Philip Bowring

Philip Bowring has been based in Asia for 39 years writing on regional financial and political issues. He has been a columnist for the South China Morning Post since the mid-1990s and for the International Herald Tribune from 1992 to 2011. He also contributes regularly to the Wall Street Journal, www.asiasentinel.com, a website of which he is a founder, and elsewhere. Prior to 1992 he was with the weekly Far Eastern Economic Review, latterly as editor.
Philip Bowring
Philip Bowring has been based in Asia for 39 years writing on regional financial and political issues. He has been a columnist for the South China Morning Post since the mid-1990s and for the International Herald Tribune from 1992 to 2011. He also contributes regularly to the Wall Street Journal, www.asiasentinel.com, a website of which he is a founder, and elsewhere. Prior to 1992 he was with the weekly Far Eastern Economic Review, latterly as editor.

Latest from Philip Bowring

Opinion | Duterte’s proposal to change the Philippines’ name highlights the vexed history of place nomenclature

History complicates the choice of place names while sensitivities to certain designations seem to vary with political expediency.

18 Feb 2019 - 11:36AM

History complicates the choice of place names while sensitivities to certain designations seem to vary with political expediency.

Duterte’s proposal to change the Philippines’ name highlights the vexed history of place nomenclature
Opinion | Short of a budget deficit shock, here’s how to ensure Hong Kong spends money more wisely

Years of huge surpluses have allowed government incompetence to continue unchecked, wasting money on needless capital investment. With budget season coming around again, here are four measures to improve this year’s plan.

13 Jan 2019 - 2:06PM

Years of huge surpluses have allowed government incompetence to continue unchecked, wasting money on needless capital investment. With budget season coming around again, here are four measures to improve this year’s plan.

Short of a budget deficit shock, here’s how to ensure Hong Kong spends money more wisely
Opinion | The Huawei fail: why is China hitting back at Canada, instead of uniting the world against US hypocrisy?

The Huawei arrest is a wasted opportunity for China. It could have used the case to ally with countries that resent the US’ Iran sanctions. Instead, the way it is going after Canada smacks of thuggery and nationalism.

23 Dec 2018 - 2:00AM

The Huawei arrest is a wasted opportunity for China. It could have used the case to ally with countries that resent the US’ Iran sanctions. Instead, the way it is going after Canada smacks of thuggery and nationalism.

The Huawei fail: why is China hitting back at Canada, instead of uniting the world against US hypocrisy?
What do Vietnam, the US-China trade war, Brexit and Lantau reclamation all have in common? They show what happens when leaders need to look tough

From Iran to Vietnam and now China, US leaders keep making bad decisions rather than looking weak. But the US isn’t alone: Britain’s Brexiteers and Carrie Lam’s artificial island scheme show signs of the same malady.

24 Nov 2018 - 6:33PM

From Iran to Vietnam and now China, US leaders keep making bad decisions rather than looking weak. But the US isn’t alone: Britain’s Brexiteers and Carrie Lam’s artificial island scheme show signs of the same malady.

What do Vietnam, the US-China trade war, Brexit and Lantau reclamation all have in common? They show what happens when leaders need to look tough
Opinion | A slow death for Hong Kong’s separate identity in China

The city’s cherished freedoms and rule of law are under serious threat, amid pressure – now exacerbated by intense US-China confrontation – for it to integrate with the mainland and demonstrate loyalty to Beijing.

24 Oct 2018 - 7:35PM

The city’s cherished freedoms and rule of law are under serious threat, amid pressure – now exacerbated by intense US-China confrontation – for it to integrate with the mainland and demonstrate loyalty to Beijing.

A slow death for Hong Kong’s separate identity in China
Carrie Lam’s policy plan boldly follows the government’s tradition of protecting the status quo

The few good ideas proposed by Lam, such as revising tunnel toll fees, should have been put in place long ago. Meanwhile, many of Hong Kong’s perennial problems touching on government and business interests were, once again, left untouched.

20 Oct 2018 - 6:40PM

The few good ideas proposed by Lam, such as revising tunnel toll fees, should have been put in place long ago. Meanwhile, many of Hong Kong’s perennial problems touching on government and business interests were, once again, left untouched.

Carrie Lam’s policy plan boldly follows the government’s tradition of protecting the status quo
Opinion | Is Hong Kong prepared to pay the price for undermining its freedoms?

Any advantages that the authorities may gain from outlawing the Hong Kong National Party will not outweigh the costs of damaging the city’s reputation as a protector of freedoms.

29 Sep 2018 - 9:11PM

Any advantages that the authorities may gain from outlawing the Hong Kong National Party will not outweigh the costs of damaging the city’s reputation as a protector of freedoms.

Is Hong Kong prepared to pay the price for undermining its freedoms?
Independence today? History instructs, but don’t take seriously the ‘what ifs’ of the past and future

While national borders are fluid over time, from Europe to the Middle East and Asia, the study of history should not blind us to present realities. Today’s national leaders, in particular, should heed the lessons of why empires rise and fall.

18 Aug 2018 - 6:50PM

While national borders are fluid over time, from Europe to the Middle East and Asia, the study of history should not blind us to present realities. Today’s national leaders, in particular, should heed the lessons of why empires rise and fall.

Independence today? History instructs, but don’t take seriously the ‘what ifs’ of the past and future
Opinion | America has lost our trust. We must speak up – and retaliate

Under Donald Trump, the US has turned its back on the values and principles it has long stood for, including free trade and international cooperation. It’s time to stand up to Trump’s assault.

14 Jul 2018 - 6:42PM

Under Donald Trump, the US has turned its back on the values and principles it has long stood for, including free trade and international cooperation. It’s time to stand up to Trump’s assault.

America has lost our trust. We must speak up – and retaliate
Hong Kong’s future lies beyond the Greater Bay Area, though it’s not what the government would have us believe

Instead of hanging onto the coattails of tech leader Shenzhen, Hong Kong needs a clear-eyed look at its competitive advantages.

29 Sep 2018 - 2:36PM

Instead of hanging onto the coattails of tech leader Shenzhen, Hong Kong needs a clear-eyed look at its competitive advantages.

Hong Kong’s future lies beyond the Greater Bay Area, though it’s not what the government would have us believe
Can Malaysia’s new government root out corruption and ensure justice is served?

Malaysia’s new government faces many challenges, not least a legacy of systemic sleaze as well as economic malaise, ethnic tensions, relations with China and the potential for internal dissent.

23 May 2018 - 8:11PM

Malaysia’s new government faces many challenges, not least a legacy of systemic sleaze as well as economic malaise, ethnic tensions, relations with China and the potential for internal dissent.

Can Malaysia’s new government root out corruption and ensure justice is served?
Hong Kong must face down golf club elite. Much more is at stake than land for housing

The inequity of a private club occupying 170 hectares of prime residential land, at a time when the city is acutely short of affordable housing, should be clear to the government.

12 May 2018 - 6:12PM

The inequity of a private club occupying 170 hectares of prime residential land, at a time when the city is acutely short of affordable housing, should be clear to the government.

Hong Kong must face down golf club elite. Much more is at stake than land for housing
China’s national anthem and territorial borders are not timeless and unchanging

History has a more nuanced tale to tell of both China’s anthem and its territorial boundaries.

10 Jan 2019 - 2:42PM

History has a more nuanced tale to tell of both China’s anthem and its territorial boundaries.

China’s national anthem and territorial borders are not timeless and unchanging
Hong Kong budget highlights: no coherent fiscal policy and more half-baked ideas about innovation

This year’s budget is again full of handouts and discretionary funding for different sectors, but where’s the effort to ensure a more sustainable fiscal system?

3 Mar 2018 - 7:47PM

This year’s budget is again full of handouts and discretionary funding for different sectors, but where’s the effort to ensure a more sustainable fiscal system?

Hong Kong budget highlights: no coherent fiscal policy and more half-baked ideas about innovation
Hong Kong’s rule of law is riddled with loopholes and arbitrary application

The controversy surrounding Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng points to the underlying bias in the drafting and application of regulations that bolsters the interests of the rich and powerful in Hong Kong.

20 Jul 2018 - 8:47PM

The controversy surrounding Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng points to the underlying bias in the drafting and application of regulations that bolsters the interests of the rich and powerful in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s rule of law is riddled with loopholes and arbitrary application
To fight income inequality in Hong Kong, take on the property development cartel

The problem of Hong Kong’s income inequality can’t be solved without taking on development cartels and addressing runaway home prices, and suggests raising rates and phasing out interest relief.

20 Jul 2018 - 8:47PM

The problem of Hong Kong’s income inequality can’t be solved without taking on development cartels and addressing runaway home prices, and suggests raising rates and phasing out interest relief.

To fight income inequality in Hong Kong, take on the property development cartel
China should beware the dangers of race-based nationalism

The rules of citizenship in Hong Kong that favour ethnic Chinese and which are particularly unfair to its foreign workers reflect a prejudice that is unworthy of China, given its past suffering at the hands of imperialist powers

20 Jul 2018 - 2:55PM

The rules of citizenship in Hong Kong that favour ethnic Chinese and which are particularly unfair to its foreign workers reflect a prejudice that is unworthy of China, given its past suffering at the hands of imperialist powers

China should beware the dangers of race-based nationalism
Trump’s Asia tour reinforced America’s declining influence, but China still has reason to worry
Unlike Xi Jinping, Carrie Lam fails to deliver when it matters

While the initiatives announced may have some positive effect, none really tackles the major problems Hong Kong faces in housing, urban planning, environmental management and technological development. Nor do they spur economic innovation

20 Jul 2018 - 2:55PM

While the initiatives announced may have some positive effect, none really tackles the major problems Hong Kong faces in housing, urban planning, environmental management and technological development. Nor do they spur economic innovation

Unlike Xi Jinping, Carrie Lam fails to deliver when it matters
From Trump’s America to communist China, contempt for history is on the rise

Beyond fake news, there’s a wider trend of people in power ignoring or excising bits of history to suit their own purposes. The North Korean nuclear crisis is one consequence of such disregard for facts

20 Jul 2018 - 2:55PM

Beyond fake news, there’s a wider trend of people in power ignoring or excising bits of history to suit their own purposes. The North Korean nuclear crisis is one consequence of such disregard for facts

From Trump’s America to communist China, contempt for history is on the rise
Go directly to jail: how Hong Kong courts are teaching a lesson on the rules of the game
Why the Trump presidency may seem like a joke, but poses grave dangers for world peace
How Carrie Lam can boldly lead the change Hong Kong needs
From vegetarianism to full-face burqas: the perils of setting norms in a globalised world
How ignorance undermines Hong Kong’s claim to be going global
The small, tight circle that runs Hong Kong
Hong Kong plods along, with or without Leung at the helm
Low expectations may be the key to a happy 2017
With Trump’s rise, China must now lead in preserving the economic world order
Duterte’s foul-mouthed rants mask the real issues, and reflect poorly on his nation