Assignment Asia

Festivals

From the mountains of northern Pakistan to rodeo arenas in the central Philippines, this edition features festivals in Asia that are gaining popularity. With a history of terrorism and instability, Pakistan's northern region used to be an unlikely place for festivities. Today, however, an equestrian festival is attracting thousands of tourists ever year and exposing the region's natural beauty. Reporter Danial Khan traveled to Shandur, the so-called "roof of the world", to witness how polo is not only boosting tourism but also helping the region shed its troubled past. Rodeos have their roots in the West and Latin America, a competitive sport no would expect to see in Asia. But for more than two decades now, a province in the central Philippines with a growing cattle industry has been holding a yearly rodeo festival and made the tradition its own. Barnaby Lo visits Masbate and met the province's homegrown cowboys and cowgirls.

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Xinjiang: The Pains and Gains of Development

China is developing rapidly, fueled by decades of economic growth. But perhaps nowhere in the country is the process more complicated than in the far northwester region of Xinjiang, where the changes have affected people's long-held beliefs and traditions. Reporter Han Bin puts the spotlight on Xinjiang, where people are experiencing both the pains and the gains of development.

Art, Tradition, and Identity

Art serves different purposes, from expressing one's emotions and identity to portraying daily life and recording history. During the Ottoman era in Turkey, artists depicted reality and kept a record of events through a painting style with Islamic and Chinese influences. Although miniature painting has survived to this day, the art form is slowly dying and fewer people are patronizing it. In Istanbul, reporter Natalie Carney meets artists working hard to keep Ottoman miniature art alive and relevant. Lion dancing has been an important feature of Chinese culture for thousands of years.

Forced to Fight: Children On Myanmar's Battlefields

A conflict between government forces and various ethnic groups has raged in Myanmar since independence in 1948. The long-running civil war has not only displaced more than half a million people, but also forced the country's young into the front lines. Reporter Barnaby Lo travels to Myanmar's impoverished countryside, where young villagers tell stories of being abducted and coerced to work as soldiers either by the military or insurgents.

Protecting Endangered Wildlife

This edition of Assignment Asia takes you to the seas of the Philippines and the forests of Indonesia to highlight issues concerning the region's fragile wildlife. Whale shark tourism is a growing industry in the Philippines. It attracts thousands of visitors and generates millions of dollars in income every year. But environmentalists criticize the practice, saying excessive interaction with humans and the feeding of whale sharks are harming the endangered species.

Operation: Drug War

Since President Rodrigo Duterte took office and declared a war on drugs, hundreds of people have been killed in that "war". Authorities say most of the victims were killed by unknown assailants or have died in firefights with local police. Reporter Barnaby Lo takes viewers inside the brutal drug war in the Philippines, which has raised international concern over human rights violations and extrajudicial killings.