This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on Asia. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Standard Notes

02.10.2014Malaysia: the ruling coalition strikes back
In May 2013 elections, the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, led by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, won a majority of seats in parliament despite gaining only 47% of the vote. With his leadership under significant threat within UMNO, the dominant Malay party within the BN, since the 2013 elections Najib has launched a campaign of harassment of the political opposition and a focused anew on affirmative action for Malays. Longstanding sodomy charges have been revived against opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. Najib's reforming credentials currently look threadbare.
30.09.2014Universal suffrage to elect the next Chief Executive of Hong Kong in 2017: a legal primer
In August 2014 the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People's Congress decided that the next Chief Executive of Hong Kong should be directly elected in 2017 by universal suffrage. However, the candidates (expected to be two or three in total) will still have to be approved in advance by a nominating committee, whose composition and method of formation will remain unchanged from that of the 1200-person strong 'Election Committee' which elected the current Chief Executive in 2012. Critics argue that this nominating committee will have an in-built 'pro-Beijing' bias. The decision has triggered a wave of protest. This briefing summarises the legal context of recent events, including the UK's own obligations.
02.07.2014The post-2015 development goals
This Note explores what kind of framework might replace the Millennium Development Goals upon their expiry in 2015. It assesses reaction to the 'zero draft' of 17 new goals published by the Open Working Group in June 2014.
19.05.2014A 'democratic asteroid': India's elections
As so often in the past, India's electorate has sprung a surprise. The count on 16 May gave the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its presidential candidate, 62 year-old Narendra Modi, a convincing victory in the elections to India's lower house, the Lok Sabha. On a 66.38% turnout, the BJP won a majority of the seats - the first party to do so since 1984. Author and academic Sunil Khilnani described the outcome as 'a democratic asteroid.' For the Congress Party, the result is a disaster.
01.05.2014The US-Japan Security Treaty and the East China Sea
During a three day visit to Tokyo in late April 2014, US President Barack Obama confirmed that the islands in the East China Sea known as Senkaku by Japan and Diaoyu by China are covered by 1960 US-Japan Security Treaty, under which the US has pledged to come to Japan's defence if its territory is attacked. Some observers have argued that Obama's statements mark the first time a US president has clearly taken Japan's side over islands. However, President Obama stressed that this was "not a new position". His remarks come at a time of growing Japanese nervousness about the state of its longstanding alliance with the US.

Research Papers

06.12.2012Pakistan in 2013
2013 will be another important year for Pakistan. Federal and provincial elections will be held during the first half of the year. If, as seems increasingly likely, the Pakistan People's Party-led Government sees out its full term in office and hands over to a civilian successor, it will be the first time in Pakistan's history that this has happened. But the political and economic situation remains highly volatile and unpredictable.
14.12.2011Military balance in Southeast Asia
This paper examines the military balance of power in Southeast Asia and specifically at the military capabilities and priorities of six regional actors: Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Singapore.
14.12.2011Southeast Asia: A political and economic introduction
This paper provides a broad introduction to Southeast Asia. It offers key facts and figures about the region, followed by country studies of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. It then looks more analytically at two key issues for the region: democratisation and Islamist terrorism. It ends with a select bibliography.
22.06.2010The 'AfPak policy' and the Pashtuns
The first part of this paper focuses on the Pashtuns, beginning with a survey of the geographic, historical and cultural factors which have shaped Pashtun identities in Afghanistan and Pakistan before going on to describe the political and security arrangements under which they currently live. The paper then reviews the Pashtun armed militant groups currently operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The second part of the paper then looks at the US AfPak policy, setting out its origins and evolution before assessing the prospects for success over the coming year and beyond.
05.06.2009War and peace in Sri Lanka
This paper provides a brief historical and social survey of Sri Lanka, including the origins of the conflict between the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE. It then gives an account of developments since 2002, when a ceasefire was agreed and hopes were raised - rapidly to be dashed - that there might be a peaceful negotiated resolution of the conflict. The paper also surveys the stance taken by the international community on the conflict, the military capabilities of the Sri Lankan military, and aid and development issues. It concludes by considering Sri Lanka's future prospects, including assessing how real the Government's military victory is and whether genuine political and constitutional reforms are likely to be introduced.

Select Committee Reports

19.07.2011Trade and investment: China.
Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee report [Commons]
12.07.2011Humanitarian response to the Pakistan floods.International
Government response. International Development Select Committee; Department for International Development report [Commons]
27.04.2011Humanitarian response to the Pakistan floods.
International Development Select Committee report [Commons]
06.07.2010DFID's Programme in Nepal.
Government response. Department for International Development report [Commons]
09.03.2010Stars and dragons: the EU and China.
European Union Select Committee (HL) report [Lords]

Early Day Motions

That this House welcomes the continued increase in UK aid to Burma and the visit to Burma in 2011 by the Secretary of State for International Development; further welcomes political ...
That this House supports democracy and the rule of law; condemns the attempts by fringe elements in Bangladesh to undermine democracy and the rule of law through the use of violence; ...
That this House strongly condemns the Chinese security forces' unwarranted use of force including opening fire on unarmed demonstrators to quash peaceful protests in Tibet; is greatly ...
That this House is deeply concerned by recent events which have served to undermine the excellent relationship between India and the UK; notes that the Top Gear India Christmas Special, ...
That this House welcomes the steps taken by President Thein Sein to release some political prisoners, enter into ceasefire negotiations with armed ethnic groups and allow more political ...

Lords Library Notes

28.11.2011Debate on 1 December: International Development Policy and the Situation of Dalits
This Library Note provides an overview of the situation of Dalits in South Asia and looks at the issue of caste-based discrimination in India. It also examines the Government's international development policy for India, currently the largest recipient of UK development aid.
07.01.2011Debate on 13 January: Economic and Strategic Role of Turkey
This Library Note provides background reading for the debate on the economic and strategic role of Turkey in Europe and the Middle East.


  • Research Papers (RP) - briefings produced by the House of Commons Library on Bills, topical issues and regular statistics
  • Standard Notes (SN) - shorter, topical briefings from the Commons Library
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POST Notes - short briefing notes produced by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - papers compiled by the House of Lords Library on Bills and for debates in the Lords
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses