Ending China's one-child policy; healing Japan's and South Korea's past; India needs its religious leaders; Greece and Turkey can stabilize the region; Britain should help its asylum seekers

A round-up of global commentary for the Nov. 16, 2015 weekly magazine

Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters
Guan Junze and his grandparents take a souvenir picture in front of the Tiananmen Gate in Beijing on Monday. The ruling Communist Party said last week that Beijing would loosen its decades-old one-child policy. The plan for the change must be approved by the rubber-stamp parliament during its annual session in March.

China Daily / Beijing
Ending the one-child policy won’t solve China’s problems
The decision by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China to end the nation’s one-child policy “is not likely to make a big change in the trend of population growth. China will still face severe population challenges, including [shortage] of working-age population, distortion in population structure and unbalanced population growth...,” writes Mu Guangzong, a professor at the Population Research Institute of Peking University. “For women born in the 1980s, they are facing another fertility crisis. Although they are still in the best child-bearing age, many of them cannot afford or do not want to have a second child because of the huge cost of bringing up an ‘additional’ (second) child. In fact, the high cost of rearing a child has forced many a couple to stick to the one-child social norm, even if they are eligible to have a second child.”

The Asahi Shimbun / Tokyo
Japan and South Korea must heal their past
“[Japanese] Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-hye held their first direct bilateral meeting in Seoul on Nov. 2.... Abe and Park agreed to ‘accelerate negotiations in order to resolve the (comfort women) issue as soon as possible’.... There is one thing both sides should keep in mind as they seek progress on this issue,” states an editorial. “In their negotiations ..., Tokyo and Seoul must avoid focusing on defending national prestige. Instead, the two countries need to put the top priority on coming up with the best possible measures to heal the deep psychological wounds the harsh experiences left in these women.... Japan and South Korea need to return quickly to the normal state of their diplomatic relations, which means they must work together for the benefit of the people of the two countries....”

The Times of India / Chennai, India
India needs its religious leaders to speak up
“Where [have] India’s religious leaders and spiritual gurus gone? Religious leaders from around the world are speaking up, nudging government to act ambitiously on climate change, stressing on the moral dimension, calling on their followers to consider living in manner that is more responsible. But in India, the famed land of saints and seers, the men and women of faith remain silent...,” writes Urmi A Goswami. “Religious leaders don’t determine public policy. Neither should they. But they are important and powerful agents of change. They can nudge people to behave in more responsible ways, from being more mindful about how we use scarce resources like water to keeping our neighbourhoods clean. The possibilities are immense.”

Hürriyet Daily News / Istanbul, Turkey
Greece and Turkey can bring stability with humanitarian aid
“[I]n the eastern corner of the Mediterranean, positive developments have been taking place in the talks between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.... If the opportunity to solve the Cyprus problem doesn’t become a missed one again, plenty of opportunities for peaceful cooperation would emerge in the region...,” write Sylvia Tiryaki and Dimitris Rapidis. “In fact, in a highly interconnected environment with many issues at stake, not only Greece, Turkey or [the entire European Union], but all should try to see the bright side of cooperation that might start with humanitarian aid.... [I]t might certainly be the first step towards prosperity and peace in the wider region.”

The Guardian / London
Why Britain should help young asylum seekers
“The UK should be using all diplomatic channels to find a peaceful, long-term solution to end the insecurity and instability in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. But right now families with hungry, tired, wet and cold children are sleeping outdoors in Greece, Croatia and Slovenia with only the clothes on their backs...,” writes Gulwali Passarlay. “Isn’t Europe supposed to be a beacon of all that is right?... [W]ill abandoning young asylum seekers ... turn them into better British citizens in the long term? Or could an increase in support services actually save money by turning out useful members of society like me?”

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