Oceania and the Red Rock Curtain

The politics of Australia turned increasingly inward-looking and nationalist in the first two decades of the 21st Century. Following a series of victories for the far-right Ironbark Party, a coalition of several isolationist and right-wing groups, Australia had by 2015 tightened its border controls, cut ties with other states and restricted trade to the point that it has become common to refer to the “Red Rock Curtain”. Only a few countries still maintain embassies in Canberra after a series of “terrorist” attacks, poorly-investigated by the government, against diplomats and foreign businessmen.

The rare foreigner who does gain a travel permit speaks of military police in every city; claustrophobically tight restrictions on trade and travel; and mandatory public displays of loyalty for the Party. Since the official diplomatic presence from Australia always takes great care to be well-behaved on national television, such stories are often dismissed as sensationalism. However, refugees - escaping usually through Papua New Guinea or New Zealand, both states which maintain an uneasy lack of control over the smuggling of material and human contraband through their sea routes through the Curtain - and the occasional white-hat bright enough to break through the extensive web censorship clamped across the country, whisper dark stories of internment camps, summary executions and mass graves.

Malay Archipelago

The Malay archipelago has increasingly looked inwards over the last decade, with old tensions between Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore decreasing as the region's appetite for technological and economic development sharpens. Much of the region is riding the crest of a thriving trade in military consultancy and training, with most of the world's premier security and risk management firms sending their best operatives to the area to complete their training.

The islands, meanwhile, particularly the Philippines and Samoa, have suffered from a series of natural disasters that have risked crippling their burgeoning economies. In the face of such terrible loss, human ingenuity has risen to the fore. Banks of tidal barriers, high-tech seismic warning systems and ever more sophisticated “earthquake-proof” construction experiments are rising up across the archipelago, with many corporations from nearby MEDCs using the area as a test bed for new technologies.

The vast biodiversity of the region has also attracted increasing notice in recent years. Several biotechnology and pharmaceutical startups and more established firms are thriving on new discoveries from the land and ocean of the islands, which sensationalists report as boasting everything from more robust breeds of farmed seafood to potential cancer cures.

Indian Subcontinent

Est. Pop: 1.6 Billion
GDP (India): $2,104 Billion

While many of the neighbouring states have suffered frequent unrest, martial law and coups - Bhutan in 2012, Pakistan in 2015 and again in 2017 - the government of India itself has maintained remarkable stability in the face of border unrest. The spectre of the Tigers regularly raises its head in Sri Lanka, but increasingly more central to the region's people is the issue of corruption. It is sometimes estimated that between one-quarter and one-third of the Indian national government are under investigation for bribery at any one time.

Many groups, often with nationalist or extremist ties, take advantage of the regular scandal to reduce confidence in the government. Organised crime and terrorism are rife, and with increased migration from rural areas, the inner cities of Delhi and Mumbai are beginning to resemble warzones.


Population: 131,624,000 (Approx)

GDP: $5,221 Billion

Tennō: Naruhito
Prime Minister: Tanaka Mochiyo

Tanaka Mochiyo's appointment and confirmation by the newly crowned Emperor Naruhito in 2018 was highly controversial; with long service in the Japan Self-Defense Forces, she did not meet the requirement that Japanese premiers must be civilians. However, this requirement was overturned - some say “ignored” - in the face of overwhelming (and remarkably bipartisan) support from both chambers of the Diet.

Tanaka is reserved and quietly charismatic in public, steering a moderate course between the further extremes of her own LDP and the DPJ. Seen by many as a compromise candidate, little is known about her private life; her political career before the election campaign was frankly unremarkable, although she did serve as Minister for Science and Technology for several years in the previous Prime Minister's cabinet.


North Korea continues much as ever: insular, secretive, sealed and somehow still getting away with irregular nuclear tests. South Korea, while still holding to the party line in public, is suffering from a growing disgruntlement - especially among the younger, computer-literate populace - at being seen as a puppet of the United States.

A lack of information coming out of the borders of North Korea makes it almost as hot a topic for rumour and speculation as Australia. Whether food shortages, genetic experimentation, secret technologies or even a hidden space programme, the sealed state is a rich and fertile ground for conspiracy theorists everywhere.


The economy of Indochina is bolstered greatly by tourism. Of particular interest to the discerning researcher - local or foreign - are the recent archaeological discoveries in Laos and Cambodia; the ruins uncovered are supposedly even more elaborate than Ankgor Wat, and far more ancient.

Coming out of the rich jungles, too, are periodic rumours about cryptids; Batutut, Cambodian Lions and Naga are becoming the new Bigfoot for the discerning cryptozoologist. These rumours seem to have skyrocketed in popularity over the last decade - some connect this to greater Net access for the local population, while others blame something more sinister at work.

asiapacific.txt · Last modified: 2009/10/07 13:00 by gareth
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