The elected body, the “Supreme People’s Assembly”, rarely meets and has very little actual power. So this entire March 9 election exercise and its lead-up became in part a vehicle for more regime-shaped symbolism (symbol as substance) about how pleased everyone is with Kim-family rule, and the benefits conferred by the socialist system. The fact […]
In the six volumes of Mao Zedong Nianpu (1949-1976) published in Beijing this past December 2013, a number of new texts can be located, and minor mysteries solved. Chronologically organized, the writing in May 1951 is particularly interesting. I located one discussion, on May 19, 1951, where Mao is revealed as the active co-author of Hu Qiaomu […]
Now that the minzu (ethnicity) question is so centrally on the table in China, it is a good time to be looking to the past, for roots of current disputes and opportunities to overcome that multifarious and often very wounded past. Just as the events in Kunming need to be embedded into their regional context, […]
Rana Mitter is among the most dynamic, productive, and visible historians working on East Asia in the UK today. Dr. Mitter will be delivering a series of uniquely prestigious and endowed lectures in Belfast, at Queen’s University, from 28-31 May of this year. The series title is ‘Fighting Fate: Wartime Society and the Making of […]
Ambassador Jim Hoare has written a delightful and very informative essay for SinoNK.com, the website for which I serve as chief editor. When based in Beijing in 1990, Ambassador Hoare took a trip up to Yanji with Warwick Morris (who, unbeknownst to him at the time, was another future UK Ambassador to North Korea). Their […]
On 9 January, I was fortunate to be able to address a group of scholars and graduate students at Ohio State University. Video of the talk will be available soon, and the abstract for the paper can be read here (opens as pdf). My colleagues at Sino-NK did a rather generous pre-presentation write-up with multiple links. […]
Is North Korea, as Joseph Nye once apparently argued, “immune” from soft power and persuasion? In a recent North Korea Review article, Steven Denney and I argue that the DRPK is not. Recent events in Pyongyang involving an American basketball delegation meeting with Kim Jong-un are not necessarily bizarre, nor are they without utility for […]
My latest column for The Daily NK delves into these questions, with reference to the New York Philharmonic’s visit to Pyongyang in 2008 and notions of cultural openness today.
I’ll be speaking this afternoon at a big UK-Korea event in London, delving into the changing Chinese-North Korean discourse on border security and refugees. More on Sino-NK.