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Latest publications from Andreas Forsby

How do Denmark and other European countries navigate and position themselves in the burgeoning strategic rivalry between China and the United States? NIAS researcher Andreas B. Forsby has provided a Danish perspective to these questions in a newly released report from the ETNC network of European research institutions. In his chapter, entitled “America First: Denmark’s Strategic Navigation in the Era of US-China Rivalry”, he demonstrates how Denmark – being far more dependent on the US than China – is now struggling with how to maintain its Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with China in the face of growing pressure from the Trump administration.
Read the chapter here

Forsby has also written a Danish language op-ed (kronik) in Jyllandsposten on the same topic.
Read it here.

Duncan McCargo comments in TIME magazine on situation in Thailand

Director of NIAS, Duncan McCargo, is interviewed this week in TIME Magazine to comment on the current political situation in Thailand, in which the leader of Thailand's Future Forward Party has amassed a "Korean boy band" type of following. To read the article, please follow this link.



Elina Nilsson, PhD, Centre for Gender Research, Uppsala University
My background is in cultural anthropology and gender studies. In my research, I explore the experiences of transnational commercial surrogacy, through interviews with women who have acted as surrogate mothers in Thailand. The study focuses on the interconnection between the global and the intimate through the lived experiences of those whose labour involves intimacy, embodiment and emotions. I have spent in total 5 months in Thailand (2018-2019) interviewing former surrogate mothers. Recurring themes in the women’s narratives are mobility, motherhood and labour as well as issues concerning money and religious/local moral values. At the moment I am writing a chapter on (im)mobility, borders and restrictions.


Guro Vestrheim Skeie, MA, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Bergen
My master project is an urban ethnographic study of morality among LGBT+ subjects in Yangon, Myanmar.  The background for the project was to investigate how Myanmar sexual minorities engaging with multiple discourses of gender, identify and govern themselves within the gendered aspects of different ideologies. This project takes identity, love and desire among LGBT+ subjects as point of departure, to gain insight into the moral and cultural norms of the dominating ideologies in transitioning Myanmar



Rebekka Åsnes Sagild, PhD Student, University of Oslo

Rebekka Åsnes Sagild is a PhD-student in Modern China studies at the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages (IKOS), University of Oslo. She has a background in China studies and political science, and has spent several years in the People's Republic of China, for studies, work, and field research. Currently she is writing the first English language monograph on the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conferences (CPPCC). A key point of her research is to describe the role of the CPPCC in the Chinese political system, and its functions and practice, in particular at local levels in China.


Julia Wong, MPhil Student, UiT The Arctic University of Norway

Julia Wong is a master student at the Center for Peace Studies at the University of Tromsø. Her background is from political science, with a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Stavanger.

The main topic for the master thesis is the Hong Kong protests from 2019, questioning whether an assumed generational gap in identity might explain the level of active participation. More specifically, the perception of national or civic identity among individual ‘baby boomers’ and ‘millennials’. In addition to identity, the focus will be on the general view on the society and political situation. Data for the thesis is based on interviews and observation from fieldwork conducted in Hong Kong during the summer of 2019. Furthermore, the research will be drawn to more general theories regarding the role of identity in conflicts and human security.


Kronik om Huawei og Færøerne af Andreas Bøje Forsby

Andreas bøje Forsby har en kronik i Politiken i dag:

”Huawei: Færøerne som storpolitisk kampplads. Et kritisk tilbageblik på den forløbnes uges afsløringer om mødet mellem Færøernes lagmand og Kinas ambassadør”.

For at læse artiklen, klik venligst på det vedhæftede.

Sino-Nordic report OA

Sino–Nordic relations matter

For all the Nordic countries, China has become an important trading partner. It also plays a central role in the management of the international order on which the Nordic states are highly dependent. At the same time, the Nordic countries risk being drawn into the unfolding great power struggle between the United States and China.

For China, the Nordic region is not a major economic partner nor is it closely affiliated with China’s Belt & Road Initiative. Even so, Nordic expertise, technology and innovation skills are in high demand in China, especially with respect to green growth and sustainable development solutions that are critical to China’s overall modernization objectives.

Against this backdrop of existing interconnectivities and mutual interests, there is a need to take a closer look at Sino–Nordic relations in order to identify the opportunities as well as constraints for advancing the relationship further.

This pioneering study investigates the relationship, exploring the range of interconnectivities and collaborative practices between China and its Nordic partners. It maps the scope and recent history of current relations across various dimensions, not only from an overall comparative perspective but also from the perspectives of the individual countries.

The study also focuses on five issue areas – business and innovation, sustain­able development, research and education, welfare solutions and people-to-people relations – where opportunities exist for enhanced cooperation. At the same time, it identifies the main obstacles and challenges to Sino–Nordic relations, including differences of political values and the burgeoning US–China great power rivalry. Furthermore, by examining the rather limited measures taken by the Nordic countries to adopt a joint approach to China, it discusses the extent to which such a joint approach might augment bilateral relations that individual Nordic countries have with Beijing as well as wider EU–China relations.

Finally, the study ends with a set of thought-provoking recommendations for how to deal with current opportunities and constraints in order to expand and deepen the Sino–Nordic relationship.

To read the full report, please click the attachement.


Valentine Gavard-Suaire, PhD, University of London

I am a doctoral researcher in the Department of Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London. My PhD focuses on the anti-trafficking and anti-slavery movements, in the context of risky labour migration between Vietnam and the United Kingdom. My research aims to understand how victimhood and protection are envisioned across borders, and trace related impacts on migratory experiences. I analyse how representations and policies lead to spatially bounded processes of (in)visibility and disqualification of certain migrant profiles. I am partly based in Hanoi, where I am affiliated to the IFGS at the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences. I have a Masters in Human Rights Law and previously worked in this field for different international bodies. 


Julia Behrens, PhD, Humboldt University

Julia Behrens is a PhD student at the seminar for Southeast Asian Studies at Humboldt University Berlin and visiting researcher at the University for Social Science and Humanities in Hanoi. Her dissertation is about narratives on environment and nature and how their use is interlinked with (re-)production of actor- networks of power in environmental NGOs in Vietnam. Having finished the first phase of field work, she is now in the process of locating case studies for the second phase.


Erkki Viitasaari, PhD, University of Helsinki.

Standing out Among Giants - National Museums in Singapore, Brunei, Taiwan and Palau.

I am a doctoral student at the University of Helsinki, Department of World Cultures, East Asian Studies. In my research I study the national museums of Singapore, Brunei, Taiwan and Palau - all small nations compared to their immediate neighbors in what I have defined as Greater Southeast Asia. All these nations have a history under Japanese rule, the depiction of which is one of my topics. Another one is how the poorly-documented pre-European period is presented in the exhibitions.


Duncan McCargo comments in the Wall Street Journal on the political situation in Thailand

Thai Court Rules Pro-Democracy Party Leader Violated Electoral Law

Potentially more troubling for the Future Forward Party are the trials to come. One lawsuit alleges party links to the Illuminati.

Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit leaves Constitutional Court in Bangkok, Nov. 20. PHOTO: GEMUNU AMARASINGHE/ASSOCIATED PRESS

By Feliz Solomon

Nov. 20, 2019 6:41 am ET

A Thai court dealt a setback to a pro-democracy opposition leader, effectively stripping him of his status as a lawmaker in the first ruling to come out of a string of legal cases against him and his political party.

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, the 40-year-old leader of the Future Forward Party, was found guilty Wednesday by Thailand’s Constitutional Court of owning shares in a media company in violation of electoral law, rendering him ineligible to serve as an elected member of parliament.

In an interview, Mr. Thanathorn said he was innocent and that he would continue to lead his party.

Mr. Thanathorn, the heir to an auto-parts manufacturing fortune, emerged last year as an outspoken challenger to the country’s ruling pro-military establishment. He is openly critical of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, the former army leader who led a coup in 2014 and oversaw nearly five years of military rule.

Mr. Prayuth was chosen as prime minister by the parliament in June after a widely criticized general election. He relied on votes from the army’s handpicked 250-member Senate, whose appointed members vote alongside lawmakers from the elected lower house.

Future Forward secured a substantial presence in the lower house, winning 81 of 500 seats and more than 6 million votes, surpassing expectations.

Future Forward poses a challenge to the status quo because of its appeal among young voters, particularly those under 25 years old, who tend to be less conservative than Thailand’s older generations, said Duncan McCargo, director of the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies at the University of Copenhagen. “Thanathorn has single-handedly mobilized young people, who are in turn terrifying their own parents with their critical views and questions,” Mr. McCargo said.

But Future Forward faces a cascade of legal battles that could lead to its dissolution and see key leaders imprisoned on charges including sedition and libel. A spokeswoman for the party, Pannika Wanich, said its members face a total of 27 lawsuits, several of which she called “politically motivated.”

Lawsuits against the party have been filed by conservative civil-society groups, individuals and military personnel. Ten of the cases, including the one concluded on Wednesday, were filed on behalf of an organization called the Association to Protect Thai Constitution, according to Future Forward. The group’s secretary and the plaintiff in the cases, Srisuwan Janya, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

A spokesman for the ruling People’s State Power Party declined to comment.

Wednesday’s verdict related to Mr. Thanathorn’s ownership of shares in a company called V-Luck Media. Mr. Thanathorn said he divested his stake in the company, which published magazines for a domestic airline and bank, before registering his candidacy. He also said the company ceased operations before the election date was announced.

The Constitutional Court suspended Mr. Thanathorn from parliament in May, when it accepted the case against him. The verdict is binding and can’t be appealed.

Potentially more troubling for the party are the trials to come. Those involve charges including insulting the monarchy, computer crimes and corruption—each carrying possible prison terms. One lawsuit alleges senior members have links to the Illuminati, an Enlightenment-era secret society, and that the party seeks to end Thailand’s constitutional monarchy.

Michael Montesano, coordinator of the Thailand studies program at Singapore-based ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, called the cases “a naked assault” on the party and its leader. “It is difficult to view them as anything but a determined effort to drive Mr. Thanathorn from politics and to shut his party down,” Mr. Montesano said.

Mr. Thanathorn said he is preparing for a protracted battle with his political opponents and bracing for the possibility that he may be imprisoned. The party’s aim, he said, is to see Thailand return to fully democratic governance under an amended constitution, overturning some of the powers that the current army-drafted charter reserves for the armed forces.

“It’s going to be a long fight,” Mr. Thanathorn said. “I am convinced that the people cannot tolerate this anymore, they want to see change.”


Lorraine (Yong Xin) Mo, MPhil Student, UiT The Arctic University of Norway

I was a Bachelor of History (second-upper honour) at Lingnan University in 2010 with a project  “The Role of Grigory Rasputin in the Collapse of Czarist Russia” and worked some years in Hong Kong SAR in civil service. In 2017, I got admitted to the University of Arctic Norway in Tromsø in MPhil in Peace Studies.

Barents-Euro Arctic region, as an area of geopolitical interest for the Nordic states which are of the post-cold war west and east division is facing escalating tension and conflictual relations at national and supra-national levels between NATO and post-Soviet Russia. Having observed that the escalated tension at these levels are not reflected in the way people close to the border experience each other in the academic-mobility sector in the High North, my inferences from living experiences as a North East Eurasian from Hong Kong SAR-Siberia is that it is the displaced indigenous people-to-people cultural exchanges between the Norwegian-Russian borders at the Barents Sea to Siberia after the fall of the Romanov-Manchurian Dynasty in the East that can explain why such tense atmosphere exists in the contemporary context. The asymmetrical dichotomy between the national-supra-national levels (political) and the people-to-people level crossing the border motivates me to do an interpretative-qualitative study with reflexive(historical)-ethnographic approach on the socio-cultural exchanges as an alternative peacebuilding discourse.


Keshav Raj Acharya, MA Student, University of Oslo

I am a masters student in Musicology program at Department of Musicology, University of Oslo, Norway. I have a Bachelor of Music from Kathmandu University, Nepal.  In my master thesis I am trying to explore Kauda (which is sometimes written as Kanraha, Kahaura etc.), one of the traditional folk music genres comprising dance, which is highly prevalent in the Magar communities of Western Nepal. The purpose of my thesis is to identify how Kauda music functions and establishes the various forms of identities of the Nepalese Magars in relation to their indigenous existence, self-existence and identity given by outsiders.