Research Papers

Asian Politics and History

China, Uighurs and Central Asia: The Shanghai Cooperation Organization & Beijing's Internationalization of Domestic Security Concerns
  • Details how Beijing's concern over potential political and demographic unrest in Xinjiang Province has led the Chinese government to create the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). By befriending the nascent Central Asian states, China sought to deny potential Uighur seperatists of safe havens. The creation of the trans-national SCO is a direct result of Beijing actions at the national level of hedge against unrest in the west.

China in Africa: Neo-colonialism or South-South Collaboration?
  • Highlights common criticisms of Chinese operations in Africa, yet also demonstrates China's laudable actions on the continent. Interactions and business dealings between China and Africa vary considerably in scale, scope and impact from nation to nation. Whereas tense labour relations often occur in a globalized world, many of the perceived negative externalities must be contextualized and be viewed objectively, as opposed to simply falling back on colonialist rhetoric. Similarly the ascendancy of China does not spell the inevitable subordination of Africa, rather offers new opportunities and avenues of engagement.

Personal Politics: Individual Rapport and Dialogue during Sino-American Rapprochement
  • Documents the domestic and international factors which prompted the leaders of China and the USA to engage in rapprochement during the 1970s. The primary focus of the paper is to demonstrate the impact and importance of the personal politics - the role of the top leadership - in begining the process of normalizing Sino-American relations. The cordial interplay between President Nixon, Kissinger, Mao and Zhou Enlai was key to facilitating Nixon's historic visit. This fact is demonstrated by the protracted negotiations and tensions with which successive American and Chinese administrations had to contend.

Creating Communist China: A Brief Literature Review
  • Compares the actions and organization of both the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) during the post-Qing and civil war era. Details various aspects such as leadership style, party organization, foreign aid, and party-populace interactions in order to elaborate the various factors which contributed to the eventual success of the CCP and the establishment of the People's Republic.

Ti–Yong, The Self-Strengthening Movement: 19th Century Qing China, Confucianism and Sino-Occidental Interaction
  • Following contact with Western explorers and missionaries and a series of defeats at the hands of foreign powers, Chinese intellectuals and elites sought to reform the imperial system. Specifically the Chinese sought to incorporate elements of Western philosophical, organizational and technological prowess in order to defend against foreign incursion. The Ti-Yong movement naively wished to use Western philosophy and technology as mere tools, seeking to leave the Confucian order unchanged, yet such compartmentalization failed, and efforts at synthesis proved unsuccessful.

Himalayan Hurdles: The 1962 War and a Legacy of Indo-Chinese Territorial Disputes
  • Conflicting views and claims dating from the colonial past eventually erupted into war in 1962, leading to defeat for India and establishing a long-running distrust between New Delhi and Beijing. This paper argues that India, particularly its top leadership was not cognisant of the severity of the border issue, a deficit which led to war India's humiliation in 1962. Moreover this paper shall demonstrate how the actions of 1962 have led to the border dispute becoming a key aspect in Indo-Chinese relations, one which acts as a geopolitical barometer, reflecting levels of hostility, and highlighting national priorities.

The Role of Historiography in Sino-Japanese Relations: The Nanjing Massacre
  • Chronicles how the - often heated - dialogue between China and Japan concerning the events known as the Nanjing Massacre. The events of the past have become inseperable from modern political manveouring between the two countries. Consequently the rhetoric surrounding the Nanjing Massacre is laced with hyperbole: Japan is not a nation unrepentan, and the Massacre has not always been important to China.

The Post-War Japanese Political-Economy: From the Japanese Miracle to the Lost Decade
  • Details the rise of the modern Japanese political economy following the Second World War. Particular attention is paid to the interplay between business conglomerates, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and powerful ministries in Japan. The invention of Asian Model capitalism during this time in Japan shows how strong government control over the economy allowed Japan to rapidly modernize and advance. Despite the many benefits of said model, this paper also demonstrates how the high levels of government control over the economy in part led to the stagnation of Japan's economy during the 1990s.

Japan, Russia, and the Kurile Islands: Federal Intransigence & Sub-national Pragmatism
  • The dispute over the Kurile Islands has hampered Russo-Japanese relations since WWII, with both governments stubbornly sticking to their respective talking points. While various national governments of both nations have at varying times sought to negotiate, tensions remain. This paper highlights the fact that contrary to the deadlock at the federal level, sub-national governments in both Japan and Russia have sought to cooperate in order to increase trade, development and tourism

Reconciliation over Retribution: The East-Timor Truth and Reconciliation Commission
  • Investigates the establishment of UN control in East-Timor and the implementation of the country's truth and reconciliation commission (CAVR). The Commission focused primarily on reconciliation and while substantial efforts were made to undercover the truth, this remained a secondary consideration and overall was incorporated into reconciliation efforts. Specifically while these conciliatory overtures did little to facilitate justice (in the retributive sense), the use of pragmatic information collection measures, traditional dispute resolution forums, and a forgiving restorative process saw important strides made at the communal level to restore individual dignity and reintegrate perpetrators.

International Law & Human Rights


The Rise of ISIS & Human Rights Concerns in Iraq
  • Details the religio-political factors which since the 2003 Iraq War have led to increased Sunni-Shi'a tensions, which helped facilitate the rapid rise of ISIS. Report also details the current (2014) situation of the Kurds, Yazidi's, and Iraqi Christians.

Voluntary Human Shields & International Humanitarian Law: Issues of Identity and Immunity Stratification
  • Voluntary human shields (VHS) manifest themselves in one of three ways, each with varying degrees of legality. VHS defending military personnel and objects are to be viewed as misappropriating and thereby forfeiting their civilian immunity. VHS defending objects and facilities which do not possess an overtly military nature (such as bridges), yet which can take on a martial nature if co-opted by combatants, ought not to be engaged, yet find themselves at the mercy of events. The final category comprises of VHS which defend civilians and humanitarian objects. This group is protected by civilian immunity, as well as (in the case of foreign nationals) the rights of aliens: any violence directed towards them is legally and morally abhorrent.

Crimes Against Humanity: Localized Affliction, International Concern
  • The concept of crimes against humanity is relatively new, and as such there exists significant debate as to what events constitute and what entities can commit such crimes. This paper shall touch upon the evolution of international efforts at prosecuting those who commit crimes against humanity. Specifically there follows an investigation into what causes these acts to be viewed with universal repugnance, as well as what aspects of theses crimes make them as global concerns, eligible to be adjudicated upon by international law.  

Asymmetry Through the Ages: The Myth of Irregular Warfare as Modern Phenomenon
  • The various conflicts which arose following the Cold War were largely characterized by intra-state violence or irregular guerilla forces battling against state armies. Many commentators in the wake of Afghanistan and Iraq bemoaned the death of 'traditional', inter-state warfare.This paper argues that the distinction between traditional and asymmetrical is a misnomer, and that the latter is not a new concept. Examples of asymmetrical conflicts litter history, and that their legacy and lessons are of great importance. This paper shall also demonstrate that the challenges faced and counter-measures undertaken by modern actors find many parallels in the historical record.