February 2024

Huge challenges in cyberspace

Dear Editor,

It was fascinating, not to mention very concerning, to read Yvonne Gill’s impeccably researched and highly informative article on cyber-attacks by China on the United States and its allies (‘Cyber warriors on the prowl’, Jan. 2024 issue).

Although such intrusions are not new to the world, the scale of them today has taken on frightening proportions. This is all the more alarming in light of the increasing interconnectedness of various infrastructures– military and civilian, social, financial and political, as Gill points out – which are crucial to both the security and economic wellbeing of any nation, as well as its health services. The spread of ‘fake information during […] conflict situation[s]’ that Gill highlights also flags up the less direct but no less serious dangers of mass psychological manipulation through the spread of disinformation.

Surely, therefore, it is imperative that the global community takes urgent action to fully comprehend and address the various tactics used by Chinese cyber actors, as well as to make concerted efforts to detect and prevent intrusions, and respond to and recover from such incidents. There is a need to invest in effective cybersecurity measures, including the training of ever more people in this field of expertise.

As a coda, this is not in any way to suggest that China is the only country that engages in cyber-attacks or espionage. But in its strong desire to project its power globally, and its growing technological prowess, it is a rival about whom the world must be constantly vigilant.

Rachel Highgrove



Keeping it real

Hats off to your editorial in the January 2024 issue of Asian Affairs (‘Taiwan: Pragmatism at the Polls?’), which  hits the nail on the head with itsdismissal of the‘fanciful nonsense’ that various political players bandy about, and which are far more of a hindrance than a help to global peace and security.

The focus on ‘Indo-Pacific pragmatism’, that is, ‘the region’s tendency to prioritise head over heart and trade and wealth-creation over values and ideology’ cannot be over-stated, with regard to Taiwan and, indeed, any other country. Since it is hard to see any solution to bridging the vast differences between favoured forms of governance, religious beliefs and certain social norms, is there really any option but toturn attention to the interests that we as humans do have in common?

I wish the people of Taiwan luck in their coming election. They, unlike so many political elites, may make wise choices.

Colin R. Sinclair

Vancouver, Canada


That’s just cricket!

Thank you for publishing MJ Akbar’s wonderfully vivid account of the India v Australia cricket match, which brought that game back to life in the retelling, with all its high-octane drama and almost kinetic energy of its language. This had it all: analysis, humour, pathos, and the exquisite pain (for Indian cricket fans) of an unhappy ending.

SM Kochar

West London

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