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[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • Crooked Timber’s Daniel Davies writes about the end of his career as a financial analyst.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper discussing the brown dwarfs of 25 Orionis.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a paper suggesting that Uranus’ moon system is still evolving, with the moon Cupid being doomed in a relatively short timescale. It also wonders if North Korea is exporting rare earths through China.
  • Far Outliers notes the Ainu legacy in placenames in Japanese-settled Hokkaido.
  • Languages of the World’s Asya Perelstvaig examines the complexities surrounding language and dialect and nationality in the Serbo-Croatian speech community in the former Yugoslavia.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw notes the terribly high death rate among Europeans in colonial Indonesia, and how drink was used to put things off.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog examines the prevalence of sex-selective abortion in Armenia.
  • Torontoist notes Rob Ford’s many lies and/or incomprehensions about Toronto’s fiscal realities.
  • Towleroad suggests that one way to regularize HIV testing would be to integrate it with dentistry appointments.
  • Window on Eurasia notes a water dispute on the Russian-Azerbaijan border and argues that the election of a pro-Russian cleric to the head of the Ukrainian section of the Russian Orthodox Church is dooming that church to decline.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes that while red dwarfs host giant planets less frequently than more massive stars, they don’t do so that much more frequently.
  • Eastern Approaches notes concerns with the Czech Republic’s legislation on banning extremist ads, which may have targeted a Euroskeptic party.
  • The Financial Times‘s World blog notes North Korea’s self-defeating propaganda, regularly invoking stereotypes or racisms that are problematic in the outside world.
  • Joe. My. God. takes a look at out NFL football player Michael Sam’s boyfriend, former swimmer Vito Cammisano.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the internal Chinese cultural distinctions between northern wheat-eaters and southern rice-eaters.
  • Strange Maps looks at a redrawing of the borders of the world based on the mathemetical theories of Georgy Voronoy.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the fragile nature of the Armenian-Azerbaijani ceasefire, and warns that if Moldova joins the European Union Transnistria will join with Russia.

[LINK] Two links on migration between China and Korea

Markus Bell’s Asia Times article “Empire and trafficking in Northeast Asia” makes what I think are debatable links between the forced prostitution of Korean women under Imperial Japan and later waves of woman-related migration in and around Korea. His outlining of the way in which South Korea’s relative shortage of potential female partners triggered a whole series of movements in northeast Asia is quite convincing.

Encouraged by a government focused on modernization at any cost, young women from the Korean countryside poured into the capital to take up places in the factories churning out products for export. Those who were unable to find work on the assembly line often found work in the bars of the camptowns. A direct result of this gendered, mass movement from rural to urban areas was the gradual disappearance of young, unmarried women from the villages of Korea.

Rural Korea was being sacrificed as part of Park’s master plan and, in an effort to placate the fast growing bachelor population of the countryside, the government sponsored “bridal tours” in which it took single Korean men to seek wives in Northeast China. For much of the 1980s and early 1990s, with the explosion of the unregulated bride tourism industry, the bride of choice for the rural Korean bachelor continued to be ethnic Korean women located in China, known as Chosonjok.

However, as more and more of these women followed their new husbands into the Korean countryside, certain “truths” started to be revealed for both parties. Chosonjok women were not as obedient and “traditional” as advertised, while rural Korean men did not provide the women with a gateway to the glitz and glamour of South Korean modernity. As relations between China and South Korea improved, and restrictions gradually relaxed for Chosonjok working in South Korea, it became harder for Korean bachelors to find ethnic Korean-Chinese brides willing to toil with them in the rice fields.

As the availability of Korean-Chinese brides declined, South Korean men started to look further afield for women, venturing outside of Northeast Asia and beyond previously imagined ethnic boundaries. Moreover, as the population of northeast China became more affluent and mobile, ethnic Korean women, like South Korean women nearly 30 years earlier, were less willing to settle for a rural existence. Therefore, the dearth of potential brides in that area became even more pronounced.

Chinese men in the provinces of Northeast China now find themselves in a similar position to rural South Korean men a generation earlier. With land to work, aging parents to care for, and no heir to pass the estate on to, the men need to find wives. In this case, their demand for brides is being satisfied by North Korean women who cross into China illegally in search of work, food, an escape from hardship, and at times, passage to South Korea.

These women, many of whom are in their late teens and early twenties, are a vulnerable population. The market for brides in China is, as it was in South Korea, unregulated. It is dominated by ethnic Korean and Chinese brokers for whom making a profit is more important than the basic human rights of the individuals of whom they take charge. North Korean women are bought, sold, and trafficked throughout Northeast China and beyond. Many are sold to Chinese men as brides; many others are funneled into the burgeoning sex industry of the region.

Want China Times‘ article“S. Korea’s Jeju Island a new haven for Chinese investors”. The island of Jeju, located off of the south coast of South Korea, last appeared here in connection with a local statue of autonomy. Nowadays, apparently Jeju is becoming a popular destination for Chinese investors. It actuallysounds a _little_ bit like Prince Edward Island. (There, there are laws preventing non-residents from owning too much property, especially seafront property.)

Increasing numbers of Chinese nationals have bought holiday homes or invested in property in South Korea’s southernmost island province Jeju, which has drawn complaints from local residents, reports the Chinese-language Legal Weekly, the official paper of the CPC Central Politics and Law Commission.

Nearly 80% of property buyers in the South Korean island province are from China, said a property agent in Jeju. Many properties on the island are also being developed by Chinese companies who are targeting Chinese buyers, said Kong Shuai, founder of an investment and property development group from Wenzhou. When Zhou Dewen, chairman of the Wenzhou Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Development Association, brought groups of Chinese investors to the island in 2011 and 2012, many of them showed great interest in the island’s property market.

[. . .]

The island’s geographic location has great appeal to Chinese buyers as it only takes an hour to fly from Shanghai to Jeju. The flight ticket is cheaper than that between China’s northern cities and southernmost island province of Hainan. Jeju’s scenery and its clean environment also serve to attract investors from Chinese cities suffering from severe air pollution. Traveling to the island is also relatively convenient compared to other countries as Chinese nationals can apply for a landing visa in South Korea.

[. . .]

The South Korean government’s 2010 policy, which awards permanent residency to people and their direct relatives who invest more than US$500,000 on the island has contributed to the surge. The investors and their families can enjoy the same medical care, education and job opportunities as South Korean citizens. They are also eligible to apply for a South Korean passport after living in Jeju for five years. People with the passport can enjoy visa exemptions in more than 180 countries.

The rising property prices and the rising number of Chinese nationals living on the island has drawn concerns on the future of the policy. South Koreans have expressed their discontent and called on the government to limit Chinese investment and property purchases, according to a South Korean living in Iksan City in North Jeolla province. Local online forums were filled with strong sentiments against the surging Chinese immigration. Most of their discontent centered on rising property prices and the fact that a large amount of the country’s land was being sold to foreigners, which led to fears that the rising prices may destabilize the island’s social structure.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 13, 2014 at 4:34 am

[NEWS] Some Wednesday links

  • Writing for the Postmedia syndicate, Andrew Coyne argues from a conservative perspective that the current situation in Canada, where moral and legal standards are defined by evidence of harm or not, is better than the traditional treatment.
  • CBC notes that migration from Quebec is up substantially.
  • Mini-Neptunes might be the most common form of planet, Universe Today suggests, or at least more common than imagined. These worlds would have the mass of super-Earths but have substantially hydrogen-helium atmospheres.
  • The National Post reports that some Canadians argue that the lobster should become a national symbol. I’m up with that.
  • Pacific Standard argues suburban sprawl may aid innovation.
  • The Calgary Herald notes some photographers in Banff National Park are trying to get pictures of wild animals by baiting or provoking them. The failure modes are, well, imaginable.
  • The good news is that reports Kim Jong Un’s uncle was executed by being fed to wild dogs are quite likely false, The Guardian notes.
  • Lily Tomlin, it is reported, has married her long-time partner Jane Wagner in New York.
  • The Independent reports that an Alfred Hitchcock documentary on the evidence shelved by–among other things–post-war politics and Hitchcock’s own upset is going to be released.
  • Japan’s population, the Japan Times notes, has fallen by a record near quarter-million in 2013.

[BLOG] Some Monday links

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • The Burgh Diaspora points to articles discussing Germany’s ongoing demographic issues.
  • Crooked Timber’s John Quiggin meditates on the rapid urbanization of China.
  • Daniel Drezner expects somewhat more out of the recent Iranian election of a moderate president than of North Korea’s latest diplomatic moves.
  • The Dragon’s Tales’ Will Baird shares the news that none of the planets discovered orbiting Tau Ceti are likely to be habitable, e being Venus-like and f closer to Mars. There’s still space for a low-mass planet orbiting between e and f, though, right?
  • Geocurrents criticizes the recently publicized linguistics thesis claiming that languages which have ejective consonants are likely to have evolved in mountainous areas, where these sharp sounds are suited to area with low air pressure.
  • Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen agrees now with Dani Rodrik’s long-staning critique of Turkish politics this past decade as undemocratic.
  • The New APPS Blog notes the blemishing of Erdogan’s record in Turkey and mass protests in Brazil’s Sao Paulo over public transit.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer wonders if the Colombian-American alliance might worsen Colombia’s insurgencies.
  • Peter Rukavina shares the GIS numbers of Prince Edward Island, the geographical coordinates of a box encompassing the island province.
  • Torontoist notes that Toronto saw the first pay-TV show, a 1961 Bob Newhart special.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy notes the imprisonment in Egypt of a Muslim cleric convicted of offending Christians.

[LINK] “Are Kaesong curtains drawn for good?”

Aidan Foster-Carter‘s Asia Times article makes the point that the extreme rhetoric used by the North Korean government against the South has the effect of shutting down possibilities for inter-Korean concord and cooperation. What incentive does the South have to cooperate with such a North? And how would the North, absent involvement with the South, avoid envelopment by China?

Fortunately, North Korea as yet lacks any such capacity, so this all had a staged and cartoonish character. That did not make it any less unsettling. Though little remarked, there may be a parallel here with last spring’s vicious and highly personalized propaganda campaign against South Korea’s then President Lee Myung-bak, including vile cartoons of him as a rat being bloodily done to death in a variety of ways. We covered this here in detail at the time.

These cartoons can no longer be found on KCNA, but Jeffrey Lewis has usefully preserved some for posterity. One comment there is worth quoting for its wider resonance: “How do you negotiate with a government that presents propaganda posters showing your president’s gory dismemberment?”

This year’s campaign lacked the cartoons’ visual nastiness and personal animus, but was no less extreme in its language. Quoting this in extenso would be tedious. Any reader – except in South Korea; will President Park end this needless ban? – has only to turn to KCNA.kp, which helpfully files its main diatribes under the telling sidebar “DPRK in All-Out Action Against Enemies,” and scroll back over the past two months. Of late they have toned this down, but only slightly.

As recently as May 10, party daily Rodong Sinmun could still write: “The DPRK remains steadfast in its attitude to meet any challenge of the hostile forces for aggression through an all-out action based on nuclear deterrent of justice, bring earlier the day of the final victory in the great war for national reunification (emphasis added) and guarantee the prosperity of a reunified country and the independent dignity of the nation for all ages.”

Leaving aside the bizarre idea of nuclear “all-out action” as a way to “guarantee prosperity” – guarantee poverty, more like – taken literally what can this mean except that North Korea would welcome a “unification” achieved by the nuclear defeat (as if!) of South Korea, with all the catastrophic material and human loss of innocent lives that would entail? Or if they don’t really mean it, why do they say it? To adapt the question above, how can you talk usefully to a regime which purports to gleefully contemplate nuking you into submission?

Written by Randy McDonald

May 31, 2013 at 3:19 am


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