Shows: February 3, 2014

Photo for 'Smogpocalypse Reveals China's Environmental Crisis'
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Smogpocalypse Reveals China's Environmental Crisis

This winter, the world watched in awe of China's great wall of smog. As we all saw from the grim photos of “smogpocalypse”--streets choked with pollution from factories and power plants--it’s clear that China’s pollution problems are overwhelming. But can the government, or environmental activists, find a sustainable solution before it’s too late? We spoke with Isabel Hilton, editor of the environmental news website ChinaDialogue.net, about the major challenges China is facing in its fraught environmental politics, as well as Beijing’s failure to respond comprehensively to the crisis.

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Japan Sparks Geopolitical Tensions with Inflammatory Shrine Visit

In late December Japanese PM Shinzo Abe touched one of the hottest political flashpoints in Asia, by visiting the Yasukuni shrine . It honors Japan's war dead, including major Japanese war criminals and human rights violators. The visit set off shockwaves as a blatant gesture of Japanese right-wing nationalism, stirring outrage from China and South Korea, which remain bitter over Japan’s failure to apologize for historical atrocities. So what’s behind this aggressive display of nationalist ideology. We spoke with Mindy Kotler of the DC-based think tank Asia Policy Point about the background and the political ramifications of the Yasukuni visit.

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Cambodian Garment Workers Fuel Mass Protests

In late December garment factory workers in Phnom Penh went on strike to demand higher wages, a raise in the base pay to a whopping $160 per month. They were joined by legions of civil society activists calling for political reform and opposing the authoritarian regime. After several days of unrest, the police cracked down ferociously, leaving several dead, and a number of labor activists arbitrarily detained. We spoke with David Welsh, an organizer with the AFLCIO’s Solidarity Center in Phnom Penh.

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