( August 16, 2014, Hong Kong SAR, Sri Lanka Guardian) “Interestingly, among the Hong Kong political elites who agreed that there was validity to the concept of distinct Asian values, there was significant disagreement as to what such values actually meant. The affirmative sample broke into three groups,” argued Bob Beatty in his latest paper exclusively published in the latest issue of Torture: Asian and Global perspective as the cover story.

Dr. Bob Beatty is a Professor of Political Science at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. He is the author of, “Democracy, Asian Values, and Hong Kong: Evaluating Political Elite Beliefs.

The cover story is based on the seventeen years following the handover of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Hong Kong S.A.R.) which is celebrated this year, as it is every year, on July 1, 2014, where hundred thousands of people took into the street revealing the power of democracy.

“In contrast to Lee Kuan Yew and some other Asian leaders and elites, Hong Kong politicians largely endorsed the importance of civil liberties, freedom of the press, freedom to protest, and the rule of law for Hong Kong. They also articulated a democratic vision for Hong Kong which featured competitive political parties, full universal suffrage and the direct election of all Legco members and the Chief Executive. Most importantly, my interviews showed that there political elites of all stripes do not debate the ultimate goal of full democracy for Hong Kong. The democratic debate in Hong Kong is over pace, not suitability. This important finding meant, and means, that it is unlikely that Hong Kong’s democratization process will stop before full democracy is attained. Hong Kong politicians differ greatly on Hong Kong’s democratization pace, but not that it should be done. In short, Hong Kong values have only been strengthened in the last seventeen years, and those values, despite Beijing’s recalcitrance – maybe because of it – will continue to demand that Hong Kong remain a unique and become more democratic,” he observed.

Meanwhile, talking to the torture magazine John Roosa, Professor of History at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and a well-known scholar on South East Asia discussed the historical evaluation during the 1965-66 period in Indonesia.

“I think there are a variety of reasons for the continuing refusal to open up a discussion about the 1965-66 violence, much less hold a truth commission about it,” Roosa said in an interview with a member of our editorial team, Answer Styannes.

“One reason is that officers like Suyanto, drilled in Suharto-era propaganda, are not sure what happened, and are worried that any open discussion will reveal the inconsistencies in the stories of the perpetrators. The Suharto regime was silent on the killings and never issued a clear official story; there was no party line,” he added.

Meanwhile, Jesselyn Radack is a former ethics adviser to the United States Department of Justice who came to prominence as a whistleblower, talked to us about the importance of whistleblowing and recent developments in the case of Edward Snowden.

“International asylum law supports Snowden”, she said in an interview with Natalie Yeung.

Melanie Klinkner and Howard Davis from the Bournemouth University where they presented the latest developments and challenges of the International Criminal Court.

“Neither the Rome Statute nor the accompanying documents include express reference to the right to truth. Nevertheless both judges and the Prosecutor have clear truth seeking obligations under the Statute and these warrant an exploration of the extent to which they should be developed so as to give effect to the victim’s right to truth,” they argued.

Apart from the main stories we featured papers written by Mandira Sharama, a human rights defender based in Kathmandu, Nepal, on the situation in Nepal, Ben Kiernan, A. Whitney

Griswold, Professor of History at the Yale University, Jan Ole Haagensen, Chairman of NUNCA MAS – International Network on Human Rights and Psycho- Social Response, Denmark.

In our ground report, the real situation in Brazil is discussed by Vik Birkbeck based in Rio de Janeiro.

An introducing feature of the issue is Beyond the Tiewig, a critical observation on a judgment made by the courts. In this issue Bijo Francis, human rights lawyer and the executive director of the Asian Human Rights Commission makes an analysis of a judgment made by the High Court, Kerala, India.

Read the online version of the issue

Torture: Asian and Global Perspectives is a bi-monthly magazine which focuses on torture and its related issues globally. Writers interested in having their research on this subject published, may submit their articles to torturemag@ahrc.asia