Friday Reads

A few reading recommendations on your typical slow Friday:

#1 - All You Can Do is Pray: Crimes Against Humanity and Ethnic Cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Burma’s Arakan State (Human Rights Watch)

The report is 153 pages long, so not for the faint of heart. Over at CFR's Asia Unbound blog, Joshua Kurlantzick summarizes the report:

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The report claims that the most heinous of all crimes—crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing—were committed against Rohingya last year. It conclusively shows that, contrary to the Myanmar government’s claims that the violence against Rohingya last year erupted spontaneously, monks and local political parties had been agitating for ethnic cleansing against Rohingya well in advance of last year’s violence, in some cases with local government complicity. It also reveals that once the violence started, local security forces in Rakhine State did little to stop the burning of mosques, evictions of Muslims, and killings of Muslims. In some cases, HRW shows, the security forces actively participated in the orgy of violence and then rounded up almost only Rohingya, while leaving Buddhist perpetrators untouched. Even now, it finds, in villages in Rakhine State where Rohingya have not been forced to flee, they are still being subjected to draconian restrictions by local officials and security forces.

#2 - Concerns About Religious Extremism in Boston Bombings Suspects' Homelands (Pew Forum)

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This is a timely (short) report from Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Here's the opening lines:

A new Pew Research Center survey report finds high levels of concern about religious extremism among Muslims in the North Caucasus area of Russia and the neighboring Central Asian countries of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. The survey also finds that few Muslims across the region support the use of violence against civilians in the name of Islam, though there is somewhat more support for suicide bombing and similar violence among Muslims in Kyrgyzstan than in Russia or Kazakhstan.

#3 - China's Strategic Recalibration in Burma (China Brief)

Jamestown Foundation has a new China Brief and one of the articles is about China's adaptation to the new strategic environment created by Yangon's reform and turn toward the United States. Beijing's key recalibrating moves from the report:

First, Beijing has made some important personnel shuffles in the last few weeks, which indicate a shift in its diplomatic approach....
Second, China has adopted a more aggressive approach to dealing with the ethnic groups waging rebellions against Naypyidaw to increase its leverage in Burma relative to other players....
Third, despite recent setbacks, Chinese companies are demonstrating their capacity to adapt to Burma's changing political climate. Big Chinese firms—e.g. China National Petroleum Corporation, which is in charge of Beijing’s prized oil and gas pipelines—are now trying to invest more in helping local communities build hospitals, schools and other facilities (Financial Times, April 16). Companies also are launching public relations campaigns to improve their image....