarchical authority has ing parallel. As in Greece, moreover, the attribution of buincreased the pressure virtually to breaking point, making the reaucratic high-handedness evokes a “non-Western” model prospect of the elderly monarch’s departure one that most of corrupt despotism. In Greece, the endemic failures of a Thais view with, at the very least, deep anxiety. supposedly Western (and German-imported) bureaucracy The monarchy constitutes a central element in the ofare repeatedly blamed on the Ottoman past, which stands ficial notion of “Thainess” (khwaam pen thai)—a notion that as a secular version of Original Sin—a fall from grace that itself looks remarkably Western in inspiration, being based continues to stain the Greeks’ present. Thailand has no such on a model of individualistic ownership of territory and doctrinal escape clause, nor does it bear the burden of besomething called “national culture” that, as anthropologist ing treated as the flawed remnant of a glorious ancestor of Richard Handler has argued,11 emerged in early modern Euthe entire project of Western civilization. Nevertheless, the rope and reached its apogee in the nationalist movements of claims of the monarchy to have overseen the introduction the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It is remarkable that of democracy, and the present king’s not infrequent admonisomething so stereotypically “Western” as an individualistic tions to the political leadership to shoulder its social responunderstanding of identity and culture should be so central sibilities with greater humility, effectively leave the frequent to local understandings of a collective identity conceived in arrogance of bureaucrats looking like a survival from a less opposition to “the West”—but such is the besetting paradox siwilai, pre-modern past. What could more fully reflect the of crypto-colonialism. self-abasement of the crypto-colonial condition than such No Thai political action—even a political protest—has criticism, in fine orientalist fashion, of native traditions and any legitimacy, or can expect much of a public response, expractices now viewed as foreign to the essential character of cept under the aegis of the national flag and the royal porthe modern nation? traits. In this respect, there is a sharp divergence from situation to be found in much of Europe, where national symbols, The tradition factory if they appear at all, take second place to party-political emIn this scheme of things, “Thai tradition” becomes a blems especially at moments of protest. But Thai protesters relatively anodyne space, perhaps even a collective pacifier, cannot demonstrate without the royal and national insignia for the bruised political instincts of Thais of virtually every without appearing to be disloyal to the essential Thainess that political persuasion. Thaksin sought to exploit, and even to legitimates and “explains” their democratic impulses in the export, this essentialized and sanitized national identity. He first place. Since being part of a Western polity entailed both decreed that street vendors’ carts should be decorated in a allegiance to civic institutions and the right to protest and disuniform evocation of traditional Thai architecture (no matsent, this resolution neatly conceals the reality that the Thai ter that the resulting design was extremely inconvenient to monarchy, for all its own accoutrements of being siwilai, is use) and actively campaigned for the promotion of Thai gasalso grounded in local realities—its “Thainess” is no illusion tronomy overseas. Most of all, however, he re-envisaged the even if it does not take quite the form its supporters envisage whole country as an enormous factory, producing “Thai trafor it. When Thaksin was accused of harboring republican dition” in all its glorious variety for display and sale at central FEATURE | Compromised Independence 15
locations with access to foreign markets. himself to power through a canny mix of nationalism and That policy, known as “OTOP” (“One Tambon [district], neoliberal managerialism. Unlike Berlusconi, however, he One Product”), built on an older image of Thai tradition in did not have to persuade his electorate that national idenwhich particular localities, often tity was important or to appeal to inhabited by people enjoying segments of the population that It is remarkable that something close ties of kinship, produced hankered after the more authoriso stereotypically “Western” as an single articles such as paper tarian model of national unity umbrellas and monks’ begging individualistic understanding of identity espoused by Mussolini—himself bowls. OTOP presented these a source of many of the ideals of products as local distillations of and culture should be so central to local statecraft embraced by an early an essential Thai national characunderstandings of a collective identity advocate of royalist nationalism.15 ter. In this way Thaksin reconfigIndeed, Thaksin would have been conceived in opposition to “the West,” in deep trouble, and not only with ured the “segmentary” properties of the moeang as a highly efficient the electorate, had he dared to production machine. The outlets for his program were to be suggest that Thais were not nationalists at heart. As in that located in the main urban centers, and especially on Rajadother crypto-colonial state, Greece, political survival often amnoen Avenue. The main artery leading to the old Grand depends on espousing a nationalist stance. Palace, this street had long been the eponymous symbol of the dynasty’s prosperity and civilizational progress and was Flexible past, unpredictable future now also to become, so official rhetoric proclaimed, the Because Thai national identity remains focalized in the “Champs-Elysées of Asia.” persona of the monarch, moreover, Thaksin counts on being By subordinating iconic forms of local tradition to a naable to invoke a reservoir of support in the very institution tional ideal with a Western gloss, Thaksin’s policy reduced he has been so widely suspected of seeking to usurp. This producers to factory hands in exchange for giving them a puis one important source of the sense of paradox to which I tative role in a national project; and in this it also reproduced have alluded; the dynasty of which the present king is the the ambiguous logic of the moeang—that moral community ninth and most recent representative—the monarch’s formal that had never disappeared but simply hid behind the offiname of Rama IX alludes to this continuity—originated in the cial rhetoric of national unity and homogeneity. The new pulsating galactic polity of which Tambiah has written, and moeang thai (Thailand) envisioned by Thaksin evidently drew the multi-level divisibility of that polity is never far below the on a fundamentally neoliberal vision that involved deskilling surface of events. and evicting local populations in order to promote the potenIndeed, the tension between civic order and the segtially very profitable business of heritage.14 mentary political factionalism of ordinary life is stronger than While Thaksin’s policies had certainly begun to relieve ever. As the factions of “red shirts” (Thaksin admirers) and the grinding poverty of parts of the countryside, they also re“yellow shirts” (his royalist and middle-class opponents and articulated, in neoliberal terms, a model of Thai identity that backers of the 2006 coup) do battle in the streets and in the preceded his premiership and has shown remarkable persismedia, they are increasingly unable to achieve a critical distence since his fall. That model persists because the hallmarks tance from the common political heritage and largely shared of Thai national identity continue to be constructed with a tactics of political confrontation that unite them. Paradoxitense eye on foreign reaction; culture is more important than cally again, however, that commonality threatens to shatter ever since it has been converted from a collective trait to an into its constitutive cultural, economic, and political shards exportable commodity and is thus invested with new value in and fragments at the anticipated moment of disaster of which the present economic climate. But it is also a space for workno one speaks but that all await with bated breath and uning through the tensions that arise from the crypto-colonial abated anxiety. past and a present that also seems obdurately cryptic. The point of convergence—because there is no other viMichael Herzfeld is Professor of Anthropology and Curator of Euroable choice—lies in the ideal of Thai national identity. Thakpean Ethnology in the Peabody Museum at Harvard University. sin, like the more rightist Silvio Berlusconi in Italy, propelled
The Political Economy of Food Safety in Asia, and Implications for the United States David A. Hennessy and Fengxia Dong Beyond sustenance and vitality, food serves many social and cultural functions. There have been many technical advances in genetic design, husbandry, post-harvest use, and marketing since World War II. Such innovations, together with a general trend toward less protective food trade policies and rapidly growing real incomes in East Asia, have reduced the real costs of basic foods, expanded the variety of 16 Harvard Asia Pacific Review | Spring 2010
foods available, and accommodated demands arising from changing lifestyles. Though these changes have been rapid, they have also been continuous and largely beyond the direct view of customers. For many reasons, information available to customers has been incomplete and inconvenient to obtain. It often takes headline events to concentrate consumers’ attention on
trends, whereupon they sometimes express a general frustraprofit in the face of inadequate public and private safeguards. tion at how matters have come to pass as well as what they Apparently, stiff competition among dairy processors seeking understand these events to mean. As with employment and supplies from a large number of small-scale producers prophysical insecurities, food concerns can unite an otherwise vided an environment in which there was little incentive on fractured society. Food quality and safety alarms can be esthe supply side to monitor input quality. Concerns circulated pecially effective at activating those who have little general within the domestic and international food processing secinterest in policy matters. tors long before the issue A common failing is that food handlers see little But what these food conbecame public knowlcerns quite are exposes reason to value their reputation when quality failures edge.The problem was much about the state of are difficult to identify and trace, prosecutions society. For example, not a want of food safety food safety and quality are laws, although the event are rare, and firms have not established a brand probably luxury goods. has been used to provide reputation to motivate protection. Demand for these attrineeded clarification on butes likely rises with real aspects of existing laws. per capita income as consumers become more educated and Rather, the failings are in institutions and in the commerbegin to take calorie sufficiency for granted. cial perspective taken. These failings are related. Reflective This article will analyze what two recent events in East of weaknesses in United States and European Union apAsian food markets reveal about societal evolution and proaches, assignment of oversight responsibilities from farm tensions as well as institutional needs. One is the use of to kitchen has left gaps. Beyond that, countries undergoing melamine in China’s food sector. The other is the reaction to rapid growth will inevitably lag in public and private seca trade agreement to allow United States beef re-entry into tor institutions and personnel stock to respond to such crithe South Korean market. ses. Senior officials may be inexperienced, poorly trained, or worse. The former head of China’s FDA was executed in July 2007 for accepting bribes to approve drugs believed to have Adulteration caused fatalities, a punishment widely viewed as an official Dishonest addition of low-value, or even harmful, masignal to corrupt civil servants. terials to traded food is possibly as old as the trade of food. Problems can also be more technical. Epidemiological Yet, growing societies in the process of urbanization are pardata may not exist while reporting systems may be of poor ticularly vulnerable because of the flux in demand patterns quality or irrelevant to a rapidly changing country. And pubas well as stressed infrastructure used in consumption and lic involvement, so often a substitute for government overproduction. A common failing is that food handlers see little sight, may be ineffective for a variety of reasons. Affected reason to value their reputation when quality failures are difprivate citizens may lack the training in critical thinking and ficult to identify and trace, prosecutions are rare, and firms science to identify and convince pertinent authorities of a have not established a brand reputation to motivate protecproblem at an early stage. Data may not be available to the tion. public in order to discern patterns among anecdotes. Private Writing on The Conditions of the Working Class in Engfunding may be very limited whereas scientific product testland at the height of its industrial Revolution, circa 1845, ing is costly. Impartial citizen watchdog groups may not exist Friedrich Engels asserted that producers and shopkeepers or have qualified access to decision makers and communica“… adulterated all foodstuffs in a disgraceful manner, with a tions infrastructure. Individuals may find it prudent to engage scandalous disregard for the health of the consumer.” Ample in self-censorship. historical evidence attests to widespread unethical and unFood safety scandals hold great risks for an authoritarsanitary practices in the food industry at that time. Although ian government. A state that curtails freedom can rationalslow in emerging, public pressure ensured significant legislaize these actions by presenting arguments, and maybe even tion and public intervention in the more prosperous parts of compelling evidence, that society is more secure and stable Europe, and in North America, prior to World War I. as a result. These claims are hard to sustain when the typical The extent of the adulteration problem has diminished citizen worries frequently that her food might be poisonous. over time in these countries. In addition to enforced reguAnd such worries can lead the authorities to worry in turn lations, developments in the biological sciences likely had about civil instability. Urban children were reportedly afmuch to do with this. So too had consolidation in food disfected most severely in the melamine episode. Aside from tribution and marketing, together with the advent of branded grieving the harm or loss of a loved one, families limited to goods. Consumers likely understand that a company with having one child and concerned about social security in old significant investments in a product market has a profit incenage are likely to feel particularly upset by such events. This tive to maintain product reputation. would be especially true if evidence points to failings within However, adulteration is still a severe concern in less the government itself. In the aftermath, claims of censorship developed countries. Melamine was implicated in China’s and state pressure against judicial recourse abound. kidney disease epidemic during the summer of 2008, due to Although difficult to measure, the economic cost to contaminated infant formula. High in nitrogen, the additive China is likely to be large in the short run and possibly in boosts crude protein test results in order to mask fluid milk the longer run. Following detection of lead in toys and other adulteration with water. The chemical had raised concerns problems, it was one more blow to the “Made in China” laa year earlier after Chinese exports of pet food had caused bel, and especially so in lucrative high-income markets. But animal fatalities in the United States. the long-run impacts depend on the extent of constructive Public memory had not yet faded on deaths arising from response. a fake infant formula scandal during 2004. Similar to other Despite a large population, scarce arable land resources, food safety incidents in China, the 2008 melamine case reand severe water shortage problems, China has managed to vealed an organized endeavor to achieve large short-term FEATURE | The Political Economy of Food Safety in Asia and Implications for the United States 17
be a net food exporter through much of the period since 1980. Korean President Lee Myung-bak signed an agreement It is the major international supplier of many fruits, vegetawith the United States on April 18, 2008, to fully reopen bles, and fish products, markets with a history of sensitivity to South Korea’s market to all US beef and beef products conadverse food safety inforsistent with international Reflective of weaknesses in United States and mation. China’s presence standards and the OIE in international apple The decision European Union approaches, assignment of oversight guidelines. and fish markets cannot was linked with the counresponsibilities from farm to kitchen has left gaps. tries’ bilateral free trade have been helped by incidences involving child agreement, then under nutrition. While domestic motives should be paramount in debate in US Congress. This deal faced heavy public opposithe calculation, China may have to adapt its institutions and tion in South Korea, in part because of widespread percepcommercial culture in fundamental ways if its food products tions that it fails to protect South Korea from BSE. are not to be foreclosed from important markets. The agreement was less restrictive than those reopening Japan and Taiwan to beef from the United States in that it allowed imports from cattle 30 months of age or older, which Sanitary Issues in Trade are considered to be at higher risk of BSE. The Korean public Besides adulteration, diseases borne by animals, plants, viewed the beef deal as a humiliating concession to the Unitor food products often cause food safety incidents. Food ed States. Tinged with nationalism, the case turned into one safety concerns have assumed a prominent role in limiting of the South Korea’s biggest political crises in recent memory. the expansion of international trade. To protect animal or Hundreds of thousands took to the streets across South Koplant life or health within a territory, national regulations in rea to protest the decision to lift the beef ban. In response the areas of plant, animal, and human health have increased to the protests, President Lee Myung-bak conceded, “I and over time. At a time when trade liberalization has widened my government should have looked at what the people want access to affordable food throughout the world, trade conregarding food safety more carefully. But we failed to do so flicts have arisen because of national diversity in technical and now seriously reflect on the failure.” standards pertaining to such issues as labeling, food safety, The case of the Korean beef crisis illustrates many imporand the environment. tant facets of food safety politics. The political and technical The Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement of the challenge for advocates of free trade is to reduce trade distorWorld Trade Organization aims to promote international tions while still accommodating differences in SPS measures trade by requiring countries to base their sanitary (human across countries. Intervention approaches rooted in the state and animal safety) and phytosanitary (plant safety) measures of scientific understanding with free trade as the default may on science-based international standards. However, the SPS not satisfy consumers who seek the illusion of risk eliminaagreement allows a country to decide “an appropriate level tion. South Korean consumers remained skeptical despite of protection” for its plant, animal, and human health. As the assurances of both governments and pertinent internathere are clear differences among countries and cultures retional organizations. The United States did not help its case garding the types and levels of risk their citizens are willing by allowing for export several beef shipments that included to take, there are discrepancies in SPS standards across counprohibited bone fragments. The case of the Korean beef critries. With increased globalization, trade disputes related to sis also shows that when a government dismisses consumers’ SPS issues will become more frequent. Differences in atconcerns about food safety, public support can be eroded for titudes toward the use of hormones in beef production and the domestic food safety infrastructure, for the government in toward the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in general, and for trade liberalization. foodstuffs are striking examples. The role of culture has long been recognized by social scientists as one of the critical factors in comprehensive risk analysis. Culture influences deeply the ways in which people approach risk. For example, the choice between seeking to control risk and seeking to eliminate risk as the preferred scientific strategy for responding to a particular food safety problem is often affected by people’s cultural background. Incorporating culture into risk analyses adds complexity to SPS management. However, culture is an integral part of SPS trade issues and cannot be ignored. The U.S. beef crisis in South Korea has shown that conflicts resulting from differences in views on what is an acceptable level of risk can impede free trade and even result in political crisis. The government of South Korea banned most imports of US beef in December 2003 because of fears over bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease. A positive case had just been detected in Washington State . In May 2007, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) classified the United States as a controlled risk for BSE. Controlled risk countries can trade live cattle, all meat and meat products, including bone-in beef, offal, and processed products, from animals of all ages. Accordingly, the US government pushed hard for South Korea to revise its import health protocol for US beef. 18 Harvard Asia Pacific Review | Spring 2010
Challenges for US Food Import and Export Sectors
The United States imports foods from all around the world, and it is inevitable that some adulterated foods are presented and gain entry. For example, in 2007, a total of 16,360 food product shipments were refused entry by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Over 40 percent of these, mostly from developing countries, were due to adulteration. The agency, which oversees about 80 percent of the US food supply, inspects only about 1 percent of about 9 million food shipments annually, and less than 0.5 percent of imported foods are sampled and tested. With continuing contamination problems in the food import system, it is important for the FDA to improve its sampling and testing protocols to detect adulterated food coming into the U.S. food supply. Supported in part by public concerns about imports, country of origin labels covering many fruit, vegetable, and nut markets came into law in March 2009 in the United States. Pressure has grown for more stringent food safety legislation, including providing the FDA with the authority to recall produce. US food producers and processors are facing challenges in export markets too. The U.S. regulatory system for BSE
management has been criticized as inadequate, causing contracting and vertical integration with growers can also be problems for beef exports. U.S. beef exports have dropped seen in this light to the extent that it allows for better coordifrom close to 10 percent of beef produced prior to the BSE nation of safety and quality. incidents to 6 percent today. It Throughout the world, proFor a variety of reasons that include has taken the government and inducers seeking to safeguard and dustry great effort to reopen overexpand access to international efficiencies in logistics, food safety, seas markets, but setbacks are to markets will need to address conand liability concerns, the food sector cerns other than health risks, such be expected. In February 2008 the United States recalled 143 as animal welfare and environmenis placing increasing emphasis on million pounds of beef because tal issues. Following videotaped information and traceability systems. incidents, successful ballot initianon-ambulatory cattle had been slaughtered for human consumptives, and food franchise demands, tion. This further tainted the image of US beef, as such cattle Cargill Inc., Hormel Foods Corp., and Smithfield Foods Inc., are more likely to have BSE. leading U.S. pork suppliers, have made major commitments BSE and other concerns have demonstrated the need to use PQA Plus. Audited by a third party, this program seeks for regulatory and/or private sector responses in order to imto verify and facilitate health and welfare promoting metrics prove the image of US beef. Among governmental responses for hogs during production and processing. is the US Department of Agriculture ruling that, commencing March 2009, non-ambulatory cattle are to be removed Conclusions from the food chain. The FDA has recently implemented the When food producers or processors have little incentive final rule on substances prohibited from use in animal feed, to ensure safe and wholesome food, it is a governmentâ€™s recommonly referred to as the 2008 BSE feed rule. As the consponsibility to strengthen incentives. The growing influence sumption of cattle brains and spinal tissue is a likely source of of Asian countries in food markets and in international agreeinfection, the final rule prohibits the use of certain materials ments ensures that their food concerns and preferences will of cattle origin in animal feed. Earlier federal regulations had have global consequences. These concerns and preferences removed such materials from marketing channels for human vary, due in part to uneven growth and cultural differencconsumption. es. Welfare gains from trade can be limited when politics Since 2002 the federal government has worked with the accommodates heterogeneity in concerns and preferences private sector to put in place a voluntary National Animal across trading partners. Identification Scheme (NAIS) that would help limit damage In many cases, such as that of food adulteration, technifrom animal disease problems. Though costly to the exchecal and administrative cooperation at the international level quer, the endeavor has had limited success, with most resiscan be to the general benefit of all. Other issues, such as BSE tance coming from the cattle sector. Many in Congress, and risk perceptions in South Korea, will be less tractable. Even most notably Representative Rosa DeLauro, are demanding a so, considered reflection on a debacle can crystallize the orimandatory system. gin of weaknesses in processes intended to secure safe food. Pressure is also growing for a hazard analysis and critical As has been widely noted, the Chinese characters for crisis control points (HACCP) system, already used for meat and and opportunity have similar roots. Though food is viewed poultry inspection, to be extended to foods under the jurisas a significant health and pocketbook issue for many, we all diction of the FDA. The spring 2009 salmonella outbreak eat, so there is hope that political responses to a crisis will be traced to peanut ingredients from a plant in Georgia has idenfor the better. tified deficiencies in regulatory oversight of such produce. Perspective is warranted when considering a particular failDavid A. Hennessy is a professor in the department of economics ing, as food processors generally have very strong incenand Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University. Fengxia Dong is an associate scientist with both the Food tives to care about product safety. For a variety of reasons and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) and the Midwest that include efficiencies in logistics, food safety, and liabilAgribusiness Trade Research and Information Center (MATRIC) at ity concerns, the food sector is placing increasing emphasis Iowa State University. on information and traceability systems. The trend toward
FEATURE | The Political Economy of Food Safety in Asia and Implications for the United States 19
Australian Nationalism and its Impact on Perceptions and Relations in the Asia-Pacific Region Anthony Moran During the eleven years of the conservative Liberal-Napared to the perceived “dynamism” injected into the nation tional Howard government (1996-2007) it appeared Australia by the influx of multi-ethnic immigrants in the post war perihad retreated from the overt embrace of its multicultural desod. Howard was a strong critic of multiculturalism during the tiny and was, instead, concerned about emphasizing its Brit1980s and 1990s, citing its national divisiveness, denigration ish or Anglo-Celtic heritage as the foundation of the nation. of “old Australia” and economic waste. In 1988 as leader As Prime Minister John Howard stated in his 2006 Australia of the Opposition, Howard ended the bipartisan position on Day speech: multiculturalism when he told the Canberra Press Club “there “Most nations experience some level of culare profound weaknesses in the policy of multiculturalism. I tural diversity while also having a dominant think it is a rather aimless, divisive policy and I think it ought cultural pattern running through them. In Austo be changed.” The Coalition Opposition would replace it tralia’s case, that dominant pattern comprises with a “One Australia” policy, according to which, while acJudeo-Christian ethics, the progressive spirit of knowledging the reality of cultural diversity, all Australians the Enlightenment and the institutions and valshould place their loyalty to Australia and its values above ues of British political culture. Its democratic all other national or ethnic loyalties and values. In Howard’s and egalitarian temper also bears the imprint of first term of government he scaled down multicultural policy distinct Irish and non-conformist traditions.” and dismantled key multicultural agencies such as the Office A month later, in a radio interview, Howard argued against for Multicultural Affairs. However, despite his dislike for the what he called “zealous multiculturalism” that viewed Austerm multiculturalism, he reluctantly came to accept its use tralia as simply “a federation of cultures.” Australia, Howard in the late 1990s, and his government continued a form of claimed then, had an “Anglo-Saxon” core culture and set of multicultural policy, at least until the mid 2000s. distinctive values (with Australian inflections) that migrants, More broadly, Howard and his government saw part of and all other cultures in Australia, had to fit into. These views its role as cultural, restoring pride in Australia’s past and its were consistent with Howard’s critique of multiculturalism as traditions, and emphasizing its military achievements. He far back as 1988, when, as leader of the Coalition Opposiwas a protagonist in Australia’s “history wars,” arguing that tion, he released his policy manifesto Future Directions. many Australian historians had adopted a “black armband” After the 1960s, Australia had publically moved away view in which Australia’s history of racism and destruction from the assertion of white Australian identity (based on Britof its Indigenous population had overshadowed its positive ish origins), under which, achievements, like its civil As Australia began to assert itself through peace- peace, political stability, since the beginning of the twentieth century, keeping activities during recent years in places like continuous democracy, immigration had favored economic success, and East Timor and the Solomon Islands, and through the development of an af“whites,” excluded “nonwhite” immigrants, and fluence and quality of life other regional security measures, it was seen by discriminated against resithat was the envy of the dent “non-whites.” Mul- commentators and leaders such as Malaysia’s former world. In the aftermath of ticulturalism became the terrorist attacks of SepPrime Minister Mahathir Mohamad as flexing its the policy approach of govtember 11, 2001 in the ernments since the 1970s, muscles as a western intruder and bully.. US, and of July 7, 2005 beginning with Whitlam’s in London, the Howard Labor government (1972-1975), and expanding under Fraser’s government was increasingly concerned with asserting the conservative Liberal-Country government (1975-1983). The importance of “Australian values,” immigrant integration Hawke (1983-1991) and Keating (1991-1996) Labor governinto a core Australian culture, and, like many other western ments extolled the social, cultural and economic benefits of countries, social cohesion. It introduced a citizenship test for diversity and championed engagement and enmeshment with immigrants that emphasized knowledge of English, AustraAsia. Australia officially depicted itself as a multicultural nalia’s political institutions, culture and history, and Australian tion or society that proudly celebrated its multicultural and values, habits, and traditions. The Commonwealth Departracial diversity, including its Indigenous people as the “oldest ment of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs was symboliliving culture” in the world and the “first Australians.” cally renamed the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. By 2006 the Howard government was brandishing an assimilationist Australian nationalism that emphasized an The Retreat from Multiculturalism During “Australian Way of Life” that immigrants were expected to the Howard Era adopt. While the Howard government continued to speak of Along with prominent historians like Geoffrey Blainey, the benefits of cultural diversity, expressions of that cultural other conservatives and some members of his government, diversity, it seemed, should be restrained by a commitment to Howard was critical of aspects of multiculturalism, especially mainstream Australian culture. what he saw as the belittling of pre-World War II Australian Notably, the Rudd Labor government (2007-present) culture as homogenous, dull, and insignificant when com20 Harvard Asia Pacific Review | Spring 2010
has continued significant aspects of this approach, including downplaying multiculturalism while remaining committed, like the Howard government before it, to large-scale immigration and to some form of public recognition of Australia’s cultural diversity. However, there have also been important distinctions between the policies of the Howard and Rudd governments. For example, in February 2008 the Rudd government made a national apology to Australia’s Indigenous peoples, a gesture Howard had rejected. Many Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians saw it as an historic and long overdue moment of national, personal and Indigenous communal healing, responding to the devastation experienced by “the stolen generations” (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children taken from their parents by the state, under various Commonwealth, State and Territory government policies, between 1910 and the 1970s) and their families. Though it has retained a modified form of the citizenship test, the Rudd government has also placed less emphasis on the need for immigrants to adopt Australian values. Understandably, these developments that began during the Howard era of the late 1990s were sometimes viewed in the Asia-Pacific as indicating the return to an old habit of a white colonialist nation uncomfortable with its place in the region. As Australia began to assert itself through peacekeeping activities during recent years in places like East Timor and the Solomon Islands, and through other regional security measures, it was seen by commentators and leaders such as Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad as flexing its muscles as a western intruder and bully. Former President George W. Bush’s depiction of Australia as the US’s sheriff in South East Asia did not help assuage this view.
Overcoming the Legacy of the “White Australia” Policy
The legacy of “white Australia” has continuing ramifications for the way that Australia is perceived in the AsiaPacific region as well as for its internal self-understanding. One reason why Australia eventually backed away from its “white Australia” assertion (progressively from the late 1950s and finally in 1973) was the growing annoyance of the rising nations of Asia as they freed themselves from the yoke of colonization and pragmatic realities of Australia’s growing trade and economic ties with its Asian neighbors. By the early 1960s Japan became Australia’s second largest trading partner, and racial discrimination of immigrants was a festering sore and grave insult as far as Japanese officials were concerned. It was similarly irritating to countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and India. Also, the world had shifted irrevocably after World War II, as racism and racial
discrimination became the negative objects of a burgeoning international rights framework and discourse. “White Australia” sounded both racist and anachronistic in this new climate, embarrassing to Australian leaders and officials seeking to raise their voices in regional and international forums. Another reason for the collapse of the “white Australia” vision was more demographic. Because of its mass immigration program after the Second World War, Australia attracted many non-British peoples: first Europe’s displaced peoples (refugees), and later large numbers of Germans, Dutch, Italians, Greeks, and Turks. As immigration restrictions were gradually lifted from the 1950s, Australia also started to allow the entry and permanent settlement of non-European immigrants, initially in small numbers. The first large waves of Asian immigrants came after the White Australia Policy had been officially repudiated (in 1973), including, significantly, large numbers of Vietnamese in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. In the wake of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, Prime Minister Bob Hawke granted permanent visas to 20, 000 Chinese students then resident in Australia. Immigrants from Asia now make up a large proportion of the yearly immigrant intake. These waves of immigrants formed important communities within Australia, transformed social landscapes, contributed to the growth and ethnic diversification of the population, and helped make “white Australia” increasingly nonsensical as a descriptor for the nation. From a population in 1945 of just 7 million that was 90% Australian-born, 97% of who identified as having British ancestry, in 2006 Australia’s population had reached 20 million, with 24% of its people born overseas and 26% having at least one overseasborn parent. People of Anglo-Celtic background still dominate Australia’s ethnic make up (about 70%), but one in five Australians is not of British or Irish descent, and about one in twenty is not of European descent. Reflecting high rates of intermarriage, at least 60% of Australian people are of mixed ethnic ancestry.
The Development of and Challenges to Contemporary Australian Nationalism
Despite a move towards assimilationist nationalism under the Howard government, contemporary Australian nationalism is in the main open and civic in nature. Immigrants, regardless of ethnic or religious background, are encouraged to become Australian citizens. Discrimination is proscribed by the Racial Discrimination Act (1975). No extreme nationalist groups or political parties have a significant presence in the political, social, or cultural landscape. However, unofficial discrimination and prejudice exist, especially against Austra-
FEATURE | Australian Nationalism and its Impact on Perceptions and Relations in the Asia-Pacific Region 21
lia’s Indigenous peoples, and more recently against Muslim as public concerns were raised, particularly about the plight and Middle-Eastern peoples (in the 1980s it was Vietnamese of detained women and children. In the context of panic and other Asians). Nevertheless, some commentators feel about global terror, it seems likely that the Australian pubthat because of its long history, “white Australia” nationallic was also expressing, in their overwhelming support for a ism is either a pervasive form of white supremacy reflected tough approach to asylum seekers, some fears about Middlein widespread domination of all non-whites or lurks in the Eastern and Muslim immigration. However, the mainstream background and is ready to assert itself at any sign of ecoimmigration and refugee programs continued as before under nomic unease or social disturbance. Four recent events or a non-discriminatory policy, and Australia’s Muslim populaphenomena in particular reflect this view. tion continued to grow without becoming a major political The first was the election of populist maverick Pauline issue. Certainly, neither major political party advocated disHanson to the federal parliament in 1996 and the subsequent criminating in immigration policy against Muslims, though spectacular rise and fall of her One Nation Party. Hanson’s the Howard government did from time to time single out One Nation Party advocated a return to a protectionist, ecoMuslims when discussing immigrant groups that failed to innomically nationalist Australia, and attacked Aborigines and tegrate into the Australian way of life. In 2007, Howard’s imAboriginal policies, immigration, Asians and multicultural migration minister, Kevin Andrews, suggested that Australia policy, and asylum seekers. Her inflammatory comments had reduced its numbers of refugees from Sudan because of and speeches, and evidence of electoral support for her party, problems with integration. In the lead up to his statement, including gaining 23% of the vote and eleven elected memthere had been sensationalist media reports that Sudanese bers in the 1998 Queensland state election, led to concern youth were causing social unrest and were heavily involved in the Asia-Pacific region that Australia was returning to a in crime and gang activity in Melbourne. Victorian police white nationalist phase. Some Australian commentators also publicly repudiated claims that Sudanese youth were disexpressed this concern, proportionately involved in claiming that Australian Some commentators feel that because of its long these activities. racism seethed beneath the The third was the Dehistory, ‘white Australia’ nationalism is either a surface and that a considcember 2005 Cronulla erable section of the public pervasive form of white supremacy reflected in Riot in Sydney’s southresented changes to Austraeastern suburbs, where a lia brought by immigration widespread domination of all non-whites, or lurks mob of 5000 mainly white and globalization more in the background and is ready to assert itself at male Australians, fueled generally; Australian racby alcohol, sun, text mesism and white nationalism any sign of economic unease, or social disturbance. sages purportedly circuwere on the rise. The damlated by small, far right aging Asian perception of Australia as a closed, racist society, “white pride” groups, and the rantings of Sydney’s radio supported by the evidence that an elected politician was al“shock-jocks” (extremist radio commentators), rallied against lowed to express such intolerant views, was widely reported “‘Middle-Eastern” or Lebanese Australians who visited the in Australia and raised in the state and federal parliaments. beach area. In a supposed act of “Aussie pride” and a show This was seen as detrimental to Australia’s crucial trade and of strength against those who, it was claimed, insulted and other links and relationships in the region, a view that fiharassed women and lifeguards on the famous Cronulla nally led, two months after Hanson’s maiden parliamentary beach, thugs wrapped in Australian flags and carrying antispeech, to a reluctant Prime Minister Howard issuing a biimmigrant placards physically attacked anyone they believed partisan statement in parliament reconfirming Australia as was Middle-Eastern. Some people, fearing for their lives, had a racially tolerant society. Howard and other conservative, to be saved by police. On the following two nights, other Labor, Australian Democrat and Green politicians, together youths, reportedly of Middle-Eastern background and from with intellectuals, and much of the media, publicly repudiSydney’s western suburbs, rampaged through Cronulla and ated Hanson’s views over the next two years. At the 1998 nearby suburbs in revenge attacks physically assaulting resifederal election the major political parties worked together dents, and damaging shops, houses, and cars. Cronulla is to ensure that One Nation would return to the political wilone of Sydney’s most Anglo dominated areas, in a city that derness, and the party dwindled afterwards. There was also is the most multicultural in Australia, with over 30% of its a concerted public protest against One Nation with large, population born overseas. sometimes violent demonstrations staged outside public The events at Cronulla were shocking, and extremely meetings of Hanson’s party as it endeavored to attract memdamaging in the way that they confirmed the feeling among bers and explain its policies. many Muslim, and in particular Lebanese, Australians that The second is Australia’s ongoing treatment of asylum they were only considered second-class citizens at best and seekers, especially those who arrive by boat, brought to inoutsiders at worst, who should be ejected from the country ternational attention in 2001 by the Howard government’s they had believed was their home. Many had been born and dramatic intervention to prevent the Norwegian vessel MV raised in Australia, and yet were confronted with slogans like TAMPA, carrying more than 400 rescued asylum seekers, “We grew here, you flew here.” This humiliation and hurt from landing on Australian shores. For some, this act and the goes a long way in explaining the rage of the youths who carsubsequent “Pacific Solution” during which asylum-seeker ried out revenge attacks on the following nights, who specifiboats were intercepted by the Australian Navy and directed cally targeted those of Anglo appearance, and the property of to off-shore detention centers, was evidence of Australia’s reAnglo dominated suburbs. The 2005 troubles were seen as luctance to receive non-white immigrants, in this case Midthe culmination of a period of vilification of Muslims stretchdle-Eastern and mainly Muslim. The hardline approach to ing back to Australia’s involvement in the first Gulf war in asylum seekers proved electorally successful for the Howard 1991, intensified by the events of 9/11, and Australia’s ingovernment in 2001, though it was tempered in later years volvement in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Australia’s 22 Harvard Asia Pacific Review | Spring 2010
anti-terrorism laws were perceived as directed primarily at other students. Australian Muslims, and Sydney had experienced debates According to media reports, while some of the attacks about Muslim youth and failure to integrate in the context of had racist motivations, and were accompanied by racist “ethnic” crime, including a series of gang rapes perpetrated slurs, other bashings and robberies had little if anything to by a group of young Lebanese Australian men. do with race. Rather, these were opportunistic actions of While the racist violence of the Cronulla riot and retaldisadvantaged youths finding easy targets in particularly vuliatory actions was remarked upon and seen, both internally nerable international students, relatively new to Australia (or and internationally, as an indicator of festering Australian raMelbourne). Many attackers were young men or even boys cial problems, there were also contributing local factors, in(fourteen to sixteen year olds in at least one case). Attacks cluding a turf war over a specific beach between the Cronulla were often on poorly-lit streets, on public transport, and at surf sub-culture and Lebanese Australian youth from nearby deserted railway stations, by youths who were unemployed suburbs. Stimulating the rioters was the influence of more and/or desperate for drug money. In some instances attacks generalised negative views about the Muslim religion and have also come from members of recent immigrant groups, culture, including complaints about failure to integrate, and especially out in the Western suburbs of Melbourne. While the assumption that Muslim women are oppressed and that these attacks may be racially motivated, they may also involve Muslims are non-democratic. These issues and perceptions resentment of even more recent immigrants who—regardless of Muslims and incompatibilof the economic reality of their ity with “western values” have Surveys also indicate that Australian national position—are seen as privibeen a feature of many western identity has become, at least since the 1990s, leged, judging not only from countries, including Europe the clothes and jewellery they more “civic” than “ethnic” in character. with its estimated 38 million wear but also from the items Muslims (including Russia’s 16 they carry, such as laptops and million), and are hardly specific to Australia. Therefore, there mobile phones. should be caution in attributing these events to the resurgence International Indian student numbers have risen specof traditional white Australian nationalism and any more gentacularly over the last decade and have become such an imeral resentment of non-white immigrants in Australia. But portant industry that in 2009, Victorian State Premier John the perception that Australia is in general anti-Muslim is exBrumby and Deputy Prime Minster Julia Gillard travelled acerbated by the way that the “War on Terror” (and Austrawith separate delegations to India for high level talks to reaslia’s direct involvement) has been perceived by many in the sure India that Victoria and the rest of Australia were safe desMuslim world as a war on Muslims. This perception may tinations for Indian students and that such attacks would not have contributed to anti-Australian feeling in Muslim counbe tolerated. There seems to be little general resentment of tries like Indonesia and Malaysia and has been one stimulant Indian international students or Indians more generally, and to terrorist attacks that targeted Australians and westerners India is an increasingly important source for skilled migration more generally, like the Bali bombings of 2002, and the 2004 to Australia. bombing of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta. The events and phenomena discussed above, including Despite a level of anti-Muslim feeling in Australia, the acts of violence, serious and devastating as they were for the Cronulla riots and retaliations were widely condemned as individual victims, cannot be characterized as indicating a re“‘un-Australian” in the Australian media, by most politicians surgence of white Australia nationalism, even if small groups and the police, indicating more general expectations of Ausand individuals still dream of the old white Australia. There is tralian behavior. Also important was the rapid community no public clamor to have the government reduce or change its response, with religious and other community representanon-discriminatory mass immigration program that, in recent tives meeting and organizing to prevent any recurrence of years, has reached record numbers for the post-war period, violence. Local lifesaving clubs began to actively recruit ensuring that Australia’s ethnic diversification will continue. Lebanese and Muslim lifesavers. The violence has not been The Australian public, according to national surveys, is rearepeated since in Cronulla or elsewhere. Despite text messonably supportive of at least some aspects of Australia’s mulsages circulating in the days following the Cronulla riot invitticulturalism, and over the last two decades, has consistently ing Melbournians to repeat the “defense” of its own beaches expressed broadly supportive views of the positive benefits of against unwanted “Lebs” (Lebanese), nothing happened. immigration; an average of 78% over five surveys conducted The fourth phenomenon is the series of bashings and between 1995 and 2003 agreeing that “Immigrants make robberies of Indian international students in 2008 and 2009 Australia open to new ideas and culture.” National surveys in some of Australia’s major cities, including the western subon Australian national identity indicate high levels of pride in urbs of Melbourne. Within India the attacks were reported Australia, and large majorities feeling emotionally “close or in the mainstream media as proof of widespread Australian very close” to Australia. But these surveys also indicate that racism and victimization of Indians and other non-whites. Australian national identity has become, at least since the Effigies of Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd were burnt 1990s, more “civic” than “ethnic” in character, with the main Delhi and Mumbai streets. In Australia, some prominent jority of Australians feeling in 2003 that what is important to Australians of Indian descent (including former Australian being “truly Australian” are achieved qualities such as “feelMedical Association President Mukesh Haikerwal, who had ing Australian” (92%), having Australian citizenship (91%), himself been severely bashed the previous year) defended respecting Australian political institutions and laws (89%), Australia as a welcoming place where Indians had experiand speaking English (92%). These qualities are more imporenced low levels of discrimination in their everyday lives, tant than being born in Australia (58%), having “Australian while India’s international student community staged protests heritage,” (only 37%) or being Christian (only 36%). in a bid to prompt government and the police to resolve the That these events and phenomena have been connected issue. A group of male Indian students maintained a visible in commentary, both within Australia and in the Asia-Pacific presence at some outer suburban railway stations to protect region, with images of Australia as an inward looking, preFEATURE | Australian Nationalism and its Impact on Perceptions and Relations in the Asia-Pacific Region 23
dominantly white nation and a racist society, reflects the difficulty of confronting and transcending a racist, white Australian past, rather than the current state of Australian nationalism and society. While the Howard government adopted a form of assimilationist nationalism, especially around 2006-7, that was arguably coercive of non-Anglo cultures in its demands for their adoption of an “Australian Way of Life,” this was not a “white Australia” or race-based nationalism. The Rudd Labor government emphasizes policies of social inclusion and social cohesion, rather than multiculturalism or the “Australian Way of Life.” Rudd himself recently called for an end to the “history wars,” by which he meant that Australia had moved on from the virulent fights over history, racism and national identity of the 1990s and early 2000s. Rudd has a low-key approach to issues of national identity, unlike his Labor predecessor, Prime Minister Paul Keating, who championed a multicultural national identity and the
cause of making Australia a republic. Before the 2007 election Rudd stated that the republic would not be a priority for a first term Labor government, and he has recently reiterated that it remains low on his list of priorities, well beneath steering Australia through the global recession and into economic recovery, rebuilding Australia’s infrastructure, climate change and his broad social inclusion agenda. In public debate, his strongest arguments have been against neo-liberalism, which he saw as contributing to the Global Financial Crisis, and in favour of a renewed, internationally oriented social democratic vision. In any case, and finally, one should be cautious about assuming that the nationalism of ordinary Australians, like that of ordinary people everywhere, simply mirrors the political stories and messages told by their different political leaders, intellectuals and media commentators. Anthony Moran is a Lecturer in Sociology at La Trobe University in
Pe r s p e c t ives
The Politics of Chinese Nationalism in Asia Edward Friedman Images of Chinese nationalism carried by the internacomes international visitors to China. To understand Chinese tional media are not pretty. But do these powerful and popnationalism, one must be open to complexity and contradicular depictions of Chinese passions accurately portray the tion and not treat one of its elements, the nastiest, as if it were nationalism which infuses China’s foreign policy decisioneverything. making? The pictures are palpable. During the 2008 parade of Feeling Victimized the Olympic torch across the world on its way to Beijing The nationalism that matters most for policy in China for the very successful 2008 games, citizens from France to is less visible. It is a narrative accepted by both elite and South Korea who expressed their support for Tibetan Lama mass about how natural it is that China once again be a Buddhists who were suffering cruelly from what Columglorious world power, a central civilization using its amassed bia University Tibet specialist Robbie Barnett shows to be wealth, say, for a Chinese-style Apartheid-like religious represMarshall Plan meant to help sion in China were set upon by The CCP authorities seek the legitimation of get sub-Saharan Africans out of ugly mobs of raging Chinese patriotism; they do not want to be attacked stagnant poverty. In this patrichauvinists trying to silence the otic projection, China should peaceful defenders of human for being insufficiently patriotic. be a world power, at least the rights. In April 2005, angry equal of America. It sees itself Chinese savaged anything Japanese in the streets of Chinese as making large and moral contributions to world bettercities. In May 1999, stone-throwing mobs attacked U.S. govment. ernment buildings in China from Beijing to Chengdu. ChiThe dominant nationalist narrative is one of interrupted nese nationalism on television comes across as racist and full greatness. China only stopped being a world power because of hate for foreigners. of Western imperialism. That supposedly began with the OpiThis nationalism constrains the authoritarian regime in um War around 1840. Chinese feel offended by a modern Beijing somewhat. The government, after all, chose not to let world understood as having made China backward. Chinese a contract to a Japanese firm to build a high speed rail systend to feel that the world owes a big debt of payback to them tem from Shanghai to Beijing in order not to unleash an antiand therefore should not be asking Chinese to share much of Japan backlash in China that could turn against the governthe burden of grappling with the causes of climate change, ment. The regime understands nationalism as a two-edged even though a PRC which grows at its present rate will, in 30 sword and carefully monitors it. The CCP authorities seek the years, emit more greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere than legitimation of patriotism; they do not want to be attacked for America in all its history. being insufficiently patriotic. Imagining one’s nation as a victim is actually nothing Despite xenophobic emotion, the CCP dictatorship is special in a universe of 200 nations. Most regimes feel on quite open to the world. China ranks in the top five in the the defensive. Any survey of comparative nationalisms, from world in people going abroad for study and tourism. It is Poland to Cuba, will reveal how ordinary it is for patriots to open to business and cultural exchanges. It warmly welimagine their nation as a victim nation. 24 Harvard Asia Pacific Review | Spring 2010
Given this “victim” Chinese nationalism, the government about everywhere, from Holland to America, from Japan to in Beijing will not readily heed the complaints of Southeast India. Chinese nationalism is explicable in ordinary terms. In Asian governments about China’s naval expansion south into fact, it is impossible to have a successful state in the modern South China Sea territory which offers potential richness in era without having a powerful nationalism. While Chinese energy and nutrients in territory that is also claimed by Vietnationalism works in general like nationalism everywhere, it nam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia. To these other is the appeal of the narrative that give China’s nationalism its countries, the impact of Chinese nationalism is unjust, gunspecial force and requires careful attention. boat diplomacy. A seemingly angry, even vengeful, Chinese nationalism makes neighbors, from South Korea and MongoExtraordinarily Ordinary lia to India nervous about Chinese ambitions and intentions. The key to official nationalism in China is a particular Opium War victim nationalism blinds Chinese as to historical narrative about the last dynasty of the imperial era, why some neighbors see China as they do. Chinese feel inthe Manchu’s Qing dynasty. The CCP’s constructed mythos, nocent. People who care about human rights regularly find building on shared myths that have been popular ever since the CCP regime to be a major violator of fundamental rights. the 1911 toppling of the imperial monarchy of the ManMost Chinese, however, doubt the charges and see them as chu Qing empire, imagines the non-Han Manchu invaders concoctions meant to discredit the achievements of a great who defeated the Sinified Ming empire in the 17th century people. Personal freedom in China is so much greater in as somehow being part of the Chinese nation (Zhonghua the post-Mao era. Chinese see cruel regimes like those in minzu) and having succeeded in uniting China. Actually the Pyongyang, Rangoon and Khartoum as having nothing in Manchu invaders from beyond the Great Wall used to be nocommon with China’s secular, torious in Chinese historiography open, vibrant and successful realMy conversations with educated for their slaughter of Han people ity. To Chinese, it is the unique urbanities in China shows them finding in the Yangtze Valley city of Yangcharacter (suzhi) of Chineseness zhou. Indeed, when Sun Yat-sen’s that makes for China’s success. that their glorious culture produces Republic of China replaced the My conversations with educated Manchu’s Qing Dynasty in 1911, urbanities in China shows them studious, hard-working, group-conscious, Han Chinese pogroms broke out finding that their glorious culture future-oriented, filial human beings as against the hated Manchu conproduces studious, hard-working, querors. Sun’s mobilizing slogan does no other culture in the world. group-conscious, future-oriented, had been “down with the Manfilial human beings as does no chus, raise up the Han.” But Sun other culture in the world. A particular kind of nationalism and his comrades swiftly insisted that the Manchu homeland, leads Chinese patriots to feel that China is very special, perMongolia, Tibet, Turkic speaking regions and southwest tribes haps incomparably superior. were now all part of the new Republic of China. Actually, every rising nation has imagined its success as It is therefore not so strange that today’s Chinese nationa consequence of its unique culture. This really is true just alism imagines the Manchus as part of the same blood nation
FEATURE | The Politics of Chinese Nationalism in Asia 25
as the Han and marginalize the Han victims of the Manchus. alienated both Japanese and Taiwanese. It is politics that is The Manchus were a most successful militarily expansionist decisive, not culture. And politics is multi-faceted, contested empire which came to rule more than twice the territory that and mutable. had been controlled by the prior and Sinified Ming dynasty. Some Chinese patriots insist on using force to impose Chinese patriots, in seeking global greatness, insist on findChina’s will in the East China Sea and South China Sea in dising that they are the legitimate heirs of Manchu conquests putes with Japan and ASEAN. Others call for mutually benof hitherto non-Sinified regions including Taiwan, an island eficial compromises that maintain the peace and get the oil which, before the arrival around 1600 of Europeans, who inpumped. Some Chinese, in their web postings, saw the viovited in Chinese plantation workers lent resistance in 2009 of Uighurs in One definition of a nation, any from the continent, was dominated response to intensified cultural disby Austronesian nations and was la- nation, is an armed community which crimination by the Han as proof of beled on Ming maps, “Eastern bara plot orchestrated in Washington to agrees to mis-remember its past. barians.” Taiwan, until the end of weaken and discredit China, while WW II, had never been ruled, not others saw the violence in Xinjiang, even for one day, by Sinified people on the Asian mainland. which could turn Al Qaeda against China, as proof that PresiChinese patriots, however, are taught a history which dent Hu should cooperate with President Obama to deal with obscures Manchu imperialism so as to legitimate maximal common problems. Chinese territorial claims and to portray empires that the exA major difficulty in assessing the political strength of pansionist Manchus clashed with, those of the Russian Tsar, Chinese promoting international cooperation inside China’s a Meiji Japan and Queen Victoria, as enemies of the Han non-transparent political system is that Chinese voices of Chinese. confrontation have been allowed to dominate the Chinese The nation, whether it is Chinese or American, Germedia. History suggests they may not be the best guide to man or Indian, is as political scientist Benedict Anderson has the future. Analysts who imagined China’s post-Mao future shown, a community imagined to serve national greatness in terms of the ultra left political line that dominated the meand not to get history right. One definition of a nation, any dia back in 1976 were totally shocked when Deng Xiaoping nation, is an armed community which agrees to mis-rememcame to power in 1977 and opened the country in 1979 to ber its past. reform and world market opportunities. However precise an There actually is nothing special in a new nation claimanalyst might be about the complexities of Chinese nationaling the maximum of the territory held by the prior imperial ism, the politics that result from that nationalism are quite conqueror. Democratic India does the same with the Britopen-ended. ish empire. This produces overlapping and clashing territoThere is a multi-faceted ambiguity at the core of Chinese rial claims in Beijing and Delhi, conflicts which, elsewhere nationalism. Most nations in Asia understand that Chinese and throughout history, have led on to war. It is the rule all nationalism is a double-edged sword. These governments over the world that intellectuals with a political agenda contherefore respond to the politics of nationalism in China struct a patriotic historical narrative that maximizes claims in the same complex way. They feel both a need to hedge to national greatness. But it is always important in each inagainst worst case Chinese possibilities by cooperation with stance to comprehend the causes, content and consequence America and others while, at the very same time, stressing of imagining the national community in a particular way so cooperation with China and seeking elements of common as to better grapple with harsh global challenges which are interest to build upon with the government in Beijing. posed by every rising nationalism. Mongols worry that the Chinese version of history, Implications which turns the great Mongol conqueror Genghis Khan into Within Chinese nationalism, vengeful voices argue that a Chinese unifier of China, has hidden, nasty implications for this combination of hedging and engagement is proof that Mongolia. Mongols therefore monitor Chinese historiograthe engagement of other nations toward China is insincere. phy like hawks. So do Indonesians whose history textbooks Cooperative voices inside China, on the other hand, see recall the 15th century Admiral Zheng He, who was sent by wisdom in building on the possibilities of engagement so as the Sinified Ming empire, as a cruel marauder for what his to marginalize the hedgers and to defeat the nasty policies 30,000 or so Ming empire troops did to them in what is topromoted by voices of gloom and doom. Obviously, good day’s Indonesia. Such is the case with China and many of diplomacy would work to strengthen the forces on the side its neighbors. Clashing interests are embodied in divergent of peace and mutual benefit. But the eventual outcome will nationalist narratives. It is therefore important to understand be decided less by what China’s neighbors think or do and the content of constructed and clashing national identities. It more by how Chinese in China struggle within the CCP poimpacts policy, as is detailed below. litical system to win the policy debate. The cultural force of
Moderation vs. Confrontation
Knowing all this history does not mean one understands Chinese nationalism. Nationalism, as virtually all cultural creations, is not single-stranded, harmonious and eternal. There are numerous ways to be a patriot. While some analysts pontificated about the deep animosity of Chinese against Japanese or predicted that no Chinese leader could ever compromise with Taiwan without being toppled from power, President Hu Jintao reversed policy with Japan and Taiwan and greatly improved relations with both. The pugnacious policies of Hu’s predecessor, President Jiang, had 26 Harvard Asia Pacific Review | Spring 2010
Chinese nationalism has far less impact on China’s neighbors than does the struggle for influence at the highest levels of power in Beijing. All Chinese, after all, welcome China’s return to global glory. The question is what to do with China’s world power. The answer is different in China depending on how patriots imagine China’s rise to world power. It is embedded in the conflictful politics of Chinese nationalism. Edward Friedman is Hawkins Chair Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Asian Economic Papers
Jeffrey Sachs Yonghyup Oh Wing Thye Woo Naoyuki Yoshino Editors
Asian Economic Papers is sponsored by the Earth Institute at Columbia University, 21st Century Center for Excellence at Keio University, Korea Institute for International Economic Policy, and Brookings Global Economy and Development. The journal promotes high-quality analyses of the economic issues central to Asian countries and offers creative solutions to the regionâ€™s current problems by drawing on the work of economists worldwide. The journal comprises selected articles and summaries of discussions from the meetings of the Asian Economic Panel and provides a unique and useful resource to economists and informed non-specialists concerned with specific Asian issues, particular Asian economies, and interactions between Asia and other regions. AEP strives to anticipate developments that will affect Asian economies, encourage discussions of these trends, and explore individual country or regional responses that minimize negative repercussions on neighboring economies.
http://mitpressjournals.org/aep MIT Press Journals | 238 Main Street, Suite 500 | CaMbridge, Ma 02142 tel : 617-253-2889 | uS/C anada : 800-207-8354 | fax : 617-577-1545
SUBFEAT URE : INDONE S IA’S T R I U M P H S A N D C H A L L E N G E S
Towards Harmony Among Civilizations A Public Address by His Excellency Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of the Republic of Indonesia, at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University 29 September 2009
Professor David Ellwood, Dean of the John F. Kennedy We are very pleased that at the close of Pittsburgh, the School of Government, Professor John Thomas, Faculty memG-20 has been institutionalized, and looks set to be the prebers, Students, dear friends: mier forum for international economic cooperation. This I am honored to be here today, to address the distincomes not a moment too soon, for the world’s civilizations guished faculty and students of Harvard University. I am imshould be properly represented in one defining forum. Civilipressed with the turn-out this evening, and, for the students, I zations: they at once define us, and divide us. hope you are not here today as an excuse to skip class. Is harmony between our civilizations truly elusive, so I must admit, I have wanted to visit Harvard for a long out of reach? Can we just not get along? time. Several of my Ministers, successful businessmen, and Sixteen years ago, the late Samuel Huntington, a son of military generals were fortunate to study here. Don’t take this this university, published an essay proposing that, after the the wrong way, but I find it interesting that I did not end-up Cold War, civilizations, religions and cultures would become working for people who went to Harvard. It’s actually people the defining feature of international relations and would conwho went to Harvard who ended-up working for me. stitute the primary cause of conflicts between and within naI am proud that my son, Captain Agus, was able to join tions. this prestigious Harvard program. So now other than being a To me, the term “clash of civilizations” itself is counterloyal soldier in the Indonesian army, he is also another Harproductive. If they hear it often enough, some people may vard student working for me. think that the world is such and accept it as reality. I don’t beSeveral months ago, President Barack Obama made a lieve that civilizations are inherently incompatible and prone historic speech in Cairo, seeking to redefine relations beto conflict when they interact. This is what I saw firsthand tween America and the Muslim world. As President of the at the G-20, where nations of diverse cultural backgrounds country with the world’s largest Muslim population, I would joined hands to address a common challenge. We spoke like today to respond to that speech. different languages through our headphones, but we underPresident Obama delivered his speech at Cairo Universtood one another. sity, one of the best Universities in the Islamic world. I speak Huntington sought to understand post-Cold-War fault today at Harvard, the oldest and most lines and warned us of potential prestigious University in America. Is harmony between our civilizations turbulence. This is not a trivial reAnd please do not tell people in minder. Civilizational issues are truly elusive, so out of reach? Princeton and Yale I said this. But our rife in modern politics. As policyCan we just not get along? objective is the same: to take a hard makers, our job is to prevent such look at relations between the West prognosis from becoming reality. and the Islamic worlds, and to chart a new course forward. Indeed, Huntington’s warning has been relevant to InIt is fitting that I come here after the G-20 Summit in donesia’s experience. In the roller-coaster years following inPittsburgh. For to me, the G-20 is one manifestation of the dependence, Indonesia has suffered separatist threats, ethnic change taking place in global politics. The G-20 grouping, and religious conflicts, and Islamic insurgencies. comprising some 85 per cent of the world’s GNP and 80 per But we overcame these challenges. We adapted. And incent of world trade, is not just an economic powerhouse—it stead of failing, we have thrived. is also a civilizational powerhouse. Today we are not a hotbed of communal violence; we The G-20 for the first time accommodates all the maare by and large an archipelago of peace. jor civilizations—not just Western countries, but also China, Today we are not at the brink of “Balkanization;” we South Korea, India, South Africa, and others, including signifhave instead fortified our national identity through three icantly, three countries with large Muslim populations: Saudi successful, peaceful national elections. Today we are not a Arabia, Turkey, and Indonesia. The G-7, the G-8, or even the victim of past authoritarian, centralized governments, but a United Nations Security Council, does not boast this dismodel of democracy and decentralization. tinction. The G-20 is representative of a multi-civilizational Today we are not paralyzed by financial crisis but forgglobal community. ing ahead with sweeping reforms of our financial and indusPerhaps this is why the G-20 has been successful in artrial structure. And Indonesia today is a dynamic emerging resting a global meltdown. The swift and coordinated actions economy, enjoying one of the highest growth rates in Asia of G-20 economies have started the stabilization of our finanafter China and India. cial systems and restored confidence, prompting today’s early Thus, no matter how deep and seemingly divisive the signs of modest economic recovery. civilizational forces facing Indonesia—the ethnic differences 28 Harvard Asia Pacific Review | Spring 2010
and religious conflicts—we overcame them. This is despite There are many examples of this power of exchange and the enormous challenges of democracy and development connectivity. In the 13th century, the Islamic civilization was that still confront us. the most sophisticated in the world because it had an enorPlease do not misunderstand me. I am aware of the painmous and indiscriminate thirst for knowledge and science, ful realities of our world. I am aware of the 4000 years of learning from all corners of the world. And this body of scipainful relations between Judaism, Islam and Christianity. entific knowledge from the Muslim world was later utilized I am aware of a traumatic collective memory that is not by the Western Renaissance. Civilizations have built on each easy to erase. When dealing with matters of faith, we face baother’s knowledge and become enriched by them. sic human emotions that predated modern states. These emoWe have done the same in Indonesia, where we have tions are complicated, stubborn, and will likely become more built on our exposure to Eastern, Islamic, and Western influproblematic as religiosity intensifies worldwide. According to ences, culminating in the open, pluralistic and tolerant socisome estimate, Islam will be the world’s largest religion by ety that we are today. 2025, accounting for some 30% of the world population, and In short, the cross-fertilization of cultures can produce indeed Islam is currently the fastest growing religion in the something wonderful, something good. United States. The more we exchange cultures and share ideas, the As religiosity increases, so will the politics of identity. more we learn from one another. The more we cooperate and And aided by globalization and technology, extremism and spread goodwill, the more we project soft power and place it radicalism can only grow. As we transition from G8 to G20 right at the heart of international relations, the closer we are and perhaps beyond, mutual exposure between civilizations to world peace. will become the most intense humanity has ever seen. PerExperience has taught me that soft power is an effective haps we will even see the emergence of a “global civilizaweapon against conflict. Just ask the people of Aceh, Indotion.” nesia. For 30 years, Aceh was rife with violence. Successive And democracy has gained immense ground, spreadIndonesian governments opted for a rigid military solution, ing in the Islamic world, including in Indonesia. There were because a settlement seemed so elusive. When I assumed the only a handful of democracies at the turn of the 20th cenPresidency, I pursued a new approach, one defined by goodtury. At the turn of the 21st century, there are some 89 full will and trust-building. I offered the separatists a win-win fordemocracies. Even the Organization of Islamic Conference mula, promising them peace with dignity. Remarkably, we has adopted the historic Mecca Charter reached a permanent peace settlement In contrast, the 21st century in just five short rounds of negotiations. committing its members to the principles of democracy, human rights and goverThe peace agreement was fully in line should, and must be, the nance. Indeed, more people now live with my objective to defend our sovercentury of soft power. under open pluralist societies, and under eignty and territorial integrity but in a religious freedom, than at any other time civilized and democratic way. That was in history. This trend can have only a positive impact on the when my faith in soft power multiplied, and why I believe it global community. holds the key to resolving many global problems. It may be naive to expect that the world can be rid of The second imperative is to intensify the process of diaconflict and hatred. But I believe that we can fundamentally logue and outreach that now seems to be proliferating. change and evolve the way civilizations, religions and culWe have seen many good initiatives. In 2001, the United tures interact. Nations began the Dialogue among Civilizations. Spain and This is not utopia. It is a pragmatic vision. I have seen Turkey later launched the Alliance of Civilizations. The Asia it work in Indonesia. I have seen it work in many countries. Europe Meeting (ASEM) also took-up Inter-faith Dialogue. The question is: can we make it work globally? As Robert F. Recently, Saudi Arabia convened the Interfaith Conference at Kennedy once said, quoting George Bernard Shaw, “I dream the UN. Indonesia and Norway also launched, since 2006, of things that never were, and ask, why not?” To highlight the Global Inter-Media Dialogue in the aftermath of the carhow I think this can possibly be achieved, let me outline nice toon crisis. All this represents a fresh approach to link civiliimperatives to achieve harmony among civilizations. zations and religions. If you ask me “why nine?” Well, it is a bit personal, beWe must deepen the quality of these dialogues, so that cause nine is always my lucky number. Let me now outline they produce specific actions that, as UN Secretary-General these imperatives. Ban Ki-moon points out, (and I quote) “change what peoThe first imperative is to make the 21st century the cenple see, what they say and ultimately how they act” (end of tury of soft power. quote). These initiatives should not always be a meeting of Remember: the 20th century was the century of hard like-minded moderates, although surely this is also imporpower. We saw two World Wars, several major wars and tant. They should also include disbelievers, for a dialogue proxy wars, and a long Cold War which risked nuclear hoshould not be a reaffirmation, but an honest attempt to unlocaust. One estimate suggests that some 180 million people derstand the concerns of the other side. The point is to listen, died in the wars and conflicts of the last century. It is no wonand not just talk. der that the 20th century has been called the “age of conA true dialogue must address age-old grievances and flict.” It has been the bloodiest century in memory. confront false stereotypes, without presumptions and preconIn contrast, the 21st century should, and must be, the ditions. Indeed, the best dialogues are often respectful and century of soft power. honest, open-ended and constructive, intense and solutionBut there exists a large of “soft power deficit” that the oriented. These were the quality of dialogues held in Indoneworld’s civilizations must fill. I believe that this “clash of civisia between Muslims and Christians in conflict-zones in Poso lizations” is actually a clash of ignorance. We are weakest and Maluku, which culminated in a commitment to peaceful when we are alone. We are strongest when we join forces reconciliation. with one another. The third imperative is the need to find a solution to SUBFEATURE | Towards Harmony Among Civilizations 29
burning political conflicts that have driven a wide wedge, The most welcome trend in the 21st century is multiculspecifically between the western and Muslim worlds. turalism and tolerance. You cannot say this of America and Today, some two out of three Muslim countries are in many Western nations several decades ago. But today, racism conflict or face a significant threat of conflict. In contrast, is in serious decline, apartheid is gone, inter-racial marriages only one out of four non-Muslim countries face similar chalare common, and the market place picks talents without relenges. But despite these very complex conflict situations, gard for color, religion or ethnicity. Even the family portrait of Muslims must be able to differentiate between a conflict President Barack Obama reflects this healthy multiculturalinvolving Muslims and a “war against Islam.” I do not beism, with his Kenyan and Indonesian roots. lieve that any of the civilizations—Western, Hindu, Sinic, We must all work together to ensure that multiculturalBuddhist, Japanese—are systematically and simplistically enism and tolerance become a truly global norm. And when we gaged in a “war against Islam.” speak tolerance, it should be more than just to tolerate others. Of all the world’s conflicts, none has captured the pasTolerance implies a deeper meaning. Tolerance means a full sion of Muslims more than the plight of the Palestinians. But respect for others, sincerely accepting their differences and this is not a religious issue—there are Christians and Jews in thriving on our mutual diversity. Only this type of tolerance Palestine, and Muslims and Christians in Israel. Nonetheless, can heal deeply seated hatred and resentment. the establishment of the much-awaited Palestinian state, in The sixth imperative is to make globalization work for the framework of a two-state solution where Palestine and all. Israel live side by side in peace, would be widely hailed by I do not accept the precept that, as a rule, globalization Muslims worldwide. It would remove a major mental barproduces winners and losers. Like peace, like development, rier in their perception of the West, especially of the United globalization can be harnessed to make winners for all. Let States. Currently, many Muslims fail to notice the constructive us be clear on this: there can be no genuine harmony among role of the West in producing peace in Bosnia and in Kosovo, civilizations as long as the majority of the world’s 1.3 billion but they would sure notice, and rejoice in, the resolution of Muslims feel left out, marginalized, and insecure about their the Palestine dilemma. place in the world. They are part of the 2.7 billion people But the Palestinians too have a moral and political reworldwide who live under two dollars a day. sponsibility. It is difficult to attain and sustain statehood unThese are the sad hard facts. Out of 57 Muslim populated less there is unity among the Palestinian factions. In my meetcountries, 25 are classified as low-income countries, 18 lowing with Palestinian leaders, I always told them very clearly er middle-income, and 14 as upper middle income or high that Indonesian freedom fighters would have never won the income. And even though one out of every four people in the war for independence, if they had not united in spirit. world are Muslims, their economies constitute one tenth of The bottom line is: we desperately need to end the vithe world economy. One in four people in Muslim countries cious cycle of conflict and violive in extreme poverty. Almost lence. The timely withdrawal million Muslims aged 15 The bottom line is: we desperately need to 300 of Western forces from Iraq and and above are illiterate. Afghanistan would also allevi- end the vicious cycle of conflict and violence. These statistics are, of ate Muslim fears of a Western course, unacceptable. MusThe timely withdrawal of Western forces hegemony. And all these polims must take ownership in litical solutions would reduce from Iraq and Afghanistan would also alleviate their destiny. Many Muslims terrorism, as a crime that devireminisce too much about the Muslim fears of a Western hegemony. ates from the true teaching of glory days of centuries past, Islam as a religion of peace. It when Islam was on top of would also turn the feelings of fear and humiliation among the world: politically, militarily, scientifically, economically. some Muslims into hope and self-esteem. Muslims today must be convinced that Islam’s best years are The fourth imperative is to strengthen the voice of modahead of us, not behind us. eration in our communities. The 21st Century can be the era of the second Islamic By nature, moderates are open-minded, flexible, and renaissance. A confident, empowered and resurgent Muslim prone to an inclusive approach through outreach and partworld can partner with the West and other civilizations in nership. In contrast, extremists are driven by xenophobic fear building sustainable peace and prosperity. But to do this, and bent on confrontation and exclusion. Muslims must change their mindset. Like the remarkable Because both moderation and extremism will grow in 13th century Muslims before them, they must be open-mindthe 21st century, we must make sure the moderates are emed, innovative, and take risks. There are inspirational Muspowered, and take center stage in society. The moderates lims everywhere: Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus, Orhan should no longer be a silent majority. They must speak up Pamuk, Muhammad Ali, Zidane, Hakeem Olajuwon, Fareed and defend their mainstream values in the face of opposiZakaria, and rapper Akon. Countries like United Arab Emirtion from the louder and more media-genic extremists. In ates and Qatar have shown that with good governance, selfthis vein, I find it very encouraging that Western media have esteem and a progressive worldview, they can change their unanimously refused to show the very offensive film Fitna by nation’s fortune in one generation. And Indonesia has shown provocative Dutch politician Geert Wilders. This shows the that Islam, modernity and democracy, as said by Professor media’s improved sensitivity towards Islam. Ellwood—plus economic growth and national unity—can The moderates also have to be more proactive and less be a powerful partnership. In short, the world’s citizens, and reactive. And they must show, with reason and results, that children of all civilizations, must be equal partners and benebeing a moderate brings real success, peace, and progress. factors of globalization. Extremists will always capitalize on hopelessness and desA recent survey in The Economist found that, for the first peration. We must present a better alternative. time, more than half of the world population can be loosely The fifth imperative is multiculturalism and tolerance. considered middle-class. If this is true, then we have a rea30 Harvard Asia Pacific Review | Spring 2010
sonable chance to reach “zero poverty” worldwide by the end of this century. With the emerging economic order that is now unfolding, getting from here to there would require intense inter-cultural and inter-religious harmony. This should be the shared goal of all our nations. The seventh imperative is to reform global governance. Earlier, I talked about how the G20 Summit is more representative of today’s global dynamics. Unfortunately, this is the exception rather than the rule. For example, the UN Security Council today still reflects the power balance of 1945 rather than 2009, with exclusive veto powers reserved for four Western nations and China. It is unfortunate that recent efforts to reform the UN Security Council have not been successful. This situation is unsustainable. The UN Security Council will need to be restructured to keep up with 21st century geopolitical realities. Imperative number eight is education. Politicians often overlook educational opportunities in both our homes and our classrooms. But the answers to the world’s problems are there, for it is also there that hatred and prejudice breeds. These are the real battlegrounds for the hearts and minds of future generations. It is at these places that we must turn ignorance into compassion, and intolerance into respect. The foot soldiers here are parents, teachers and community leaders. We must inculcate in our school curriculum the culture of moderation, tolerance, and peace. We must help our children and our students develop a sense of common humanity which allows them to see a world of amity, not a world of enmity. In Indonesia, elementary students are taught about respecting religious traditions. Exam questions ask Muslim students what they should do if their Christian neighbors invite them to celebrate Christmas. We are probably the only country in the world where each religious holidays—Islamic, Catholic, Protestant, Hindu, Buddhist—are designated as national holidays, even though Hindus and Buddhists account only 2.4 per cent of our population. Through education, we have sought to ensure that tolerance and respect for religious freedom becomes part of our trans-generational DNA. Finally, the ninth imperative: global conscience. It is not easy to describe this, but this is what I saw in Aceh during the tsunami tragedy. On 26 December 2004, giant tsunami waves crashed Aceh and Nias, and 200,000 people perished in half an hour. The whole nation was in grief. But in this tragedy, we also found humanity. The whole world wept and offered helping hands. Americans, Australians, Singaporeans, Chinese, Mexicans, Indians, Turks, and other international volunteers worked hand in hand to help the Acehnese. I realized then, there exists a powerful “global conscience.” One would think, that the enormous pain of World War 2 would usher in a new dawn of world peace. That is why the United Nations was formed. But the human race ended up with many more wars. One would think the threat of the nuclear holocaust was enough to trigger nuclear disarmament, but the world saw more countries developing nuclear weapons. The question now is whether climate change would be able to foster a new global conscience. We are still not sure that it will. But a “global conscience” could well help transcend whatever civilization, religious and cultural divides that has faced humanity. So these are my nine imperatives for harmony among civilizations that I offer to you today.
They will require a great deal of hard work. It will take the work of generations and decades. And it will require patience, perseverance, partnership and lots of thinking outside the box. Eighteen years after the end of the Cold War ended, ten years into the 21st Century, we find ourselves at a crucial crossroads. In front of us may be the most progressive century mankind has ever known, a century where, as Fareed Zakaria says, more things will change in the next 10 years than in the past 100 years. It can be the century of possibility and opportunity. President Barack Obama spoke in Cairo of a “new beginning” between America and the Muslim world. Today, I say that we can “reinvent a new world.” It will be a world not of conquest, but of connectivity. It will be a world defined not by a clash of civilizations, but by the confluence of civilizations. It will be a world marked by plenty, not by poverty. And it will be a vast empire of global minds breaking down centuries of civilizational collisions and hostilities. America, with all the economic, social, and technological resources at her disposal, has much to contribute to this new world. America’s role in helping to reform the international system, spread prosperity, empower the world’s poor, resolve conflicts, and share knowledge is a critical asset to a transforming world. Now is a golden opportunity for America to inundate the world with her soft power, not hard power. America should not worry about retaining its superpower status. America can help make the world anew. What could be more powerful and definitive than that? Indonesia too has a significant role to play. We can bridge between the Islamic and the western worlds. We can project the virtue of moderate Islam throughout the Muslim world. We can be the bastion of freedom, tolerance and harmony. We can be a powerful example that Islam, democracy and modernity can go hand in hand. And we will continue to advance Indonesia’s transformation through democracy, development and harmony. This is why Indonesia and America now are evolving a strategic partnership. The world’s second and the third largest democracies, the most powerful Western country and the country with the largest Muslim population, calibrated for the challenges of the 21st century, this partnership can strengthen regional stability, inter-civilizational unity, and world peace. In the final analysis, vast oceans separate our countries but our common search unites. We are both trying to redefine our place in the world. President Obama insists the 21st century can still be the American Century. I am convinced that this could well be Asia’s Century. Then I thought, why can’t it be everybody’s century? It can be the American Century. It can be the Asian Century. It can be the European Century. It can be the African Century. And it can be the Islamic Century. This can be an amazing century where hope prevails over fear, where brotherhood of man reigns supreme, where human progress conquers ignorance. It can be a Century that not only brings us into a new millennium, but also elevates the bonds of humanity to greater heights. In this Century, no one loses. And everybody wins. Insya Allah! I thank you. The Institute of Politics does not provide transcripts of Forum events, only video footage; this transcript was created by the Harvard Asia Pacific Review. SUBFEATURE | Towards Harmony Among Civilizations 31
An Indonesian Future: Beyond Conflict, Democracy and Islam Aguswandi When Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) addressed a prestigious audience gathered at Harvard Kennedy School forum, it was a bold show of confidence from a country asserting its place in the world. At Harvard, the world’s most respected University, SBY wanted to reply to the speech Obama made at Cairo University, the oldest University in the Middle East. Aides close to the President confided that SBY himself had revised the speech a dozen times leading up to the event, trying to find the appropriate, tone and narrative. SBY thought it of great importance that Indonesia answer the challenge laid down by Obama, a place where the President had spent his childhood, the biggest Muslim country in the world. SBY went beyond Obama’s call for a new beginning and outlined a nine-point plan to ‘reinvent a new world’ and create harmony among civilizations. Leading with pervasive hope and optimism is a significant step forward for Indonesia. The weight SBY gave his speech is a sign of Indonesia’s perception of itself as a rising power and the acceptance if not enthusiasm of its role to play in relieving tensions between the West and Islam. This faith is not misplaced. After all Indonesia is a Muslim country that exercises democracy. It not only survived the global economic downturn, but is
32 Harvard Asia Pacific Review | Spring 2010
continuing to grow unperturbed. It is a country expected to gain in influence, optimists positioning it next in line after China and India.
The rocky road to democracy
Indonesia’s confidence on the international stage has been reinforced by its internal economic, social and political accomplishments, feats unimaginable twelve years ago when the country was in turmoil and on the brink of collapse. In 1999, some analysts even speculated on a balkanization of Indonesia. The referendum that led to East Timorese independence was feared to catalyze a domino effect. National unity was very fragile at that time, stretched to its limits over an archipelago of approximately 17 thousand islands, encompassing 300 local languages and identities. In other parts of the country, mostly to the far West and East, in Aceh and Papua, the central government was violently suppressing separatist movements vocalizing their right for self rule. Ethnic conflicts were erupting in Maluccu, Kalimantan, even in some parts of Java. The early years of the twenty-first century were among the most challenging of Indonesia’s struggles to maintain unity since its Independence from the Dutch. The economy was fragile and crisis-prone, unable to
absorb the shock of the Asian financial meltdown of 1997. to restart. Indonesia’s strength is not coming from the elite in There were heavy job losses and high unemployment, which Jakarta, but at the grass roots across the archipelago. fuelled further resentment among domestic populations. As decentralization begins to result in positive changPro-democracy movements brought an end to the dictatores, democratic governance is similarly progressing, albeit ship, but the celebration was cut short as uncertainty ensued with qualified success. Elections have given the people a and corruption spread from the center like a cancer through peaceful avenue to voice their dissent and change the leadthe devolution of power to far-flung districts and provinces. ership at both national and sub national level. People can Indonesians quipped at the time now participate in regime change Indonesian President Susilo Bambang without leading to endless crisis it was the end of the big Soeharto, but only the beginning of the endangers the whole system. Yudhoyono went beyond Obama’s call that many small Soehartos throughout Indeed, leadership has been refor a new beginning and outlined a nine- placed at various times through the country. Processes of reform stalled election at the presidential point plan to ‘reinvent a new world’ and direct and the new model of democracy and district level. Indonesia has create harmony among civilizations. had more Presidents in the last ten failed to deliver significant developments and economic progress. years than its first forty years of inEven neighboring countries mocked Indonesia’s exercise in dependence. The last presidential election in 2009 was andemocracy. Singapore, in preserving the legitimacy of its other example that democracy can work in Indonesia. SBY own less democratic system, jibed that Indonesians may have was given another five years mandate to continue his reform a democracy but that they could not eat. People began to policies. doubt democracy was the answer. Yes, from this period of uncertainty, Indonesia has staOngoing challenges bilized and grown in strength, surprising political commentaYet, Indonesia is not a Southeast Asian miracle and there tors. Internationally, The Economist declared this a golden continues to be problems in its infancy of democracy. The age for Indonesia in international relations earlier this year, clearest indicator of its democracy, elections, is not without noting that the country enjoys good terms with all nations. weakness. The central government has been so conscienThe only problem according to the report is its own of image tious about this fact that it holds hold elections too regularly, as the result of its previous dictatorship. A World Bank quarleading to general confusion among the public. The structure terly report underscored Indonesia’s astonishing resilience to of elections and the constant change of election law puzzle the global financial crisis, showing its affects as marginal and both the public and elections expert. In practice there is also delayed in comparison to other emerging economies. This the need to be concerned with financial politicking sidelining represents a dramatic turnaround from a decade before. serious policy discussion. When candidates have the money, Internally, the country is robust. Contrary to earlier prothey will buy votes or run strong campaign to override the jections of the archipelago fragmenting, Indonesia remains competition rather than demonstrating superior political platintact. Ethnic conflicts did not lead to the break up of the forms to build the people a future. nation. Cohesiveness is now maintained by devolution of Indonesia is trying to address the democratic deficit in political power rather than the imperialistic domination of governance. Corruption combined with the inefficiency of Jakarta from the center over the periphery. Aceh, which was government services is the biggest institutional problems of the biggest separatist challenge after East Timor, was settled the newly democratic country. It is key to continue strengththrough peaceful dialogue. When the province’s peace proening the local and national institutions. The failure of these cess was agreed upon and accepted by leaders of the separatinstitutions in delivering services and development will be ist Gerakan Aceh Merdeka movement (GAM), it was because seen as the failure of democracy to have strong meaning. At the central government agreed to compromise on the right the same time these institutions must be safeguarded from to self-rule. corruption. Corruption is pervasive at all levels with govStrong autonomous power was given to the unique provernment watchdogs highlighting a dramatic increase of civil ince. Aceh has the right to exercise its own affairs except in servants and elected official accused in graft cases. While the fields of foreign relations and national fiscal issues. Only the attention on the issue has been serious, the country still four years on from the settlement, provisions remain to be ranks low by international standards and remains one of the implemented, yet now the framework is in place, it has given most corrupt in Asia. great hope to local people for a better future. Rebels are not Locals describe Indonesia anecdotally as a nice hotel only integrated back into society, but they have evolved into where the reception is sparkling new and fancy but when a political force and have been participating in the election you enter your room it is still unfinished, the bed is unmade, with some notable successes at the executive level. the toilet is not working and the room service is mostly late. These changes only came about because of a shift in poThere is still a gap between the institutions functioning and litical will and enthusiasm for dialogue. It would have been the expectations of the people for the government to fulfill inconceivable to imagine the level of the current progress its capacities as an advanced democratic state. Corruption in Aceh during the previous era of Indonesia. Decentralizahas co-opted the resources available to improve the lives of tion has been crucial to satisfy ethnic and local aspirations. the poor and increased social inequality. Dissatisfaction is Jakarta needs to continue applying this lesson learned, esto a point where the public is murmuring of a wish to return pecially to Papua. The central government has not initiated to the days of the dictatorship as at least then the corruption a peace dialogue seriously to this troubled province, which was under control. SBY realizes corruption is decaying his is disappointing as they have a useful model from Aceh at government and has recently waged a ‘jihad’ on it as a comhand. The relative autonomy granted to Papua has brought mon enemy of Indonesia. little change since the split of the province and inconsistency There is still cause to be positive while Indonesia’s govof implementing the existing autonomy law. Dialogue needs ernment continues to adjust; the people are more resilient SUBFEATURE | An Indonesian Future 33
to political coercion today than ever. For example, in Deby anti-government groups. Islam in Indonesia has expericember 2009, Indonesians took to the streets to protest the enced the negative impact of globalization with the developpolitically motivated arrest of the leaders of Komisi Pemberment of its own brand of terrorist networks. Thankfully, the antasan Korupsi (KPK), the national anti-corruption commismoderate is in the majority of Muslims in Indonesia, and the sion. People recognized that the arrests were orchestrated by Bali bombing as well as the 2009 bombing in Jakarta merely a dubious element of the government which felt threatened dented rather than damaged the countryâ€™s international standby the watchdog. The growth of civil society and the freeing. Indeed, progressives who do not want Islam polluted by dom of the press will continue to violence in the name of Allah diLocals describe Indonesia anecdotally luted extremism. be an effective counterweight to balance any excesses of the state. However the shadow of as a nice hotel where the reception is Indonesia can be proud of the conservatism is creeping into democratic space it has created sparkling new and fancy but when you politics. Recent news that Aceh to voice alternatives at all times. passed Sharia law condemnenter your room it is still unfinished, the has Indonesian media is likely more ing adulterers to death by stoning free than bureaus in Singapore or bed is unmade, the toilet is not working has negative implications for the Malaysia where criticism of the entire country. And it is not only and the room service is mostly late. government is strictly controlled. Aceh. Indeed, the country has alIndonesian journalists have freeready introduced Sharia oriented dom to report on issues and scandals of significance to the regulations at the local-level in various regions over the last people, as well as the right to criticize the government with three years. Inspired by the hold of Sharia in Aceh, the prolifimpunity. eration of seemingly innocent local by-laws below the radar of central government authorities is a warning sign of a much more ominous threat to the country. Tackling the internal Islamist Islamic law in Indonesia is currently only used in the Indonesia is promoted as the future of Islam. It is ofcontext of family law, for example, in matters of marriage and ten cited alongside Turkey as an exemplar demonstrating the inheritance. State law regulates the rest of the legal system, compatibility of Islam with democracy. Obama even drew such as the criminal code of justice. Current advocates of on his Indonesian background in defining engagement beSharia are trying to extend the reach of Islamic law to contween the US and the Muslim world. The international comform all facets of public and private life. If the conservatives munity perceives Indonesiaâ€™s Islam as more temperate and succeed in establishing their interpretation of Sharia nationtolerant than the Arab Islam of the Middle East. ally, it will reverse Indonesiaâ€™s progress and the international Yet, upon closer inspection, the political picture in Incelebration of its moderate Islam. donesia is more complex than harmonious. The relationship The promotion of conservative Sharia is not only advobetween Islam and politics is still a tricky and sensitive issue cated by political Islamist parties such as the Prosperous Justo manage. Indonesia plays a delicate balancing act neither tice Party (PKS), at a national level where debate is open to defining itself as a secular state, nor a religious one. This public scrutiny, but now also by various mainstream political reflects the ongoing struggle to position religion in public afparties at the district level where people are more susceptible fairs. This duality is the most vulnerable aspect of politics, to coercion. Beyond the political creep of Sharia law, vigifacing attack by both the conservative mullahs and the liberal lante groups have emerged, such as the Defenders of Islam, moderates. who are impatiently waiting on the courts and have started At the same time, this vulnerability is violently exploited
34 Harvard Asia Pacific Review | Spring 2010
imposing their own brand of Islamic justice on communithe country’s sliding into conservatism in the absence of conties. certed action. Conservatives promoting Sharia as a ‘local’ When looking at the results of the recent Indonesian identity and installing corrupt leaders can hijack the devoluelections, you could easily be deceived into thinking that tion of power form the center. Political parties are politicking public opinion puts the moderates ahead of the conservaIslam for their self-interested purposes at the expense of hutives in the battle of ideology. Indeed the Islamist parties man rights and pluralism for the people. The internal balance did not do well in the election. However this is a superfiof politics and religion must be struck. Indonesia’s ability to cial argument measuring only numbers. The real measure deal with this current challenge is key to its future success of Indonesia’s problem with conservatism is the more subtle and for its high-hoped ambition to bridge the Muslim and the and mainstream adoption of the religious agenda by all. It is Western world. not about PKS winning or losing, but the fact that everyone In the future Indonesia will be judged as either a success seems to be becoming more like PKS. Everyone is politicking story transitioning from a painful past to a progressive demoreligion to win. You don’t need a definitively Islamist party cratic and developed country, or as a country that has failed anymore if everyone is adopting an Islamist agenda. to transform after a dictatorship. This global age of identity Neither Muhammadiyah nor the and the rise of Asia has Indonesia on Nadhatul Ulama, two of the largest a precipice. The rhetoric of SBY inIndonesia’s ability to deal with moderate Muslim organizations in spires confidence that Indonesia will this current challenge is key to the country, has been brave enough proudly project a model of moderate to challenge the Islamic groups. For while advancing democracy its future success and for its high- Islam conservative Sharia to be implementand modernity at home. I hope that hoped ambition to bridge the ed, there does not need to be many he and others after him can continue to voice support for it. Conservatives build on positive developments Muslim and the Western world. to just need the voices to be loud in orboth internally and internationally der to pronounce it. By articulating to shape a world where the vision of their ideas assertively and repeatedly, conservative Islamist harmonious relations becomes real. groups drive the religious discourse of Indonesia today. Aguswandi, a post-conflict adviser and human rights advocate, is curEven though the country is in the hands of the moderrently a fellow of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at ate President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, this will not stop Harvard University.
Cooperation, Friction and Safeguarding: Australia and Indonesia’s Security Relationship Dale Stephens & Stefan Gruber At first glance, Australia and Indonesia are two seemingly disparate countries that - despite their close proximity ostensibly represent opposite poles on any meaningful sociocultural demographic measure. Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim country, culturally situated within South East Asia with an enormous, mostly Javanese, population base of over 240 million people. Since declaring independence from the Netherlands in 1945, Indonesia went through many political struggles and changes, which seem to have somewhat eased off with the first free presidential elections in 2004. Conversely, Australia is a traditionally democratic, largely Christian country with a relatively small, mostly European, population of 22 million that is firmly entrenched within the western political, cultural and strategic defense framework. A former Indonesian Ambassador to Australia, H.E. Imron Cotan, has observed that the two countries are “absolutely different from one another, notably in terms of history, culture and political orientation.“1 Similarly, a former Australian Foreign Minister has stated that Australia and Indonesia are (metaphorically speaking) “half a world apart” and they “differ in language, culture, religion, history, ethnicity, population size and in political, legal and social systems.”2 Despite these differences, both Australia and Indonesia
are permanently entwined geographically. They are close physical neighbors and the management of their relationship is recognized on both sides as a critical strategic imperative. Australia has been involved in several military operations in Southeast Asia and is one of the driving economic and political forces in the region while Indonesia’s sheer size makes it a major player. It is impossible for both countries to make significant strategic decisions without affecting each other’s interests. Australia’s Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, stated in 2009 “that whatever challenges we face together in our region or the world at large, we in this country Australia have a first instinct, which is how do we work with Indonesia on this.”3 Historically, the relationship between both countries has been particularly fluid4 with dichotomous elements of great harmony and tension, co-operation and competition, selfless commitment and tacit low-intensity armed confrontation. Recent developments have shown that their security relationship and cooperation can be expected to become much closer in order to meet arising challenges for their national interests and Southeast Asia in general. The recently agreed “Treaty of Lombok” that seeks to establish a comprehensive and layered framework to the management of this issue marks SUBFEATURE | Cooperation, Friction, and Safeguarding 35
an important step in that direction. To understand its potential to shape the security relationship between Australia and Indonesia, it is crucial to understand not only the history of that relationship, but also the challenges that both countries are facing together.
From Indonesia’s independence to the “New Order”
litical activity through designated government, political and community agencies all under Indonesian National Armed Forces tutelage (Tentara Nasional Indonesia “TNI”).8 The TNI assumed a dominant social, political and economic role within Indonesian society that lasted as long as the Soeharto Presidency until 1998 and were the “central nervous system” of this “guided democracy.”9 Matters of internal defense were of principal attention during the majority of this time. With a country comprising over 13,000 islands and a plurality of competing religious, ethnic and cultural groups, the Indonesian armed forces were seen as the ‘backbone’ of the New Order and more broadly of Indonesian national unity.10 It was not until the end of the 1990’s and into this century that full participatory democratization was realized within Indonesia and this correlated with the restructure of the TNI into a more traditional defense role. The New Order policy also revived the defense relationship with Australia. Australian commitment to the Indonesian military capacity developed primarily through transfers of military material and training of members of the TNI within Australian staff colleges. Pointedly however, Indonesia was not included within the 1971 Five Power Defense Arrangement signed between Singapore, Malaysia, the UK, New Zealand and Australia, which created a loose alliance between the parties and fostered ongoing engagement via military exercises. The period through the 1980’s did, however, see a gradual formalization of the relationship with the increasing transfer of military material.11 The decade was not without problems with the temporary cessation of activities following an adverse media report on the Soeharto family by an Australian based reporter in 1986, though by the end of the 1980’s high level visits between senior military officers were resumed.12 The most notable of those visits were probably the visits of Chief of the Australian Defense Force (ADF), General Peter Gration, to Indonesia in 1988 and of the Commander-in-Chief of the TNI, General Try Soetrisno, in a reciprocal visit to Australia in 1989. Especially in this latter case, General Soetrisno used every opportunity during his visit to emphasize the positive aspects of the relationship between both countries, while both sides underlined the importance of equal sharing of responsibility for a closer defense relationship.13
Australia played an important role in Indonesia’s struggle for independence and the foundation of the Republic of Indonesia. When Indonesia declared itself independent in 1945, Australia pushed the Netherlands to reach an agreement with the Indonesian representatives. However, the Netherlands were not willing to give up their colonies that easily and launched a large-scale military operation in Sumatra and Java in 1947. Australia referred the conflict to the United Nations Security Council as a breach of the peace, which resulted in a ceasefire resolution5 —the first ever adopted. In the following negotiations, Indonesia chose to be represented by Australia, which was a strong supporter of the Indonesian nationalist movement in the post World War II era. The Netherlands finally recognized Indonesia’s independence and it was Australia, along with India, who sponsored Indonesia’s admission to the United Nations in 1950.6 The period extending between 1950 and 1960 saw little in the development of the defense relationship between Australia and Indonesia. Despite the close ties that had developed during the independence struggle, the relationship between both countries during this period had cooled down significantly. This was partially the result of Australia’s mistrust of the enormous growth of the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) as the Cold War was erupting. The relationship further deteriorated when Australia tried to stop Indonesia from annexing the territory of Western New Guinea. The situation escalated with the formation of the Federation of Malaysia in 1963, which Indonesia tried to prevent. Indonesia’s opposition to the founding of Malaysia as a nation state resulted in a confrontation (Konfrontasi) between Malaysia and British Commonwealth troops on the one side and Indonesia on the other from 1962 to 1966. Australian soldiers were deployed to Borneo as part of the Commonwealth military commitment and were involved in low-level armed conflict during this ideological dispute resulting in some casualties for both Indonesian and Australian soldiers. The conflict ended with a change of government in Indonesia, followed by a peace The 1990’s – the pinnacle and the nadir treaty signed by Indonesia and Malaysia in Bangkok on 11 The 1990’s represented both the pinnacle of the AustraAugust 1966. lian-Indonesia security relationship and also the nadir. The The politically weakened then-President Sukarno, who early part of the decade saw increasing military to military primarily kept his power by balancing the influential PKI and contacts, Staff College exchanges, the establishment of comthe military, was removed munications, science and from office in 1966. After Australia’s Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, stated in technology working groups an attempted coup, which and augmented materiel and was blamed on the PKI, the 2009 “that whatever challenges we face together logistics arrangements.14 By military and anti-communist in our region or the world at large, we in this 1993 Australia had become elements within the Indonethe largest supplier of milicountry Australia have a first instinct, which is tary training to Indonesia sian elite took control. The PKI was basically destroyed with over 200 officers rehow do we work with Indonesia on this.” with thousands of its memceiving training per year.15 bers being killed or arrested.7 Additionally, the two counThe counteraction was mainly organized by Major General tries shared a robust calendar of combined air, land, and Soeharto, Commander of the Strategic Army Reserve, who maritime exercises each year that permitted further doctrinal held most of the political power immediately afterwards and and technological exchange. The personal identification by was officially appointed president in 1968. the Australian Prime Minister, Paul Keating, of the need to ceThe assumption of power by President Soeharto in the ment relations16 and the rapport between the Prime Minister mid 1960’s witnessed the introduction of the “New Order” and Indonesian President Soeharto resulted in the negotiation political structure. The New Order sought to channel all poof the 1995 Australia-Indonesia Security Agreement (AISA),17 36 Harvard Asia Pacific Review | Spring 2010
which was initialed by the Foreign Ministers of both parties Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET).28 The on 18 December 1995 and entered force on 15 July 1996. INTERFET contingent was led by Australia, which also proThis agreement was the first of its type that Indonesia had vided the largest number of troops and equipment, followed signed with any other country18 which was significant given by New Zealand. The experience represented a major strain its traditional non aligned international stance. Its terms were for Indonesian authorities who considered Australia’s role in modest though heavily symbolic. The agreement critically the force to be inconsistent with the terms of the AISA and recognized that Australia and Indonesia shared common sedecided to cancel the treaty in September 1999.29 curity interests and it set up a process of regular Ministerial Despite the formal renunciation of the AISA, the profeslevel “consultation”19 to address matters of common concern sional ties that had developed between the Australian and and “to develop such cooperation as would benefit their Indonesian armed forces proved invaluable during the tense own security and the months of late 1999. The Historically, the relationship between [Australia region.”20 With respect Australian led INTERFET to direct security threats, forces oversaw the TNI and Indonesia] has been particularly fluid with the Agreement comdeparture from East Timor mitted the countries to dichotomous elements of great harmony and tension, and upheld the public orconsult with each other There was considerco-operation and competition, selfless commitment der. in the event of “adverse able tension in the air at and tacit low-intensity armed confrontation. challenges” to either the time and a sense that party or to their common the process of withdrawsecurity and, if appropriate, to permit resort to “measures”, al could have resulted in significant armed confrontation bewhich might be taken individually or collectively, to address tween the two forces if not properly managed. It was undersuch challenges.21 While not committing either party to the standable that the Indonesian military had misgivings about direct defense of the other, the AISA was nonetheless genutheir departure. The former Indonesian Army barracks where inely significant in its import. Its terms were similar to the the INTERFET forces were garrisoned in the capital Dili, for “cornerstone” Defense Treaty that Australia has with the Unitexample, contained a number of memorials to the numerous ed States (the ANZUS Treaty)22 that has formed the foundaIndonesian lives lost during the time of Indonesian administion of the Australian security outlook since 1952 and which tration over East Timor as a result of the guerilla war that had similarly adopts obligations of consultation and the taking of been ongoing since 1975. There was a strong emotional and appropriate “measures” language when dealing with threats professional investment by Indonesian forces in East Timor, to security. a point not missed by members of the INTERFET force. AcEast Timor Despite the forward progress between Austracounts of the INTERFET period rightly give enormous credit lia and Indonesia in the early part of the decade, the relationto the personal and professional relationship between the ship was pushed to a breaking point over the issue of East INTERFET Commander, Major General Peter Cosgrove and Timor in late 1999.24 After Portugal decided to effectively the Indonesian Commander Major General Kiki Syahnarki.30 abandon its colony of Portuguese Timor in 1975, Indonesia This certainly set the tone, but the professional relationships invaded the territory the same year and declared it its 27th between the Indonesian and Australian militaries that extendprovince, Timor Timur. The annexation was subsequently aced well down the command chain critically contributed to cepted by Australia in 1979, which had been the only nation successfully resolving the sense of unpredictability that hung to recognize de jure Indonesian sovereignty over East Timor. in the air during the early days of the INTERFET operation. This position stood in direct contrast to the views of both Singh in his account of that time notes, for example “…had the General Assembly and Security Council of the United it not been for the close military-to-military cooperation beNations that had each adopted numerous Resolutions contween the two countries, especially since 1989 and more pardemning the annexation.25 The United Nations Commission ticularly, since the [AISA] in December 1995, it was unlikely on Human Rights similarly adopted a resolution in 1983, that the [ADF] would have had, relatively speaking, such an re-affirming East Timor’s right to self-determination and ineasy and successful time in East Timor.”31 This is not to say dependence. However, both the Indonesian and Australian that it was incident free, Singh identifies numerous occasions governments underestimated the urge of the East Timorese where the fragile peace could have been shattered, graphifor independence. When President Soeharto was forced to cally recounting one such incident at the Dili wharf where 25 resign in 1998 and the grip of the New Order regime was ADF and TNI soldiers faced each other with weapons pointed loosened, the East Timorese voted with a vast majority for at each others heads in a stand off over the handing over of independence in a referendum sponsored by the United Nacontrol of the facility. 32 Notwithstanding incidents such as tions Mission in East Timor (UNAMET), established by Secuthese, violence between INTERFET and the TNI was averted rity Council Resolution 1246. The level of violence generwithin East Timor. ated by the pro-Indonesian militia to retaliate, hit the local Despite the professionalism showed by the Indonesian population with unforeseen force. Scores of civilians were and Australian led INTERFET forces, the East Timor deploykilled, many abused, most of the population was forced to ment and the abrogation of the AISA not surprisingly resulted flee their homes, and a large part of the infrastructure was in a formal cooling of the security relationship. There were destroyed.26 suspicions from the Indonesian side that Australian actions Following an international outcry, Indonesia consented regarding East Timor could be translated into a general supto the arrival of UN sponsored International Force and subseport for separatist movements across the Indonesian archiquently agreed to withdraw from East Timor. The deployment pelago. The Australian Government for its part was keen to of the INTERFET force (International Force East Timor) into expressly and publicly disavow such intent and to state that East Timor under Security Council Resolution 126427 in SepAustralian security was in fact dependent upon the maintetember 1999 was designed to bring order to the region and nance of a unified Indonesian political entity.33 to lay the foundations for the success of the United Nations SUBFEATURE | Cooperation, Friction, and Safeguarding 37
that seek to undermine national unity and emphasizes both regular consultation and “capacity building” through military The current decade has seen a gradual warming and education and training exercises, study visits and exchangeventual emphatic re-affirmation of the security relationship. es.39 Whereas the AISA Agreement identified consultation In early 2001 Australia attempted to deal with a significant and the taking of appropriate measures in the face of exterincrease in people smuggling activities and initiated Operanal threats, the Lombok Treaty departs from this traditional tion Relex which sought to intercept private syndicate vessels mutual defense perspective and, rather, seeks to develop an departing Indonesia seeking to land undocumented arrivals integrated and assimilated approach to dealing with common upon the Australian shoreline. One initial strategy was to security threats. In many respects, it demonstrates a deeper remove such vessels from Australia’s territorial sea and conambition of cultural and geo political understanding and cotiguous zone and to tow them to the edge of the Indonesian operation within a mutual security framework. Territorial sea limits. The Indonesian authorities, while not at the time actively coordinating a response, did acquiesce to such maneuvers and tacitly cooperated in addressing this The Assimilation of Socio-Legal Norms matter. While a small measure of progress, it nonetheless The Lombok Treaty’s emphasis upon continuing security represented a significant step in the improving bilateral-redialogue and military to military education provides an ideal lationship. avenue for realizing the “soft power” of professional military In 2002, terrorist bombings took place in , Indonesia values and culture.40 The phenomenon of military facilitaand resulted in the loss of 202 lives (88 of them Australian). tion of humanitarian and cosmopolitan values may seem These attacks did lead to overt cooperation between the two surprising to some, but is an increasingly recognized feature countries to investigate and bring to justice the perpetrators. of statecraft. Australian doctrine publication 2007 Joint OpIn fact, the Indonesian Ambassador to Australia noted the erations for the 21st Century, encourages ADF “shaping” of significance of the co-operation the prevailing security environThe experience of the last few decades ment by a process of “normative when he observed that “the police of the two countries have to has demonstrated that despite a number consensus building” in order been closely working together stabilize regional security.41 Self in hunting down the perpetrators of challenges both Australia and Indonesia consciously instrumental, the in Indonesia, leading to their arseeks to influence reare committed to establishing a durable shaping rests and prosecutions. Prior to gional state behavior through sosecurity relationship with each other. this incident no one in Indonesia ciological mechanisms. Hence, could have imagined [Australian as Indonesia fully transitions to Federal Police] personnel working openly on Indonesia’s soil, an entrenched participatory democracy, the military cortaking into account its history that had been bitterly tainted respondingly adjusts its once dominant position by revertby colonization.”34 ing to more traditional standards of military professionalism Perhaps the key turning point in the contemporary Ausand focus under unquestionable civilian control. Implicitly tralian – Indonesian security relationship occurred in late proselytizing democratic principles carries with it a threat of 2004 following the devastation of the “Boxing Day” tsunami cultural imperialism, though tenets of military professionalthat wrought considerable havoc and significant loss of life ism do have a universal quality about them. Moreover, the within the Indonesian archipelago on 26 December 2004. doctrine acknowledges that “such strategy … must be temIn addition to providing financial and material aid, the Indopered with genuine humility and an appreciation that culnesian Government approved the deployment of the ADF to tural insensitivity or perceived hubris can quickly negate any Aceh to conduct humanitarian relief operations.35 Permitting positive influence.”42 the presence of the ADF within Indonesian territory, espeThe academics Goodman and Jinks have documented cially within a region that had been at the center of separatist this process more broadly within the realm of international ambition and internecine warfare, was a critical legal and human rights law with the development of their “acculturapsychological step from the Indonesian side. Significantly, tion” thesis.43 Indeed they identify a “global military culture” the ADF operated unarmed during the operation and their and a high degree of isomorphism in organizational and physical security was the responsibility of the Indonesian professional orientation between militaries of various states, Armed forces.36 including those of the developing world. They posit a view that international legal norms are internalized through a process of social agency and an associated iterative experience Treaty of Lombok of interaction with a preferred referent group. Unlike simiThe security relationship between Australia and Indolar mechanisms of coercion or persuasion, the acculturation nesia reached a new high with the negotiation and ratificaconcept operates through an almost subliminal process of tion of the “Agreement Between the Republic of Indonesia national identity formation and draws upon the constructivand Australia on the Framework for Security Cooperation” ist strain of international relations theory.44 The professional (signed in Lombok, Indonesia on 13 November 2006 and respect that has developed between the ADF and the TNI known informally as the “Lombok Treaty”).37 The Treaty is would seem to facilitate the operation of these pathways. As more comprehensive than its 1995 AISA predecessor. It exHinchcliffe has observed, the ADF is well placed to “shape” pands bilateral cooperation and exchanges on matters affectnormative development with its institutionalized reliance ing common security and creates a more durable framework upon “democratic principles, transparent system of meritorifor discussing and cooperating on issues relating to “terrorism ous advancement within the [Defense] Force and a tradition and transnational crime, defense arrangements, law enforceof upholding human rights”.45 It is significant in this regard ment, counter-terrorism, intelligence, maritime and aviation that the Indonesian Military co-hosted and took the lead in security, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the 2008 Military Ethics Forum46 in Jakarta that saw almost emergency management and response”.38 It pointedly obliga dozen nations from South and South East Asia continue a es each state to refrain from supporting separatist movements
The 2000s – Improving bilateral ties
38 Harvard Asia Pacific Review | Spring 2010
managed dialogue to progress identification of ethical and legal boundaries in the conduct of military operations. These capacity building developments coupled with the socialization process that comes with participation on UN Peacekeeping Operations such as the Lebanon UNIFIL and Congo MONUC operations, to which Indonesia currently deploys its peacekeepers on, provide valuable opportunities for the sharing of professional military values that the Lombok Treaty implicitly seeks to promote.
The Future of the Australia-Indonesia Security Relationship
The Australian-Indonesian security relationship has always been a complicated one. The Australian attempt to foster a good relationship, also on military level, by downplaying human rights violations and failing to effectively use diplomacy and persuasion to prevent the tragedy in East Timor has rightfully been criticized over the years.47 However, the recent developments in Australian and Indonesian politics justify the hope for an improved partnership based on trust and equal cooperation. The Lombok Treaty clearly is a step in the right direction as it creates a durable framework for strengthening the security relationship between Australia and Indonesia. The Australian Prime Minister recently offered $2.3 billion in economic assistance over a 5-year period48 which represents a sizeable investment in ensuring continued Indonesia unity and confidence (and which is four times the level of US assistance to Indonesia). The support from Australia is as crucial to Indonesian interests, as is the political and regional stability and cooperation of Indonesia to Australian interests. Under the aegis of the Lombok Treaty numerous military exercises are being conducted that have a particular focus on maritime security, intelligence sharing, disaster management and peacekeeping49 and in 2007 there were 110 Indonesian TNI Officers studying within Australian military academies.50 Notwithstanding these developments, it is evident that do-
mestic politics will always challenge the relationship. At present the Australian Government is seeking significant cooperation in dealing with countering ongoing people smuggling strategies that is dominating Australian news, though unlike previous eras there is a sense that the relationship will withstand isolated challenges such as these. Such challenges are the reason for the importance of the Lombok Treaty. The value of the defense relationship shows not only in its approach to military threats, but especially to issues like terrorism, organized crime across borders, people smuggling and the rigorous enforcement of immigration laws, response to natural disasters, and similar threats to the security and stability of both countries. The experience of the last few decades has demonstrated that despite a number of challenges both Australia and Indonesia are committed to establishing a durable security relationship with each other. Defense policy is a very complex and long-term business which affects the fates and room of maneuver of countries for decades to come.51 The current international legal framework outlined in the Lombok Treaty would seem to provide the most comprehensive means for formally achieving this goal. It is equally evident, however, that any international legal architecture no matter how well crafted needs to suffused with a proper appreciation of cultural and political sensitivities. Issues such as post colonialism challenges, deep sensitivity to internal separatist threats, civilian control of the military and the internalization of cosmopolitan professional values all provide disaggregated influences and perspectives that need to be successfully managed to ensure an effective security relationship is maintained. It would seem that the present efforts to reach the necessary security equilibrium offer the best hope for success in a long while. It is simply a relationship that both parties realize must be made to work. Dale Stephens is an S.J.D. Candidate at Harvard Law School and a Captain of the Royal Australian Navy. Stefan Gruber s a Ph.D. Candidate at Sydney Law School and a Legal Practitioner with the Chamber of Lawyers of Frankfurt am Main.
SUBFEATURE | Cooperation, Friction, and Safeguarding 39
IN FOC US
Australian Coal and Climate Change Mitigation R. Quentin Grafton and N. Ross Lambie Australia is often called the ‘lucky country’ meaning that was responsible for the drought in south-east Australia that its prosperity depends more on its mineral wealth and natural began in 2001, the Howard government announced in July resources than on the enterprise or innovation of its people. 2007 a plan to establish an emissions trading scheme (ETS) Whether true or not, Australia’s mineral industry has been, by 2012 with emissions targets to be announced in 2008. and remains, an important part of its economy. It has also By this time, and with just a few months before a general helped fuel a ‘resource boom’ in mineral exports over the election in November 2007, the then opposition Labor Party past five years or so. had taken the moral ‘high ground’ and promised to ratify the Coal is the most important of all Australia’s merchanKyoto Protocol and reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emisdise exports and in 2008-09 accounted for almost one fifth sions once elected. of the total value of exports. Australia also has the distinction In the November 2007 general election the Howard of being the world’s largest exporter of coal accounting for government lost office. One of the first acts of the new govabout 30 percent of world trade. However, in terms of coal ernment led by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was to ratify the production Australia is dwarfed by Kyoto Protocol. A key plank in the The importance of coal for Australia Rudd government’s climate change China which mines ten times as much, and the United States which policy is the commithas allowed it to figure prominently in mitigation extracts three times as much. ment to implement an ETS that it climate change policy and politics. calls a ‘Carbon Pollution Reduction Coal is important in other ways. It generates approximately Scheme,’ or the CPRS. 80 percent of Australia’s electricity supply and accounts for The CPRS policy came out of a process that began with about 3-4 percent of the country’s GDP. Over the past decade an independent review headed by an academic economist, coal-mining royalties have contributed about 3-5 percent to Ross Garnaut, and was initiated in April 2007 by premiers state revenues in Queensland and New South Wales. of the six states of Australia and the then leader of the opposition, Kevin Rudd. The review was then supported by the Rudd government in January 2008 following its victory Coal and Climate Change Politics in November 2007. The final report, known as the Garnaut The importance of coal for Australia has allowed it to Climate Change Review (‘Garnaut Review’), was released in figure prominently in climate change policy and politics. September 2008. It provided detailed recommendations on Coal provides cheap energy and is perceived as providing what form the ETS should take in Australia. The Review recAustralia with an important competitive advantage. Austraommended extending assistance to emissions intensive trade lia’s coal mindset, in part, made its diplomats play ‘hard ball’ exposed (EITE) industries equal to be about 30 percent of the in negotiating its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. value of permits allocated, and up to a maximum of $A one Collectively, industrialized countries agreed to a 5.2 percent billion or about $US900 million in a one-off payment for rereduction in emissions, relative to 1990, by the end of the ducing emissions in coal-power generation. 2008-2012 commitment period. Australia secured an 8% inBy the time legislation for the CPRS was tabled in the crease in emissions. Despite this concession, the Australian Australian parliament in 2009 both EITE industries and coalgovernment under John Howard as Prime Minister refused to fired electricity generators had acquired far more planned actually ratify the Protocol. compensation for possible losses than recommended by the The fossil fuel energy lobby has played a significant role Garnaut Review. This planned assistance is in the form of free in influencing Australia’s energy and climate policy since the emissions permits that will be provided to industry should the mid 1990s. The reticence to sign the Kyoto Protocol was, in CPRS become law. The coal-fired electricity sector is schedlarge measure, due to the effectiveness of the lobbying by uled to receive about $US3.15 billion in assistance over the the coal industry and coal-fired electricity producers. For infirst five years of the CPRS. Funding of $US725 million was stance, Ian Campbell, the Minister for Environment and Herialso available over this period as adjustment assistance for tage (2004-2007) in the Howard Government recently stated the coal-mining sector. Notwithstanding this assistance under that during his tenure, “You had the big miners and energy the proposed ETS, both sectors vociferously argued and lobproducers fighting very, very hard against any movement on bied for additional compensation. For instance, the coal secclimate policy.” tor claims that the CPRS would cost it about $US12.3 billion The failure to ratify the Kyoto Protocol eventually beand thousands of jobs. To support its claims it has funded a came a ‘litmus test’ for the general public in terms of its multi-million dollar campaign in mining regions and governperceptions about Prime Minister Howard and his government-held marginal seats to advertise its belief that the CPRS ment’s willingness to ‘do something’ on climate change. In will generate major job losses. an effort to stem increased domestic criticism that Australia The legislation establishing the CPRS passed the lower was a laggard on this issue, and concern that climate change 40 Harvard Asia Pacific Review | Spring 2010
house of the legislature, but was rejected by the upper house, What happens to the CPRS now is uncertain. The oppothe Australian Senate, in August 2009. An amended bill sition party with its new leader has adopted a strong anti-ETS agreed on by the government and the major opposition party position which means that unless the government strengthens was returned to the Senate at the end of November 2009. The emission reduction targets and gains support from a minor bill increased transitional assistance to coal-fired electricity opposition party, further attempts to pass the CPRS legislation generators to $US6.5 billion over 10 years and $US1.35 bilin the Senate are likely to be thwarted. The United Nations lion to the coal-mining sector. Climate Change Conference in However, the amended Bill was The proposed CPRS provides transitional Copenhagen in December 2009 rejected in the Senate on 2 Dealso play a role in determinassistance to EITE industries to address may cember 2009 because those oping the outcome of ETS legislaposed to its passage in the official concerns that the scheme may adversely tion in Australia. Regardless of Opposition forced a change in what happens at Copenhagen, leadership and elected a leader affect their international competitiveness. the Australian fossil fuel lobby’s on 1 December opposed to the rent-seeking interventions have legislation. This has provided the legal basis for the Prime already had a major impact on the CPRS, and can be blamed Minister to recommend to the Head of State that both houses for hindering effective Australian action on climate change. of Parliament be dissolved (‘double dissolution’) and an election called for all members and senators. The Rudd governClimate Change Policy ment has decided to retain this option and instead committed Australia’s current action on climate change is based on to return the defeated legislation when Parliament reconvenes four policy initiatives: The Clean Energy Initiative; the Clean in February 2010. If the bill were rejected again in the Senate Business Australia program; the Renewable Energy Target in 2010, climate change policy would feature as an impor(RET) Program; and the CPRS. tant part of the ensuing national election campaign. The Clean Energy Initiative is a $US4.0 billion fund Prior to the amended CPRS bill, Ross Garnaut had emto promote low emission technologies. It sets aside about phasized the current level of compensation to coal-fired $US1.1 billion to build four solar plants with a total capacity electricity was already excessive and that further financial of 1,000 megawatts by 2015 and some $US2.25 billion for a support would reduce expenditures on health, education, Carbon Capture and Storage Flagships Program for research and also low-emission technologies. In a speech on 14 Sepand development of low emissions clean coal technologies tember 2009 he argued that the compensation to industries along with funds for a Global Carbon Capture and Storage proposed in the CPRS was “…the ugliest ‘money politics’ we Institute. The remainder of the budget for this initiative will have seen for a generation” and questions whether “…those be used to support research and development to reduce CO2 who support handing out more permits to the coal generaemissions of passenger motor vehicles. tors, are actually in favor of bigger budget deficits or lower The Clean Business Australia program aims to increase expenditure on other things by government? the energy efficiency of Australia’s buildings and manufactur-
IN FOCUS | Australian Coal and Climate Change Mitigation 41
ing processes. It includes the Australian Carbon Trust which provides public and private funding to assist business and community groups invest in energy efficiency, the Climate Change Action Fund to help businesses and community organizations identify and adopt energy efficiency opportunities, and other energy efficiency programs targeted at households. The third plank in the government’s climate change mitigation policy is the Renewable Energy Target (RET) legislation that will become law on 1 January 2010. The RET builds upon the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET) scheme that began in 2001. Under the MRET, wholesale purchasers of electricity are legally liable to source 9,500 GWh of renewable energy annually by 2010. The RET increases this to 45,000 GWh annually by 2020 (an estimated 20 percent of Australia’s electricity supply), and extends this target through to 2030. To promote renewable energy, tradeable Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) are created for electricity generated from sources and technologies that include hydro, wind, solar and biomass. There is provision to include emerging technologies such as wave, tidal and geothermal energy within the scheme. To comply with the RET, electricity generators must surrender the required number of RECs each year to the Renewable Energy Regulator. Negotiations between the government and the opposition parties that ensured passage of the law on 20 August 2009 also extended the scheme’s coverage to include existing electricity generation projects that use waste coal-mine gas.
Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme
The cornerstone of Australia’s mitigation strategy is the CPRS. The goal of this scheme is to reduce Australia’s CO2equivalent emissions to 60 percent below their 2000 levels by 2050 through mitigation or the purchase of eligible equivalent carbon compliant credits from overseas. In May 2009 the Government proposed three alternative medium-term targets for reducing CO2-equivalent emissions by 2020, where the choice of the target is dependent on the actions taken by other countries. If there is comprehensive global action by both major developing economies and advanced economies in stabilizing CO2-equivalent concentrations of greenhouse gases at 450 ppm or lower (currently about 380 ppm), the target for Australian emission reductions will be 25 percent relative to the 2000 levels (20). If there is an international agreement, but it only involves commitments to stabilizing CO2-equivalent greenhouse gas concentrations at 510–540 ppm, then the targeted reduction is reduced to 15 percent. The worst case scenario, where there is no international agreement on stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations, the targeted domestic reduction by 2020 becomes 5 percent. Actual CO2-equivalent emission reductions may be much less than those required to meet this target because Australian industries that are obliged to surrender emission permits will be able to purchase compliant carbon credits overseas. Notwithstanding the decision on the emissions target, under the CPRS the price of permits is to be capped for the first five years. It is proposed that the cap be fixed by legislation at $A10 or about $US9 per tonne in the first year of the scheme (2011-12). This is to be followed by another price cap, set by regulation that will determine the caps for the four remaining years. During the first five years of the scheme, an unlimited number of additional permits will be offered for sale at the capped price and, thus, limit the costs of GHG mitigation to polluters. The mandatory obligations under the CPRS are scheduled to begin on 1 July 2011. 42 Harvard Asia Pacific Review | Spring 2010
Table one summarizes the most recent version of the CPRS and compares it to its antecedent, the Garnaut Review. The change in compensation in terms of free permits to EITE and the coal sector represents successful interventions by the fossil fuel lobby to lower their costs of mitigation. The proposed CPRS provides transitional assistance to EITE industries to address concerns that the scheme may adversely affect their international competitiveness. Assistance is in the form of allocations of free emission permits linked to production levels in existing and new firms in EITE industries. In May 2009 the rate of assistance was increased and full emissions trading delayed until 1 July 2012. For the first five years of the scheme, the rates of assistance are set at 94.5 percent and 66.0 percent of baseline emissions for emissions intensive and moderately emissions intensive activities, respectively. Under the provisions of the CPRS there is also assistance to strongly affected industries that do not conduct emissions intensive trade exposed activities. Assistance is delivered to eligible coal-fired electricity generators in the form of about $US6.5 billion worth of free permits allocated over the first ten years of the CPRS to partially off-set anticipated losses. The coal-mining sector also receives adjustment assistance of $US1.1 billion of free permits and $US243 million of direct funding for the promotion and exploration of emission abatement opportunities over the first five years.
Coal and the Mitigation of GHG Emissions
The importance of coal in the economy, and the ability of the coal, mining and energy-intensive industries to lobby government to protect their interests, has had a major impact on climate change policy in Australia. Concerns about the effects of mitigation on these sectors help to explain why Australia failed to ratify the Kyoto Protocol until 3 December 2007, just days before the start of the Protocol’s commitment period. The influence of coal and the emissions-intensive sectors has had two principal effects. First, when John Howard was Prime Minister (1996-2007) it delayed any meaningful emission reduction in Australia’s energy sector. Second, as public opinion over time shifted in favor of mitigation, lobbying by the coal sector has allowed it to secure very large financial compensation should an ETS be introduced into Australia. The Australian experience suggests that other countries with important coal energy sectors, such as China and the United States, will also find it difficult to implement effective emissions mitigation programs. Even if such mitigation programs were to become operational, Australian experience suggests the fossil fuel lobby is likely to secure lower domestic mitigation targets for the carbon-intensive energy sector, and, in particular, substantial compensation in the form of transfers and free permits that would be paid for by other sectors of the economy. R. Quentin Grafton is Professor of Economics at the Crawford School of Economics and Government at the Australian National University (ANU) and Honorary Professor of Economics at the University of Otago. N. Ross Lambie is a doctoral candidate in Public Policy at the Crawford School of Economics and Government at the Australian National University.
India’s Economy and the Financial Crisis Dilip K. Das Introduction
India’s geopolitical significance as a nuclear power is rising. Well before Chandrayaan 1, the first Indian unmanned lunar spacecraft, began orbiting the moon in November 2008 and lowered the Indian tricolor flag on the moon’s surface, India was in the world news for leaving behind its unpromising post-War economic performance and shifting to a new economic growth trajectory over the present decade. While it was widely expected to perform well during the post-War period, the Indian economy generated much consternation by underperforming for decades. However, India’s GDP growth picked up momentum in the 1980s. There was a period after 2000 when its real GDP growth rate came close to double digits. Optimism about its growth potential grew. Hope was expressed in some quarters that India could emulate China’s sustained superlative economic performance and that it could develop into a China-like growth pole in a multi-polar global economy (Rodrik and Subramanian, 2004). There were others who believe that this amounted to stretching optimism beyond the limits of credulity. In their judgment, while there has been a recent acceleration in the Indian economic growth performance, its sustainability is still not out of the shadow of doubt. Many thoughtful analysts regard sustainability of growth momentum as a challenge. The objective of this article is to assess whether this skepticism is rational and well-founded in economic logic.
A Sliver of Improvement
After independence in 1947, thanks to the Fabian socialistic penchant of Nehruvian thinking, India adopted statist economic policy regime and remained mired in deep-seated poverty. However, the decade of 1980s turned out to be significantly better than the previous ones. After 1983, GDP growth statistics began to show some acceleration. The GDP growth rate for 1981-91 improved to 5.6% per annum, while per capita growth to 3.4%. Marked upsurge in the per capita growth was justly regarded as impressive. Growth acceleration was the result of moderate policy liberalization measures taken in the early and mid-1980s in the areas of trade, industry and tax reforms and of increase in public-sector investment. They resulted in measurable factor productivity improvements (Bosworth and Collins, 2003). To decades of underperforming economy and macroeconomic mismanagement was added an external factor, namely the Gulf War and a sharp spike in oil price. The level of foreign exchange reserves depleted to two weeks of imports. A major macroeconomic crisis precipitated in mid-1991. This was time to face the stark macroeconomic imperatives.
Launching of the Liberalization and Reform Program
Policy mandarins launched a much needed and wide-
ranging macroeconomic liberalization, reforms and restructuring program. The rupee was devalued, fiscal imbalances were addressed and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was approached for balance of payments support. A stabilization package was agreed upon with the IMF. Dr. Manmohan Singh, a widely respected trained economist, was the finance minister during the early 1990s and the architect of this IMF-assisted, market-oriented reform program. Stringent bureaucratic controls over the economy began to be relaxed. Policy measures were initiated to liberalize external sectors and deregulate industry. This resulted in giving the development strategy a new direction towards trade and private sector (Mukherji, 2008). Financial deregulation and improvements in supervisory and regulatory standards were initiated. Philosophy of structural reforms was characterized by an unprecedented willingness to allow market forces freedom to operate. The private sector and entrepreneurial spirit began to be unshackled. One of the prime objectives of reforms was promoting competition in the domestic markets, where it was hitherto conspicuously absent. Taxation and financial sector reforms were also launched. Policies conducive to promote privatization and allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) were devised and adopted. Tentative attempts were made to run the large and inefficient public sector on commercial basis so they were made more autonomous and accountable. Even a public sector disinvestment program was wisely begun. The reform and liberalization program of 1991 was orthodox in its design. A comparison of reforms during 1980s and the 1990s was made by Panagariya (2008; pp 16-21). The latter were far more wide-ranging and crucial. Implementation of macroeconomic reforms in India was not unproblematic. According to the reform program, dismantling of a range of stringent controls and restrictions had begun. However, subsequently there was backtracking in many areas of reforms. Unlike China, political commitment to implement the reform program was frail. The general public had little understanding of the reforms. They were neither aware of the imperious need of reforms, nor the fact that they were started after an inordinate delay.
Tardy Implementation of the Liberalization and Reform Program
The bureaucracy saw reforms as a loss of their hold over the society in general and the economy in particular. Bureaucratic foot-dragging was an important factor that retarded reform implementation. The 10-million strong bureaucracy is almost a country within a country and continues to remain one of the principal barriers to reform implementation. Economists both domestic and abroad who analyze Indian economic performance concur regarding this albatross. There was a marked slackening in implementation during 1995-2000, and the impact on the GDP growth rate was unmistakable. IN FOCUS | India’s Economy and the Financial Crisis 43
When the Congress-led coalition government returned cratic coop and is set into a higher growth trajectory. Howto power in 2004, it made comprehensive administration reever, by 2007 not only inflation rate rose to more than 6% forms its priority. Dr. Manmohan Singh, the current Prime but also other indicators signified alarming overheating. A Minister, and a rare breed of technocratic politicians publicly large proportion of Indian firms were operating at their opnoted the critical need for a capable public service that is timal capacity and the annualized rate of credit expansion accountable and efficient. To this end, some initial measures reached 30%. Domestic demand recorded a strong surge were taken. A right-to-information law was passed in 2005 leading to widening current account deficit, which was anand a hiring freeze was slapped on vacant civil services posiother emblematic indicator of overheating. tions. A promise of holding civil servants accountable was The rapid growth during the Tenth Plan (2002-07) period also made. These were peripheral measures to resolve a in India was characterized by resurgence of manufacturing. large and complex socio-economic problem that has been It demonstrated sharp acceleration in growth rate, from 5.5% festering for decades. Its resolution needed to begin with in the Ninth Plan period (1997-02) to 8.6% during the Tenth large-scale retrenchment driven by a high degree of political Plan period. This GDP growth rate was 28% higher than that commitment to clean up the untidy system, a difficult but achieved during an earlier high-growth period, the Eighth doable task. Five Year Plan period (1992-97), the next best period in the Hindsight reveals that reform implementation processes recent history. failed to maintain a reasonable pace and remained sluggish During the five years ending in 2008, average growth and lackadaisical. It was a far cry from China’s pragmatic, rate of manufacturing sector has been estimated to be 9.1%. rapid, sequential and purposeful implementation process Contribution of this sector to India’s growth jumped from (Das, 2006). In India it remained halting, tentative and hesi9.6% during the Ninth Plan to 17.7% during the Tenth Plan tant. As noted above, there was a marked slowdown over the period. 1995-2000 period. After 2004, when the Congress-led coaliThe partial and incomplete reforms and unilateral retion government came to power, implementation of reforms structuring worked through the economic system and concame to a virtual standstill. Keeping the 16-party coalition tributed to the post-2001 growth performance. Their cuof unlikely partners together was a dicey full-time job. There mulative effect released India’s latent economic dynamism. were major disagreements and frequent public quarrels over They improved investment climate and business confidence important policy areas. Consequently political commitment as well as buttressed entrepreneurial spirit and created opto reforms remained weak. timism. The economy began reaping the benefits of expanThere has been flagrant regression in several areas of sion of trade and external capital inflows, both FDI and portimplementation, including reforms on privatization, oil subfolio investment. From the demand side, both investment sidy, taxation reforms and interest and consumption made a large rate policy. Also, there was a plan The 10-million strong bureaucracy is contribution to growth. The 2007 to create 30 Special Economic stock market boom was supported almost a country within a country and by $20 billion investment by forZones (SEZs) like those in China. The federal government could not continues to remain one of the principal eign institutional investors, surging determine how to acquire land for 50% in 2007. Large international barriers to reform implementation. banks lent comparable amounts to these SEZs. After keeping the plan in abeyance for a while, it was large Indian corporations. Corpoabandoned. This is high economic price for democracy (The rate profits increased by 20% (Kripalani, 2008). Domestic Economist, 2008). In May 2009, Congress party surprisingly demand was strong, Indian companies were planning amwon a bigger mandate, 261 out of 543 available parliament bitious domestic and foreign expansion plans and FDI was seats. Lack of initiatives and much-needed policy action was growing. blamed on the vagaries of coalition politics in the past. The Average rate of capital formation during the Tenth Plan newly sworn in government of Dr. Manmohan Singh has lost period was far higher than that during the Ninth Plan period. this alibi. A thumping victory in the general election has It was 17.3% during the Tenth Plan, compared to mere 5.3% handed him an opportunity to accelerate macroeconomic during earlier period. Therefore, its contribution to demand reforms and expedite policy measures that should have been tripled from 19% in the Ninth Plan period to 65% in the taken ages ago, but had to be shelved for political expediTenth Plan. Therefore, acceleration in the post-2001 growth ency. momentum is regarded as investment-led. Gross fixed investment, which is the most important component of investment, grew at the rapid rate of 14.3% per annum during the Tenth Reaching the Higher Growth Trajectory Plan period. Higher investment worked to improve the comAverage annual real GDP growth rate during the Tenth petitiveness of the corporate sector. Both average investment Plan (2002-07) period was 7.8%, the highest for any plan and saving rates during the Tenth Plan period were 31.4% period so far. It was only whiskers away from the Plan target of GDP, which were markedly above those during the Ninth of 8%. When this target was set, many serious analysts had Plan period, when they hovered around 24%. Furthermore, regarded it as unattainable. During the Tenth Plan period, increasing domestic consumption supported growth momen2005 and 2006 were the years of highest GDP growth rates, tum. The external sector, in terms of balance of goods and 9.4% and 9.6%, respectively. This was not far behind China’s services trade, played a minor role. double-digit growth. Historically, Indian economy suffered from exceedingly A minor decline was recorded in 2007, when the GDP high fiscal profligacy. Measured as a percentage of GDP, growth dipped to 8.7%, which was still a respectable perIndia’s fiscal imbalances have been among the worst in the formance. This unprecedented growth performance put the world. A noteworthy achievement of the Tenth Plan period country in a confident disposition and Indian businessmen, was reduction in the fiscal deficit of the federal and state govpolicymakers and economists became inclined to believe ernments. It is regarded as one of the contributing factors that the economy has eventually broken free of its bureau44 Harvard Asia Pacific Review | Spring 2010
to the rapid growth of this period. It declined from an averan adverse blow to the external balance of the economy. In age of 9.0% of GDP in the Ninth Plan period to 6.7% in the particular, steady rise in oil prices to $147 a barrel by July Tenth Plan. This reduction in fiscal deficit was of significant 2008, sent the oil import bill flying. India imports 75% of its magnitude and improved the loadable funds situation in the oil to meet its domestic demand. The oil import bill for 2008 economy. More resources became available for productive was going to double in value. The extra burden was about investment by the private sector. Another indicator of domes4% of the GDP. Petroleum products are heavily subsidized tic economic balance is inflation, which also dipped. GDP in India, up to 60% for such fuels as diesel. Political expedeflator increased by 4.5 during the Tenth Plan period comdiency forbade passing the oil price hike to the consumers. pared to 5 during the previous period (Acharya, 2008). Cost of oil subsidy went on rising. During the last three years of the Tenth Five Year Plan Fuel subsidy was only one of the heavy additional bur(2002-2007) period, average GDP growth rate topped 9%, dens for 2008. A sizable fertilizer subsidy, populist measure which made India one of the fastest growing economies in of writing-off agricultural loans and a hefty salary increase, the world. If sustained, this take-off could ameliorate povrecommended by the Sixth Pay Commission, for a massive erty and lift living standards. According to the estimates of army of bureaucrats will increase the budget deficit to 10% trend growth made by IMF, this rapid of the GDP. The mere increase in clip growth could double real per the fertilizer subsidy was estimated Hindsight reveals that reform capita income every 13 years. That at $25 billion. Together these major implementation processes failed subsidies are likely to add up to $100 the economy moved up to a higher growth trajectory was not a myth, but to maintain a reasonable pace and billion in 2008. This addition to the a structural transformation. Howevnational expenditure bill was large by er, major challenges to medium-term remained sluggish and lackadaisical. any measure. It amounts to 10% of growth performance persist. In particthe GDP. This additional financial burular, 2008 turned out to be a year of macroeconomic quanden was badly timed because at present the economy needs daries and anti-climactic (Section 6). If India can sustain this $500 billion for upgrading physical infrastructure, education economic performance, it may well be another China in the and health-care facilities during the Eleventh Five Year Plan medium-term. (2007-2012). Government debt will rise to approximately 10% of GDP for 2008 from 6% in 2007. Spike in the prices of other commodities, like minerals, Broad Based Deterioration: Anno Horribilis? food and edible oil, also had a severe detrimental impact on 2008 not only saw pessimism regarding continuation of the economy. World prices of wheat, rice, corn and other 9% GDP growth but also a broad-based deterioration in the commodities have risen significantly. Wheat and rice exports economy. Expectation of the Indian economy developing from India were almost stopped because of inordinately high into a high-trajectory growth economy and plausible future price rise of these staple food items in the domestic markets. catch-up with the Chinese economy suffered a debilitating The commodity price volatility resulted in a terms-of-trade blow. There were unambiguous signs of 2008 turning into shock. Although some of the commodity prices adjusted an anno horribilis. According to the Central Statistical Orgadownward towards the end of 2008, their annual cost has nization (CSO), GDP grew by 7.9% during April-June 2008, been high for the economy. and 7.6% during the July-September quarter. In November That economic performance fell from its high perch has 2008, forecasts made by both J.P. Morgan and the Prime been widely noted. A June 2008 Goldman Sachs study of Minister’s Economic Advisory Council and others put GDP the Indian economy grimly pointed out that India’s economic growth rate for 2008 at 7%. Projections for 2009 were also of performance reached the bottom of the four BRIC economies an analogous performance. There has been an apprehension if Growth Environment Scores (GES) are taken as an indicaregarding India’s hard-earned investment-grade rating by the tor. In 7 of the 13 GES components, India scored below the international credit rating agencies. It is likely to be lost in developing country average. The essential rationale behind the short-term. this fall from grace according to Goldman Sachs is governAn array of domestic and external growth retarding facment inertia and macroeconomic mismanagement. tors materialized in 2008. After a stellar performance in the past, share prices steadily declined over 2008. Sensex, the stock market index, fell by more than 50%. The global credit crunch that resulted from the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the United States encouraged quick withdrawal of foreign portfolio investment. The sub-prime crisis froze foreign funds and institutional investors lost interest in India. Export began to decline by the month. Due to high fiscal deficits, the government cannot offer a large stimulus package to the economy. Although the economy was not known for dramatic inflationary rates, in 2008 inflation began to surge out of control. It jumped from 5% to 12% in the first five months of 2008, mainly due to rising fuel and food prices. This was the sharpest rise in inflation over the past sixty years. The central bank (the Reserve Bank of India) hiked its benchmark “repo” rate several times. After a steady improvement in the past, industrial production rate fell sharply. Output in infrastructure industries like steel, cement and electricity grew at a dismal rate. Spike in the commodity prices in the world markets dealt
Continuing Challenges and Plausible Policy Responses
A question mark over the sustainability of 9% GDP growth hangs because first, the economic performance slipped discernibly during 2008 and second, the economy has continued to suffer from several well-known lacuna, which have thus far not been addressed. Without addressing these limitations, it will not be feasible for India to be able to sustain the higher growth trajectory it recently succeeded in achieving. The most critical impediments that need high priority attention of the policymakers are enumerated below: First, the overriding shortcoming is infrastructure-related weaknesses, particularly in energy and transport sectors. This has been a critical roadblock to rapid clip GDP growth in the past. Wholesome progress on this front is indispensable for sustaining a higher growth trajectory. While infrastructure investment has averaged 4.5% of the GDP in recent years, the requirement is 9% (or $500 billion) of the GDP by 2012. IN FOCUS | India’s Economy and the Financial Crisis 45
The Planning Commission of the Government of India has ment in elementary and secondary education is grossly inaddetermined this level of investment need. It implies that beequate, leading to serious quality problems. Organizational tween 2008 and 2012, infrastructure investment needs to rise structure is problem-ridden and infrastructure exceedingly at the rate of 1% of GDP per annum. Domestic resources to insufficient, particularly in rural areas. Likewise, the qualfinance this increase do not exist. If this long-standing weakity of university education is exceedingly questionable and ness of the economy is to be squarely addressed, possibilities needs to be significantly improved. Academic standards in of attracting external capital need to be explored (Kochhar, Indian universities are low and inferior to international stan2008). dards. Second, while reforms have not completely petered out, Seventh, archaic and rigid labor laws are another policy partial and halting implementation along with occasional roll area that has awaited reforms for decades. The labyrinthine back continues to be major problems. They can potentially Indian labor laws belong to another era. There are 47 federal drag the economy down. India’s policymakers need to take a laws and 157 state regulations that affect the present labor page from China’s reform implementation performance and markets. They frequently conflict and overlap. These labor follow it earnestly if they are serious about sustaining the high laws do more harm than good to the labor force. They have growth trajectory. They have little choice in this area. The successfully prevented the manufacturing sector in India from current status of implementation is unquestionably vastly debecoming an engine of mass employment and establishing ficient and will cause GDP growth to retard in the mediumChina-like state-of-the-art factories producing globally comterm. petitive products. It is well known that to get around labor Third, a large bureaucracy that has an abysmal record laws, Indian manufacturers prefer to set up several small to serving the public and a huge public sector have acted as plants in place of a large one that enjoys economies of scale decisive barriers to rapid growth. They have contributed to a and investment. According to a World Bank estimate, with lower-than-necessary speed limit to GDP growth. Comprethe help of normal modern labor laws, the economy could hensive administrative reforms easily create 2.8 million good were promised by successive India’s policymakers need to take a page from quality formal sector jobs, governments but never implewhich is a staggering 45% of China’s reform implementation performance existing employment in the mented. If not retrenched and rectified, both bureaumanufacturing secand follow it earnestly if they are serious about organized cracy and the public sector tor (Ahmed and Devarajan, sustaining the high growth trajectory. will continue to be significant 2007). Multiplicity and comdrags on the economy. Sriniplexity of labor laws have sucvasan (2008) regards the inefficient bureaucracy, responsible ceeded in obstructing the growth of the manufacturing sector. for the present governance failure, as an “extremely worryModernization of labor regulations at the state level, within a ing” economic policy issue. federal enabling framework, can certainly create opportuniFourth, chronic and large-magnitude fiscal deficits, deties to accelerate growth in the manufacturing sector, particuspite some legislative endeavors, have not been tamed. The larly in labor-intensive industries like textiles and apparel. fiscal malaise has had a large economic cost. India is long These policy areas need to be addressed forthwith. In reputed to be one of the worst economic offenders in the addition, policy measures need to be directed towards inworld when it comes to budget deficit. No economy can logcreasing productivity in the agriculture sector and deal with ically visualize becoming a high performer with such alarmenvironmental problems. As well, it would be far-sighted for ing levels of fiscal deficit. Government borrowing crowds India to strengthen its trade and investment ties with South out productive private-sector investment. It also creates upand East Asian neighbors, make a regional niche and burward pressure on interest rates and adds to government debt, nish its regional economic status. Conceptually it is unsound which is exceedingly high in India. Besides, high governnot to explore the possibilities of mutual economic gains and ment debt frequently becomes a source of macroeconomic partnership with the neighboring and regional economies. vulnerability. Fifth, while India’s financial institutions and regulatory Impact of Global Financial Crisis structure have evolved gradually over time, the financial secAs the economy has made some concerted endeavors to tor is still small and underdeveloped. There is an imperative globalize both economically and financially over the precedneed for broad financial sector reforms. The role of the finaning ten years, it is reasonable to expect the on-going global cial system is crucial in determining future growth trajectory. financial and economic crisis to adversely affect the GDP An increasingly globalizing economy will definitely need growth rate of the Indian economy. With that employment deeper, more efficient and better regulated financial markets. rate and poverty alleviation efforts would suffer. The initial One of the principal bottlenecks in the financial sector is reaction of the global financial crisis in India was the beGovernment ownership of 70% of the banking system. It has lief that China and India have decoupled and the crisis is for stymied the development of corporate debt and derivatives the advanced industrial economies. This complacency was markets, which has become a veritable barrier to growth. No supported by the fact that the GDP growth rate in mid-2008 doubt the Indian economy succeeded in sidestepping the hovered above 7 percent. Asian crisis (1997-98) and the recent sub-prime crisis, but a However, complacency proved to be illusory after Seplot need to be done to “secure the stability and durability of tember 2008, when Lehman Brothers collapsed. This caused the financial system” (Prasad and Rajan, 2008; p. 24). severe financial tremors. Inter-bank accommodations and all Sixth, the present education system is weak and inefficategories of private credit dried up, which brought day-tocient and consequently educational attainments of the labor day economic activity to a stop. The liquidity crunch was felt force are low. This sector has suffered historic under-investby the Indian economy immediately because foreign instiment. India has a long way to go in achieving the educational tutional investors began to withdraw. Also, trade credit and standards of labor forces in the East Asian economies. Investbank loans dried up. The last quarter growth rate in 2008 46 Harvard Asia Pacific Review | Spring 2010
weakened to mere 5.3 percent. Trade and industrial producmonetary and credit policies. The anti-inflationary strategy of tion had begun decelerating since early 2008. After a torthe past was abandoned. Second, the government instituted rid rise, the Indian stock markets began to three fiscal stimulus packages, amounting slump in January 2008. The rate of inflato a liquidity injection of approximately 7 If not retrenched and tion doubled during the first half of 2008. percent of GDP. The fiscal cost of stimuli That being said, the global financial rectified, both bureaucracy was high, the fiscal deficits doubled to 11 crisis only had a limited negative impact and the public sector will percent of the GDP in 2009. Without the so far. Apprehension of even a short-term fiscal stimuli the slow down of the Indian continue to be significant economy in the latter half of 2008 would meltdown is entirely extraneous. There are several reasons for this assertion. First, have been precipitous. Third, in middrags on the economy. if openness is measures as trade (export + 2009, the global economy was showing import) to GDP ratio, it was 34.7 percent inchoate signs of recovery by the end of in 2008. The Indian economy is much less open than the the year. If this does comes to pass, Indian economy should East Asian ones and China. Second, despite some progress be in a good position to stage a come back. There are reasons in liberalization, Indian financial markets and banking secto be cautiously optimistic about the short-term prospects of tor continue to be fairly insulated from the global financial recovery from the impairment caused by the global financial markets and have not been directly affected by the sub-prime crisis. mortgage crisis in the UK and US. Indian banks were not exposed to the toxic assets. Third, for the most part, domestic Summary and Conclusions consumption and investment still drive India’s GDP growth. After decades of apathetic economic performance, the External demand measured by merchandise exports, accounts Indian economy picked up growth momentum in the 1980s. for merely 15 percent of the GDP. Fourth, the ratio of shortBelated launching of macroeconomic reforms, liberalization term external debt to GDP is not high by any standard. Fifth, and restructuring in 1991 did a lot of good to the economy. India’s external balances are healthy and it has accumulated There was further improvement in GDP growth rate after substantial foreign exchange reserves ($300 billion). Lastly, 2000. Hope was expressed in some quarters that India could the capital account is still not completely convertible. These emulate China’s sustained superlative economic performance factors have cushioned the Indian economy from the impact and develop into a China-like growth pole in a multi-polar of global financial crisis. While the GDP growth rate slowed global economy. However, not all analysts concurred and down to 6.7 percent in 2008, the global financial crisis has found this assertion overly optimistic. Sustainability of high not had a devastating effect on the Indian economy. Durgrowth momentum is regarded as a serious challenge by the ing the first quarter of 2009, GDP increased by 5.8 percent, latter group of analysts. Unlike in China, implementation of which is not unimpressive for a period of global recession. economic reforms in India was tardy, slow and even stopped Several timely policy measures were of help. For inin some periods. stance, to counter slowing demand and the credit crunch, After 2000, a period of broad stellar economic expanthe central bank adopted a lax monetary stance, reversing sion followed. To be sure, economic performance during the Tenth Five Year Plan (2002-07) was noteworthy. Average annual real GDP growth rate during the Tenth Plan period was 7.8%, the highest for any plan period so far. A minor decline was recorded in 2007, when the GDP growth dipped to 8.7%, which was still a respectable performance. During the last three years of the Tenth Five Year Plan (2002-2007) period, average GDP growth rate topped 9%, which made India one of the fastest growing economies in the world. However, myriad domestic and global economic factors coalesced to drive GDP growth down in 2008. This was a year of broad economic deterioration of serious order. Official and other projections for 2009 are also tepid. This article puts forth several reasons why questioning the sustainability of 9% GDP growth is absolutely rational. The Indian economy has continued to suffer from several well-known deficiencies, which have thus far not been convincingly addressed. Given the present politico-economic milieu, they are not likely to be addressed in the short-term. Without addressing these limitations, it will not be feasible for India to sustain the higher growth trajectory it recently succeeded in achieving. The on-going global financial crisis affected the Indian economy, but without mauling it. Its impact was intensified after the Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy. Timely policy measures kept any possible economic disaster at bay. There are reasonable prospects for a quick economic recovery from the global financial crisis. Dilip K. Das is professor of international economics at the School of Business, Conestoga College, Ontario, Canada. IN FOCUS | India’s Economy and the Financial Crisis 47
From Circumstantial Bias to Hindutva: Communal Riots and the Political Journey of Hindu Nationalism in Gujarat Anurag Pandey In recent years, Gujarat politics have witnessed the rise due to the Muslim League’s politics based on religion and and growth of identity politics in the name of religion. The partition of India. The circumstantial bias among the Hindus rise and spread of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), Rashtriya can provide fertile grounds for the communal political elites4 Sayamsevak Sangh, Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad etc. to spread the ideology of communalism among the masses in the mainstream of Gujarat politics is part of this tendency. by projecting the external threats of others and by glorifying As a result, incidents of violence against minorities (more their past. notably against Muslims) have become more prominent. These organizations are the main propagators of Hindu naCommunalism tionalism. The concept of their nationalism is based on the In the second stage, the circumstantial bias is transformed ideology of Hindutva. Hindutva is distinct from the religion into communalism. However, this only occurs if social and popularly known as Hinduism. Hindutva is the term which political situations favor the communal organizations.2 The was coined by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar which means to communal political party manipulates the religious symbols, ‘unite and militarize’ Hindus against alien religions, like Iscreates the identity, and projects the threat of others. The lam and Christianity. These organizations, together known as circumstantial bias among the masses the Sangh Parivar, consider Hindus to them to convince the masses of With the rise of these Hindu helps be ‘primary citizens’ of India and want their own religious groups. For exto make those following ‘alien’ reliample, BJP with its sister organizations nationalist groups, Gujarat gions secondary citizens. They want to turned this circumstantial politics has become saturated successfully convert India into a country of the Hinbias into communalism during late 80s dus, for the Hindus and by the Hindus. with anti-secular perspectives. and 90s. The national (like Shah Bano Denying the secular-democratic and movement, different communal riots multi-cultural traditions of the country, after independence, Baburi Mosque they call themselves the true nationalists. With the rise of demolition, price rise, corruption, unemployment, etc) and these Hindu nationalist groups, Gujarat politics has become International (like Indo-Pak wars, terrorism etc) played an saturated with anti-secular perspectives. important role in the development of communal ideology. There are three stages in the growth of Hindu nationalThe overprojection of increasing demands of Muslims,3 Conism. The first stage may be referred to as an era of circumgress policies, and the use of religion by Muslim political stantial bias of Hindus against Muslims. The second one is elites further provided the Hindu nationalists to convince the era of communalism and the third is the era of Hindutva. the ‘Hindu’ masses that they are blocked in their own country The present article is an attempt to locate these three stages by aggressive minorities and the ideology of communalism and will analyze the reasons of the growth of Hindu nationalwitnessed its growth. A special point needs to be mentioned ism in Gujarat. Before going further, it is necessary to discuss here. Hindu nationalists turned the circumstantial bias into what circumstantial bias, communalism and Hindutva stand communalism when the middle class started supporting their for. ideology and lower classes are mobilized. The middle class
The Circumstantial Bias
Different communal violence on the eve of independence, partition holocaust, problem of refugees, and the killings of Hindus by Muslims in the newly createdstate of Pakistan led Hindus to consider Muslims as fanatics and murderers who should not be allowed to stay in India when a separate state (Pakistan) was created in 1947. A new generation certainly has emerged, but this thinking about Muslims has persisted from one generation to the next. In short, the British policies, Hindu-Muslim nationalism, and Congress’s failure to check communalism and finally partition of India in 19471 created a general tendency among Hindus (more particularly among upper castes) to consider Muslims as antinational, separatists, and traitors (this does not mean to say that all Hindus think like that, but a bulk of population of Hindus have a tendency to doubt Muslims loyalty as Indian). Such a mentality about Hindus can be defined as circumstantial bias among Hindus against Muslims,3 which was created 48 Harvard Asia Pacific Review | Spring 2010
supports such policies if it faces the economic competition from different religious groups or feels or faces identity crisis. For lower classes, it is easy to mobilize them on the basis of their primordial feelings given their educational and economic backwardness. This happens in a society where economic development is based on a capitalist framework. Capitalist economic development creates many complex situations. On a psychological plane, it brings awareness among the masses for not only education creates a larger middle class, but the political process gets deeper and voting power plays its role. Thus the Hindu nationalist organizations begin to mobilize its people on the basis of their primordial feelings. In a slowly developing economy and a ballot box oriented policy, polarization in the name of religion enhances bargaining power and enables the community concerned to make a claim for a greater share of the scare national resources.5 In a capitalist society, the economic imbalances, insecurity among educated; semi-educated unemployed youths,
and frustration among lower class people is witnessed, and it is this frustration, backwardness and feeling of insecurity that can be used for communal mobilization. This stage may also cause the incidents of communal violence, but somewhat different from the first stage. In this stage the communal political elites and their organizations get a level of legitimacy among the masses, and they can create a situation (like Baburi mosque issue) where the state can witness small or large scale of violence, this may be done for electoral gain or to make themselves strong in the state.
It is the final destiny point of Hindu nationalist organizations, since a large part of the population become anti-minor-
ities and the feeling of â€œwe-nessâ€? become stronger. The bulk of the population starts considering themselves as superior and minorities as secondary citizen. The powerful presence of communal political parties and the systematic social functions of their organizations make the bulk of the population anti minority, thus the spread of communal ideology and anti minorities bias, causes the spread of ideology of Hindutva among the masses. This stage makes the communal organizations strong in the state and the riots are generally statesponsored. Although violence can occur anytime, even on a small issue, it is not going to spread. While during the era of communalism, riots occur to capture the state power, during the era of Hindutva, it was planned to maintain the power. Thus the communal riots in this stage become pre-planned
IN FOCUS | From Circumstantial Bias to Hindutva 49
politically motivated state sponsored communal violence. ‘Hindu’ masses of Gujarat that they were blockaded in their The Gujarat riot of 2002 is the best example of this trend. own country by the aggressive minorities. Gujarat is the only state of India that has provided a Furthermore, the dominant caste groups (mainly middle fertile ground for the growth of Hindu nationalist organizaclass) identified themselves with BJP to draw political, social tion. Gujarat, a western state of India, and economic mileage, since they What more, the downfall of is known as an open multi-ethnic sofailed to make dent in Congress ciety, where tolerance and pragmatism Congress and some organizations party,10 thus they became loyal to constituted the core of civic culture BJP. Thus, the middle class began influenced by the Congress for long. But today, Gujarat is known to support the ideology of commuas a communal state. What more, the party gave way to the growth of nalism because of an identity crisis downfall of Congress and some organiand economic insecurity among nationalist organizations. zations influenced by the Congress parthe increasing prosperity of Musty gave way to the growth of nationalist lims like Bohras, Memons, and the organizations. As a result, Gujarat has recently witnessed lower class people are mobilized by diverting their attention frequent and well-organized communal violence. from the real and genuine issues, thus the ‘Hindus’ have been After independence, Gujarat also saw the unbroken mobilized to protect their religion from traitors. rule of Congress, like some other states of India. Congress is regarded as no-communal political party in India. Yet, durEra of Hindutva: 1998-present ing its regime, Gujarat has witnessed some riots between This period represents the final stage of their growth in Hindus and Muslims.6 The Hindu nationalist organizations Gujarat. The idea of Hinduness and anti-minority feelings bedid not plan or provoke the riots, but once the riots were came strong among Gujarati Hindus. The continuous victostarted they became explosive. Examples can be see in the ries of BJP in different assembly elections illustrated this fact. 1969, 1982, and 1986 riots in Gujarat. The Ahmedabad riot In Gujarat, any riot, if started, will be to maintain the power. of September 18, 1969 was started due to some Sadhus and Therefore, the nature of riots has also changed. It has now Muslims clashed near Jagannath temple. The following day, become well-planned politically motivated state sponsored news spread that some Muslims had attacked the temple and communal riots. The Gujarat riot of 2002 is an example of full-fledged riots started. Ahmedabad witnessed the arrival this trend. It was pre-planned11 and was politically motivated of the RSS chief M S Golwalkar and the Hindu nationalist to maintain the power by winning the next Assembly election established Hindu Dharma Rakhsha Samiti (Committee to as BJP was loosing its ground in Gujarat. Protect Hindu Religion). The slogan of Muslims as invaders In this riot, one dominant group attacked Muslims. The was repeatedly used by Hindu nationalists that further added Muslims were physically assaulted, their women were raped fuel to the fire. The riots that occurred in September 1969 left and children were killed. There was no participation or equal approximately 1500 people dead.7 The 1982 riot in Baroda and successful retaliation by Muslims. In this sense, the Guoccurred when Dushara (a Hindu festival) and Muhharam (a jarat riots of 2002 differs from the previous communal riots in Muslim festival) coincided. The liquor traders from both the Gujarat, in which, most of the time, Hindus and Muslims parcommunities clashed with each other. The Hindu nationalists ticipated actively. The Hindu nationalist organizations have used the opportunity to criticize the Muslim fundamentalism, also developed a control over riots as until it suits their purtransfer of Hindu police commissioner due to a pressure from pose, riots will not be started and provoked, and even if the Muslims and opening of Islamic Study Centre in Baroda. The riot starts, it will not spread and will be controlled. Example city witnessed some 19 riots between Hindus and Muslims can be cited of March 2003 riot. This riot was controlled sucin a period of 10 months. The 1986 riot in Ahmedabd broke cessfully and did not spread like the previous riot of 2002. out due to stone throwing by Muslims at the annual lord Jagannath Yatra (Lord Jagannath Procession). Once again, the Conclusion Hindu nationalists exploited the situation.8 The circumstantial bias and the social, political environWhat is the common thread between these riots? None ment of 70s, 80s and 90s provided Hindu nationalist organiof them were started by Hindu nationalist organizations, zations the most favorable condition to spread their ideology but they ultimately used the riots and inflamed the already of Hindutva in Gujarat. All these processes are responsible tense situation to spread the idea of communalism among for the rise of Hindu nationalism in Gujarat that has fostered the masses. These riots were started due to circumstantial hate, lack of dialogue, trust, and respect among the different bias among Hindus and Muslims, and not because of comreligious communities. At a broader level, this was manimunalism. fested in the form of well-organized communal violence. In a final analysis, what is needed is a strong secular force that Era of Communalism: 1986-1998 can reflect the plural and democratic culture of Gujarat. UnThe 1986-1998 periods witnessed the collapse of Confortunately, this appears to be a quite distant dream today. gress and the rise of B.J.P. The downfall of Congress and its KHAM strategy,9 decline of different organizations influenced Acknowledgements by Congress (such as business and cultural associations), the I express my sincere thanks to Prof. Pradi Kumar Datta problem of unemployment due to the downfall of a number for his valuable comments, constructive criticisms and preof textile mills in Ahmedabad and the collapse of ‘Mazoor cious suggestions. I am also thankful to Mr. Ram Bichar PanMahajan’ (also influenced by Congress), a major union of dey and Ms. Preety Chauhan for their assistance in editing textile workers lost its relevancy and capacity to influence the the paper. working class in Gujarat. Thus, the political instability and the economic scarcity during late 80s and early 90s gave BJP Anurag Pandey is an assistant professor in the department of political a chance to convert circumstantial bias into communalism, science at Satyawati College. and also helped the BJP establish strategies to convince the 50 Harvard Asia Pacific Review | Spring 2010
Welcome to the Asia-related centers at Harvard The AsiA -relATed cenTers AT hArvArd are a resource for all members of the Harvard community who are interested in the region, however deep or casual that interest may be. The centers are particularly eager to develop relationships with undergraduates and to maintain these relationships during their four years in the College and beyond. The Asia-related centers offer, among other things, grants for summer research and language study in Asia, internship opportunities and access to faculty and advising. Please visit the individual center websites for more information. 52 Harvard Asia Pacific Review | Spring 2010
AsiA cenTer www.fas.harvard.edu/~asiactr
FAirbAnk cenTer For chinese sTudies www.fas.harvard.edu/~fairbank
hArvArd chinA Fund www.fas.harvard.edu/~hcf
koreA insTiTuTe www.fas.harvard.edu/~korea
reischAuer insTiTuTe oF JApAnese sTudies www.fas.harvard.edu/~rijs
souTh AsiA iniTiATive www.fas.harvard.edu/~ sainit
Nationalism in China and other Asia countries