16 July 2019

Simon Shen

Associate professor and director of Global Studies Programme, Faculty of Social Science, at the Chinese University of Hong Kong; Lead Writer (Global) at the Hong Kong Economic Journal
  • Kurdish people in Turkey watch smoke billowing from Kobane as they gather upon a hill overlooking the Syrian town in October 2014. The Kurds are left helpless amid a power game between Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. Photo: AFP

    Is Kurdish independence possible?

    - Dec 13, 2018 5:56pm
    I recently traveled to the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq, where I had a chance to interact with some locals and gain fresh insights on the situation there. Although the Kurdish people’s bid for independence...
  • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte still enjoys strong public support, based on recent popularity polls, despite his brutal war against drugs. Photo: Reuters

    Why Duterte’s drug war is still popular despite its brutality

    - Oct 18, 2018 6:29pm
    President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines is undoubtedly a larger-than-life political figure who adheres to the principle that “the end justifies the means”. And perhaps nothing exemplifies his take-no-prisoners and slash-and-burn approach to governance more than...
  • A photo shows areas affected by landslides after a 7.5 quake hit Hela region in Papua New Guinea in February. In PNG, only 15% of the population lives in urban areas, while the rest are scattered across rural regions. Credit: Bernard J McQueen via Reuters

    Is Papua New Guinea really as dangerous as people say?

    - Oct 9, 2018 6:12pm
    Recently I made a trip to Papua New Guinea, the remote southwestern Pacific island country that is due to host the 2018 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in November. Before I set out for the place,...
  • National Security Advisor John Bolton has been highly unorthodox and radical in his political stance and rhetoric, but probably those were the qualities US President Donald Trump was looking for, which is why he offered him the job. Photo: AFP

    Is John Bolton a time bomb in Trump administration?

    - Sep 28, 2018 12:52pm
    Ever since Steve Bannon left the White House, US National Security Advisor John Bolton has replaced him as the No. 1 madman in President Donald Trump’s governing team. And although Bolton has a pretty bad reputation...
  • US-Canada relations have come under great strain in recent months as Donald Trump engages in belligerent rhetoric on trade issues. Photo: Bloomberg

    Canada’s difficult choices in the Trump era

    - Sep 19, 2018 10:58am
    After Donald Trump took office as US president in January last year, the once brotherly ties between the United States and Canada have turned increasingly sour, with the two countries drifting apart and Canadian Prime Minister...
  • The French PSA Group has been quite aggressive in its bid to conquer the Iranian market. One of its brands, Peugeot, became the best seller in Iran in 2014. Photo: Bloomberg

    Trump threat thwarts European carmakers’ bid to conquer Iran

    - Sep 17, 2018 6:20pm
    US President Donald Trump has threatened to ban from the American market all companies that have business dealings with Iran. His threat has virtually thrown a monkey wrench into aggressive plans by major European automakers to...
  • Singaporean officials have made it clear they won't consider banning smoking in public housing flats, as suggested by a lawmaker. Photo: Bloomberg

    Proposal to ban smoking at home sparks hot debate in Singapore

    - Sep 14, 2018 6:25pm
    Smoking has been banned in public facilities and venues in Singapore for years. Recently, however, a lawmaker has proposed that the government also ban cigarette smoking in all public housing units, also known as “HDB flats”...
  • With Canada-US relations deteriorating, some observers have wondered whether pro-independence elements in Canada's French-speaking Quebec province will seek to take advantage of the situation. Photo: Bloomberg

    Does Quebec independence still have a market?

    - Sep 11, 2018 11:06am
    Relations between Canada and the United States have turned sour in the past two years, with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seemingly becoming the standard-bearer of the “libertarian united front” in North America, defending against onslaughts by...
  • Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger delivers a eulogy at the funeral of the late senator John McCain. Photo: Bloomberg

    A funeral for the traditional US political elite

    - Sep 7, 2018 6:24pm
    Before his death, the late US senator John McCain met frequently with his staff, advisors and close friends at the Capitol to plan for his own funeral. In his final days, McCain made it very clear...
  • John McCain was more than just a 'seasoned senator' or a 'former presidential candidate' in the American eye. Photo: Reuters

    John McCain and the ‘Old American Dream’ he stood for

    - Aug 30, 2018 11:38am
    John McCain, the seasoned US Republican senator from Arizona, died of brain cancer last Saturday. The veteran politician received a lot of tributes, and his death was recognized as the passing of an era. For evidence,...
  • Throughout modern history, El Salvador has always been uniquely unpredictable and not afraid of raising controversy when it comes to its foreign policy. Photo: Reuters

    Why El Salvador has always been a wild card in world diplomacy

    - Aug 29, 2018 11:17am
    Just as Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen was transiting in the United States on her official visit to South America, a major diplomatic setback struck: El Salvador suddenly announced that it has decided to break off diplomatic...
  • A man pushes a barrow near a steel plant in Smederevo, Serbia. Serbs feel they have been wrongly portrayed by the Western media over the years as invaders. Photo: Bloomberg

    The ‘persecution complex’ of the Serbs

    - Aug 28, 2018 11:27am
    Although Serbia is now ruled by a pro-Western government, and is applying for European Union, or perhaps even NATO, membership, there is still a kind of centuries-old “persecution complex” prevailing among the Serbs. Over the years, the...
  • Albania's tourist spots have attracted lots of Muslims. The country's Islamic background  will also help draw investments from other Muslim countries such as Turkey, Qatar and Iran. Photo:

    Why China-Albania relationship is warming up again

    - Aug 22, 2018 8:30am
    Ever since the outbreak of the Greek debt crisis, the ports of Greece have become beachheads for China to advance into Europe under its “One Belt, One Road” initiative. Meanwhile, Albania, which was once China’s closest...
  • San Marino has been able to survive the political chaos and foreign aggression in Europe over the centuries and still remains an undisputed sovereign state today. Photo: Reuters

    The political wisdom of San Marino

    - Aug 21, 2018 8:33am
    In a previous column, I noted that there are currently several tiny sovereign states scattered across Europe such as Liechtenstein that are fulfilling unique and irreplaceable roles as far as traditional European powers are concerned. Another...
  • Switzerland hasn’t witnessed any major social conflicts due to the rapid rise in Muslim population numbers, but authorities can’t take things for granted. Photo: Reuters

    Will Swiss see social tensions due to Muslim population growth?

    - Aug 20, 2018 9:00am
    I took a business trip to Switzerland recently, and what struck me most about the country this time was rapid growth of its Islamic population. However, since perception can be deceptive, we must refer to the...
  • In 1898, the Qing Empire leased Qingdao in Shandong to the German Empire. Today, the city still retains quite a few buildings of German architecture. Photo: Internet

    What if we had been a German colony?

    - Aug 15, 2018 11:04am
    The topic of this article might sound unreal and hypothetical, but the truth is, Hong Kong did see a lot of activities of the Germans back in the 19th and the early 20th centuries. Some readers...
  • Despite the reforms drive of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia is still a risky bet for global investors, observers say. Photo: Reuters

    Why it’s too early to place bets on Saudi reforms

    - Aug 10, 2018 11:07am
    Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) announced in June that it would include Saudi Arabia in its emerging markets index. The decision is widely regarded as being tantamount to a vote of confidence on the ongoing reform...
  • Liechtenstein has preserved many of the traditions of a typical medieval European royal court. Photo:

    Why mainland visitors flock to Liechtenstein

    - Aug 9, 2018 12:21pm
    I recently visited the tiny landlocked European country of Liechtenstein, which is only about twice the size of Hong Kong Island with a population of a little over 30,000, but which has risen to the top three...
  • Ciudad del Este has a flourishing black market where smuggling, trading of knockoffs, drugs and weapons, and even human trafficking are rampant. Photo: Bloomberg

    Ciudad del Este: Paraguay’s Hong Kong

    - Jul 31, 2018 10:56am
    Many people might think that Hong Kong is such a unique and one-of-a-kind city in the world. The truth is, there are quite a few other “Hong Kongs” scattered across the globe. Among them is Ciudad...
  • FIFA is going to expand the number of teams participating in the 2026 World Cup from 32 to 48. The tournament will be hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico. Photo: Internet

    Will new FIFA setup allow China to make it to 2026 World Cup?

    - Jul 23, 2018 12:26pm
    Last month, FIFA, the world’s governing body of football, awarded the right to host the 2026 World Cup to the United States, Canada and Mexico, whose joint bid defeated Morocco’s. While the outcome itself was hardly...

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