A bi-monthly update on Asia-related events in the Nordic Region
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Making Sense of Myanmar’s 1.2.21 Military Coup

On 8 November last year, Myanmar (also known as Burma) held a general election that returned Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy to power. But just as the new parliament was about to be convened on Monday, the army seized power, ostensibly for a year, alleging electoral irregularities.

How did this military putsch come to pass? What does the coup mean for Myanmar’s political future? Is this part of a wider authoritarian shift in politics across Asia, and indeed globally?

Join us for an academic discussion of the unfolding crisis.

Speakers will include Helene Maria Kyed (DIIS) and Stein Tønnesson (PRIO), both of whom have spent extended periods conducting research in Myanmar during recent years, along with political scientists Myat The Thitsar (UMass Lowell) and Matthew Walton (Toronto), who follow the country’s politics closely.

The event will be moderated by NIAS Director Duncan McCargo.

15:00-16:30 (CET), Thursday 4 February
Please register here to receive Zoom link.
Organized by:
NIAS, ADI, University of Copenhagen, and the New York Southeast Asia Network, in collaboration with DIIS, PRIO and Southeast Asia Student Initiative at Columbia.

What's next for Vietnam's Communist Party?

Online ASIANET seminar

On 25 January, the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) gathered for its first national congress since 2016. Around 1600 members from around the country are gathered in Hanoi, where they will select new leaders and plan the country’s development for the next five years and beyond.

Under CPV rule, Vietnam has emerged as an increasingly important economic and political force regionally and globally, after decades of rapid economic growth and improving living standards. Now the party can add a highly successful campaign against Covid-19 to boost its performance-based legitimacy. Still, there are growing reports of discontent both within and outside the party, and Vietnamese authorities have yet again initiated an intensified crackdown on dissent before the congress.

In a country where even leading experts refer to politics as a ‘black box’, significant parts of the political processes are hidden from the public. We invite leading experts to give us more insight into the ruling  party of Vietnam and reflect on the future of both the party and the country. And should we still take the socialist visions of one of global capitalisms best performers seriously?

Time and date: 13:00 - 14:30 (CET), Friday 5 February 2021
Please register here.

Food, agriculture and sustainability among indigenous people in central India

Neelam Kerketta (Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University) will be speaking on Food, agriculture and sustainability among indigenous people in central India. This open lecture is a part of Oslo Metropolitan University South Asia Seminar Series (Chapter 1: India).

Time and date: 16:00 - 17:30 (CET), Friday 5 February 2021
Read more and register here.
Organized by
Oslo Metropolitan University.

Milk Tea Alliance: Transnational democratic solidarity in Asia

Online roundtable discussion

In April 2020, the Thai Boy’s love series 2gether became massively popular in China. The series’ prominence quickly brought Chinese fans’ scrutiny to the leading actors’ social media activity. This attention turned to backlash when posts referring to Hong Kong and Taiwan as independent countries by the title’s lead actor, Bright, and his girlfriend, Nnevvy, were discovered by the new fans. This perceived online impasse drew strong criticism from nationalistic Chinese citizens and became the spark of a spontaneous transnational online movement in response against China’s model of authoritarianism. Citizens from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Thailand have called this the ”Milk Tea Alliance” and united in a common struggle for democracy.

In addition to a shared stance against authoritarianism, issues such as unfair trade, the treatment of ethnic minorities, environmental degradation, and socio-economic inequalities have become widely discussed under the banner. Many of these issues were also featured in the student-led protests in Thailand in late 2020, where the ”Milk Tea Alliance” was functional in online mobilisation and as a manifestation of solidarity.

In this roundtable discussion activists, scholars, and observers from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Thailand are brought together. They will talk about their experiences and insights - answering questions about what the alliance is, why it matters, and where it is going.

Time and date: 10:00 - 12:00 (CET), Thursday 25 February 2021
Please register here.
Organized by
Centre for East- and South-East Asian Studies at Lund University.

The cost of doing Buddhism: gendered labour in Buddhist economies of belonging in contemporary rural Japan.

Open lecture with Paulina Kolata

Although Buddhists are often portrayed as rejecting the material world in favour of spiritual pursuits, all religious organisation in Japan (and elsewhere) have always been closely associated with money and materiality. The material and financial sponsorship of rituals, religious infrastructure and temple activities is what makes religion practicable, profitable and possible. In this talk, Kolata invites you to enter the world of regional Buddhist temple communities in contemporary Japan to explore “the how” and “the way” of voluntary and institutionalised practices of generosity that can sustain and fracture Buddhist economies.

Time and date: 13:00 - 14:30 (CET), Tuesday 2 March 2021
Read more and register here.
Organized by
Centre for East- and South-East Asian Studies at Lund University.


NIAS Press is currently having a winter sale with 20% off all books. You can buy the books directly at


New episodes in the #NordicAsiaPodcast

Looking for a listening experience full of researchers' insights on Asia? Try the Nordic Asia Podcast, co-hosted by NIAS, CEAS, ASIANETTVERKET and Forum for Asian Studies. In 2021, we have so far released the following episodes:

Give it a listen on your favorite podcast streaming platform or find it here.
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