Mid January. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to wipe through Asia like a premature Monsoon season. But my clients tell me that Activists believe a different type of disease has been afflicted upon Asia – an abuse of power amongst governments during this crisis.
The coronavirus has been said to be used as a way for the hierarchy of power to implement stricter laws and follow through with controversial schemes. The governing bodies in Asia have been taking advantage of people’s desperation, in encouraging them to follow in their direction. The virus is the enemy, in a way that it gives governments the belief that they are allowed to pass oppressive laws in the name of fighting the pandemic. The Civicus report of 2020 declares that at least 26 countries within the Asian Pacific region have seen harsh legislation, and another 16 have seen the prosecution of human rights defenders. Bangladesh has shut down several critical websites of the government that accuse them of the spread of COVID “misinformation”. Activists in Nepal have said that their government has used the pandemic to persecute them. Myanmar has used the excuse of “terrorism” to account for mass restrictions on freedom of expression.