World Policy Journal: Winter 2013/2014


Faceoff: China/India

For the better part of three millennia, China and India have developed independently, intersecting only at the rarest of moments across a divide of some of the world’s most forbidding geography. Today, they rank as the world’s first and second most populous nations, but with political, social, and economic systems that place them sharply at odds—most recently along the Arunachal Pradesh border, a hotly contested stretch of the eastern Himalayas. In our winter issue, World Policy Journal calls on writers on both sides of the frontier to assess the interactions and the frictions between these two nations, and their fallout among their smaller and more fragile neighbors—from Bhutan and Nepal to Myanmar, newly opening to the world around it. A leading Indian writer examines the centrally planned and managed nation controlled by a single political party that has seen an economic explosion of activity and growth north of the Himalayas. A top Chinese journalist, who has traveled widely, explores her neighbor to the south, a vibrant, if often cacophonous, multi-party democratic nation that has broken out of its long lethargy to assume a leadership role in technology and innovation. In this second of our annual issues spotlighting a different region of the world, we turn our attention to Asia, and specifically to China and India—a faceoff of monumental proportions engaging the entire region and capturing the attention of much of the world—and seek to unwrap some effective means of navigating their still fraught relationship.


The Big Question: Which Country Will Emerge As the Leading Power? 

China and India each have a legitimate claim to hegemony, to leadership, and to a shared or competitive future. We asked our panel of global experts which nation might emerge as Asia’s leading power in the future.

Map Room: Water Woes 

Asia’s water resources are coming under increasing stress. World Policy Journal examines three areas where competition over water resources is creating the greatest potential for Sino-Indian conflict, while showcasing the methods China and India are employing to secure their future water reserves along three contentious rivers.

India Through Chinese Eyes                 

Despite its size, economic clout, and geographic proximity to China, India remains a blind spot in China’s foreign policy and among most Chinese. China’s criticism of India’s dysfunctional democracy, along with a lack of cultural awareness, perpetuates a state of political and diplomatic imbalance between the two neighbors. With the governments’ designated Year of Friendship and Exchange slated for 2014, Li Xin reveals why China would benefit from building a closer, multi-dimensional relationship with India.  

Anatomy: Highway to Higher Education

The two leading universities in China and India, Peking University and IIT-Bombay respectively, represent two vastly different approaches to education and life. World Policy Journal delves into these differences. Though each requires students to take highly competitive exams, Peking University offers students an array of subjects to study, while IIT-Bombay immediately places students on a science and engineering track. After graduation, Chinese students remain in the country, while Indian students apply for work visas abroad at strikingly high rates.

China Through Indian Eyes

At odds for the last 50 years, India and China share little in common except for a border. Despite fundamental differences in work culture, social structure, and political ideology, Nazia Vasi reveals how globalization and cross-cultural interactions are shaping and potentially strengthening Indians’ interaction with their Chinese counterparts.

Timeline: 1959-Present

To understand the modern trajectory of Sino-Indian relations, World Policy Journal has focused on turning points that have come to define the two countries’ shared history. Beginning at a pivotal moment—the 1959 Tibetan Rising—we march through decades of military struggles and political confrontations to present-day diplomatic and economic negotiations, which bode well for building confidence and trust between Asia’s two superpowers.



World Policy Journal examines three small but strategically situated nations, sandwiched between China and India, which have long been a focus of efforts by both major powers to win hearts, minds, and loyalties.

Myanmar: Choosing Sides    

Myanmar’s recent democratic transition and its growing regional influence place it at the center of Southeast Asia’s political landscape, and thus, at a confluence of forces being brought to bear by India and China. With its rapid rise in regional power, Myanmar is poised for auspicious economic and political growth— but only if it can manage the difficult act of weighing opportunities against costs. Megha Bahree delves into India and China’s influence in Myanmar’s rise to power and offers insight into the country’s unfolding future. 

Nepal: Dictated By Geography 

Still recovering from its recent 10-year Maoist revolution and a host of border disputes, Nepal finds itself struggling to find stable political footing—its landlocked location only further complicating this process. Kunda Dixit discusses the geography of Nepal’s economic and political growth, examining how India and China will play a major role in its development and expansion.

Bhutan: Between Two Giants  

In the past decade, the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has undergone massive changes, opening itself to new economic and developmental opportunities. Critical to this process has been the participation of India and China, both nations being met at various turns by both criticism and cautious acceptance. Sherpem Sherpa analyzes Bhutan’s recent history with the region’s two giants, exploring the prospects of partnership and independence.



A Voice for Democracy in China

Professor of Economics Yeliang Xia, recently forced to resign from his position at Peking University, speaks to World Policy Journal about the dangers of being an academic under a communist regime. In a conversation via Skype from Beijing, the defrocked dissident and advocate of democracy, explains the importance of intellectual freedom in advancing his country’s future. He vows to play a central role, at whatever personal cost, in his nation’s transition to a democratic system.



Game of Hope: Pool Betting in Nigeria 

In a country where wages are low and opportunities are few, a bit of luck can go a long way. Nigerian photographer Andrew Esiebo takes us inside a Lagos pool-betting hall, where gamblers wager their meager earnings on the outcome of English soccer matches, in the hopes of striking it rich.



Kimberley’s Illicit Process

Though the Kimberley Process was established to purge the international gem trade of blood diamonds, it has indirectly enriched the unscrupulous to the tune of billions of dollars. Khadija Sharife and John Grobler examine how the Kimberley Process has failed in its noble mission and discuss ways the system may be expanded and refined to curb the illicit activity that threatens to undermine its foundations. 

Rapping the Arab Spring 

Hip-hop, often the artistic expression of political dissatisfaction, has become one of many voices of the Arab Spring. In Tunisia, artists like Gal3y, use hip-hop to attack continuing police brutality and the government that supports it. Sam Kimball, a journalist based in Tunis, explores more broadly how hip-hop has morphed from an underground movement to the undeniable expression of dissent in the Arab Spring.

Norway’s Choices

Norway is torn by a debate over the use and abuse of immigrants and the systems they use to enter the European Union. Norwegian social commentator Bjørn Stærk explores the disintegration of Norway’s multiethnic façade and urges his country to make the ultimate choice—retain a national identity or embrace a post-national society. 

Brazil’s Health in Black and White 

Brazil, soon to play host to the World Cup and eventually the Olympic Games, is torn by its need for doctors and health care and its hostility toward outsiders who have come to fill these vital needs. Fernanda Canofre encourages Brazilians to make preventative medicine a priority, as a first step toward redressing the critical imbalance in their health care system.



The Imperial Presidency

Gone are the days of unfettered presidential power. World Policy Journal editor David A. Andelman completes his year-long exploration of the nature of today’s governments and their relations with those they rule, examining the waning days of the “Imperial Presidency” and the global implications of such a loss.