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«Comprehensive Security: Challenge For Pacific Asia♠ James C. Hsiung New York University Abstract This study identifies the origin, components, and ...»

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(1933–1945). Although the Nazis killed ethnic Jews in Germany, Pol Pot killed his own kin is fellow Cambodians. The dire magnitude of the Cambodian genocidal crimes remains unparalleled in peacetime anywhere in the world. A greater tragedy is that perhaps because these heinous crimes against humanity were committed in Asia, they have never received the same amount of worldwide attention as did the ethnic cleansings in Bosnia and Kosovo, not to mention the Holocaust in Nazi Germany.

Like the World War II crimes and atrocities against humanity committed by the Japanese army in Asia,62 these heinous crimes in Pol Pot Cambodia have received far less condemnation in the West.

In developing countries, poverty is a basic source of human insecurity. 63 Fortunately, poverty is not a widespread problem in the Pacific Asian region. The region nevertheless has a few problems of its own, notably income inequality, aging, racial conflicts, cross-boundary drug trafficking, and the plight of women rights, which we will discuss separately below.

Income inequities. Although no in-depth comparative studies of income inequality across the Pacific Asia is known to me, the problem of income inequity seems to me more pronounced in the wealthier countries. For example, in Singapore, according to a government survey released in May 2000, monthly household income for the bottom 10 percent of the population fell to S$133 (U.S.$76.87) in 1999 from S$258 (U.S.$149.13) the preceding year. At the same time, the richest 20 percent of households made 18 times what was earned by the poorest 20 percent of households p from 15 times in 1998.64 Hong Kong is not much better. Although little or no information is readily available about the six years since the territory return to Chinese sovereignty in 1997, a period marred first by the Asian financial crisis and, more recently, by the SARS attack, available data for the colonial period showed a gloomy picture almost as bad as that of Singapore. During 1976–1991, the top 10 percent of the population in Hong Kong earned eight times as much as the bottom 10 percent. The gap was widening instead of narrowing. Over the eleven-year period of 1986–1996, the top 20 percent of wage earners sported a hefty 60 percent increase in income. The bottom 20 percent of all wage earners, however, had only a 20 percent Cf. Sheldon Harris, Factories of Death: Japanese Bilogical Warfare, 1932-45, And the American Cover-up (New York and London: Routledge, 1994); Toshiyuki Tanaka and John W. Tower, Hidden Horrors: Japanese War Crimes in World War II (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996); Iris Chang, The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II (New York: Basic Books, 1997).

See, for example, United Nations Development Program Report for 1998.

Hsiung, Twenty First Century World Order, p. 101.

pay rise.65 Neoclassical economic historians argue that income inequality often increases in the early stages of industrialization but that structural changes resulting from the transition will eventually lead to a more equitable distribution of income. The question is how long the transition is going to be before the assumed self-correcting change will balance out the gross inequities. During the indefinite transition, the continuing, and often widening, income gulfs pose a dire problem for human security.

The aging problem. Aging is a universal problem in Pacific Asia. In China, for example, a People University study shows that by the mid-twenty-first century, one-fifth of the Chinese population will be at least 60 years old, while 80 million (seven times the number in the year 2000) Chinese will be octogenarians (Qiaobao [The China Press, New York], 20 October 2000, p. 5). The dubious honor of having the most serious aging problem falls on Japan, however. Aggregate data show that Japan is aging faster than any other nation in the world. With 17 percent of the Japanese population aged 65 or over, including 7 percent in the 75 or above group, it has the highest percentage of the elderly in its population. (By comparison, 10 percent of China 1.2 billion people are over the age of 60.) Before 2010, one in every five Japanese will be a senior citizen. In 2050, the number will increase to one in three.66 According to a New York Times report (23 July 2003), by the mid-twenty-first-century, Japan will have 30 percent fewer people and one million 100-year-olds. By then, 800,000 more people will die each year than are born. By century end, the United Nations estimates, the present population of 120 million will be cut in half. This graying phenomenon creates not only a caring problem for the elderly but also an increasing burden for the country old-age welfare programs. It also raises a serious labor shortage that Japan has to grapple with, forcing the country to confront the once-taboo option of importing labor from abroad. Despite Japan xenophobic immigration policy, more and more business executives are calling on the government to open the country to foreign workers. In a shocking report released in 2000, the United Nations projected that Japan would need to import 609,000 immigrants a year to maintain its 1995 working-age population level of 87.2 million through 2050. If Japan follows this advice, the report says, 30 percent of the country population would be immigrants or their descendents by the Samuel Lui, Income Inequality and Economic Development (Hong Kong: City University Press, 1997), p. 60, table 35.

Japan Insight 2000, opulation Aging and Longevity. Today Japanese Men and Women Have the Longest Life Expectancy in the World,” Data P-1. From: http://www/jinjapan.org/insight/html.

mid-twenty-first-century. 67 Racial Conflicts. As a source of human insecurity, racial conflicts have a long history in Southeast Asia, an area of a multiracial community, where the major division in many countries is between the Malays and the Chinese. Most ex-colonial countries in the area bear a continuing grudge against their colonial heritage for the introduction of Chinese into the Malay world. In the nineteenth century, Chinese were imported by colonial rulers for coolie labor in their Malay-populated colonies. In a strange twist of history, descendents of these earlier Chinese coolies now dominate the economy in many of the ex-colonial Southeast Asian countries.68 Bi-communal conflicts rocked the first years of postcolonial Singapore. The underlying animosity between the Chinese and the Malays was a cause for Singapore short-lived federation with Malaya to form the new Malaysia during 1963–1965. 69 In the neighboring Malaysia, riots and clashes between the Malay majority and the Chinese minority during 1969–1971 even triggered a brief period of martial law. 70 The jitters created by these conflicts have intimidated the Singaporean Chinese ever since, although Singaporean Chinese make up 76.4 percent of the local population to the Malays’ 14.9 percent. The timid Chinese in Singapore are keenly aware that they are besieged by a sea of Malays in neighboring countries, from Malaysia and Indonesia to the Philippines.

The most gruesome of recurrent racial attacks on the Chinese minority was in Indonesia. An example was the riots of May 13–15, 1998, which broke out following a shoot-out by security forces that killed four students during an antigovernment demonstration at Trsakti University in Jakarta. The horrifying atrocities committed by the rioters against the ethnic Chinese were not fully known until weeks later after the Joint Fact-Finding Team (TGPF) concluded its investigation. The TGPF report showed a casualty list for the ethnic Chinese that included many among the 1,198 persons murdered (including 27 shot) and 31 missing; 40 shopping centers burned;

Masatishi Kanabayashi, mmigration Attitudes Shift: Economic Realities May Force the Door Open,” Asian Wall Street Journal Weekly, May 29-June 4, 2000, p. 10. Taking the 609,000 annual figure, and multiplying it by 50 years (2000-2050), I arrived at a total number of 30.5 million immigrants only. This is way below the 87.2 million working-age level in 1995 that Kanabayshi gave, citing the U.N. source. But, to be faithful to the original, I have kept his numbers. Unknown

Michael Antolik, ASEAN and the Diplomacy of Accommodation (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 1990), Deleted:

pp. 11-12.

Lee Kuan Yew, The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998).

Antolik, ASEAN, p. 29.

4,083 shops burned; 1,026 houses gutted; and 168 girls and women raped.71 Mounting evidence suggests that the riots, originally believed to be spontaneous outbursts, were masterminded to deliberately target the Chinese, with complicity by elements of the Indonesian security forces. Reports alleged that ethnic Chinese women raped in the riots were victims of organized sexual attacks. Similarly, the killing and sacking of the Chinese and their properties were the result of racially motivated assaults. The Chinese, who made up a bare 4 percent of the Indonesian ot repaying the community,” despite their wealth.72 population, were blamed for If their numerical minority combined with their success in the local economy was indeed the ultimate source of grief for the ethnic Chinese in Indonesia, the same symbiosis is repeated elsewhere, in Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and so on.

However, in Indonesia, the trouble for the Chinese minority was further complicated by the dubious role of the military, which was implicated in the 1998 riots, and, more specifically, in the way the riots turned on their allegedly targeted victims in Jakarta, as later in East Timor and Aceh. 73 Admittedly, Indonesia is a country simultaneously plagued by sectarian violence, separatist movements, and political disarray complicated by a too-autonomous military, so the racial problem confronting the Chinese there may be peculiarly acute. Only in Malaysia, however, among all Malay-dominated countries in the region, was the Chinese minority ever able to ower sharing” with the local ethnic majority.74 Barring secure an agreement on future similar developments elsewhere, racial conflicts similar to those that erupted in Indonesia in 1998 can be expected to recur, though not necessarily to the same degree of gruesome violence and destruction. I wish to point out, nonetheless, that any racial conflict, even if the ethnic Chinese or any other minority should be the alleged target victim, will claim a gratuitous additional toll on other groups, including members of the ethnic majority that happen to be in harm way. In this sense, racial conflicts as such are a real, though occasional, harrying challenge to human security in Pacific Asian countries with large io-communal” makeups in their populations.

Drug Trafficking. Illicit drug trafficking is another source of human insecurity haunting the Asian region. The production and consumption of narcotic substances

Final report of TGPF, sourced from:


CNN.com, at website: http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/asiapcf/9806/28/indenesia/apes/.

A commentary on the dubious role played by the Indonesian army in these instances was found in akarta Must Strike a Delicate Military Balance,” by Barry Wain, in the Asian Wall Street Journal Weekly, June 26-July 2, 2000, p. 17.

Antolik, ASEAN, p. 30.

have a long history in East Asia, but several disturbing new developments have forced narcotics trafficking onto the regional security agenda for the first time.75 First, once primarily a producer of heroin shipped to other parts of the world, East Asia has itself become a major heroin consumer and an emerging market for a new class of designer drugs such as ce” and cstasy.” Drug dependency in countries with no record of drug addiction in recent decades (e.g., China and Vietnam) is rising at an alarming rate. Secondly, narcotics trafficking is a new multibillion-dollar business in East Asia;

it was probably the only enterprise not affected by the recent economic crisis gripping the region. Drug money is distorting the region economies and exacerbating corruption and political instability. At a Steering Committee meeting held in Canberra, Australia, on 10 December 1996, the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP) decided to establish a study group on transnational crime, including drug trafficking.76 This development is a clear indication that the region vigilance has been aroused by the rise of the drug problem as a threat to human security.

Women rights. Contrary to the expectations of detractors of Confucian values, the worst case of women rights is in Japan, whose culture is predominantly Shinto-influenced and only peripherally touched by the Confucian culture. In comparison with other countries in the region, Japan influence from Confucianism is probably the lowest, yet, Japan record of women rights is indisputably one of the worst in the world. In Japan, the privileges of manhood are still deeply entrenched, more so than elsewhere. In the job market, men are hired with the general assumption that they will build careers with their companies; women are typically separated into one of two categories ippan shoku (miscellaneous workers) and sogo shoku (a career track). The miscellaneous female workers, who are still legion in every Japanese ministry and large company and are known as ffice ladies,” or O.L., will rarely rise above their lowly status and enter career tracks, which are still largely reserved for males. Among female workers, who make up 41 percent of the Japanese population, only a sparing 8.9 percent are classified as anagerial workers, compared to 46.6 percent and 46 percent, respectively, in the United States.77 Despite the passage of a landmark antidiscrimination law in 1985 and its reinforcement in Alan Dupont, ransnational Crime, Drugs, and Security in East Asia,” Asian Survey, Vol. 39, No.

3 (1999), pp. 433-455.

Ibid., p. 435, n.6.

Data from the Cabinet Office of Japan, International Labor Organization, and Inter-Parliamentary Union, as cited in apan Neglected Resource: Female Workers,” New York Times, 25 July 2003, p.


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