Cheat Sheet: Global Issues


Two of the most pressing, and also most debated, topics right now revolved around two very different countries: Myanmar and China. In this article, we provide a brief overview of the events happening in the respective countries, along with recommended reading on the topics.


The world has a myriad of problems and dilemmas, all of which can and will come up in World Schools Debate. Still, there are two main issues that many topics this year cover. This article will provide a quick introduction to both of the issues as well as a few places to learn about each topic. Note, these are vastly complex topics, so we would highly recommend looking more into them if you get a chance.


What is happening in Myanmar?


Overview

Myanmar is a former British colony in Southeast Asia. It became independent in 1948 and was under the control of the military Junta from their coup in 1962 until 2011. The country began a transition to democracy led by Nobel Prize Winner Aung San Suu Kyi. Still, the military maintained a high degree of power and eventually reseized power in a 2021 coup. Further, even during the democratic period, Myanmar was under international scrutiny for committing ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya Muslim population. The Muslim minority in the majority Buddhist country faced violence and killings that lead many to flee to neighboring Bangladesh.


Further Reading

Introduction to Rohingya Genocide: https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/rohingya-crisis

Introduction to 2021 Coup: https://www.vox.com/22260076/myanmar-coup-military-suu-kyi-explain


What is happening in China?


Overview

The most populated country in the world has been controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), since the Chinese Civil War of 1949. They are still in control, but the manufacturing center of the world might be better described as authoritarian than communist. Currently, Xi Jinping is leading China through a period of stronger geopolitical aggression than recently seen. One aspect of this increased role has been their “Belt and Road Initiative,” in which they have provided loans to developing nations to build infrastructure projects. Critics call this a predatory way of increasing their economic power, but others argue that the infrastructure building will save lives and revitalize impoverished nations. Additionally, China is currently undergoing an ethnic cleansing and “reeducation” of their Uighur Muslim population, which many human rights experts have described as a genocide. Further, they have received international criticism for their treatment of Hong Kong, a former British Colony that had been given back to mainland China in the 1990s.. The former democratic island is now facing authoritarian crackdowns by their new government. Other important aspects of China’s recent actions include their relations with Taiwan, the South China Sea and trade wars. In most actions, China can be seen as a country attempting to increase its power and hegemony. The implications of this often become the center of many debates.


Further Reading

Introduction to Uighur Genocide: https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/chinas-repression-uyghurs-xinjiang

Introduction to Hong Kong: https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/hong-kong-freedoms-democracy-protests-china-crackdown

Introduction to Taiwanese Relations: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-34729538

Introductions to Belt and Road Initiative:

https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/chinas-massive-belt-and-road-initiative

https://www.vox.com/2018/4/6/17206230/china-trade-belt-road-economy


For more information on the content discussed in this article, please visit our World Schools Resource page.