Mark R Thompson
Mark R Thompson
Mark R. Thompson is professor in the Department of Public and International Affairs at City University of Hong Kong, where he is also director of the Southeast Asia Research Centre.

Despite his ‘war on drugs’, attacks on media and ‘red-tagging’ of political opponents, Rodrigo Duterte is more commonly linked to People Power than thought.

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While he remains a popular leader, vows of upholding ‘discipline’ ring hollow when the poor go hungry, leaving Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte at a turning point in his presidency.

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Low-profile dealings with a Chinese company, selective prosecution of drug traffickers and targeting of political enemies suggest there may be less wholesome (and less populist) reasons for the Philippine president’s moves.

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Its brief foray into openness over, Asean appears to have returned to being a bloc of ‘strong leaders’, with democracies breaking down or becoming highly illiberal. Cronyism and incompetence among its strongmen is the only hope

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