Assignment Asia

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. Reporter Barnaby Lo travels to Oslob and Donsol, two coastal towns with different ways of giving people close encounters with the gentle giants of the sea. The name "orangutan" literally means person of the forest. Yet in Indonesia, orangutans have lost their homes to deforestation over the years, and many have fallen victim to poachers. Faced with this problem, a nonprofit group has been rescuing orangutans and giving them refuge before releasing them into the wild. Reporter Silkina Ahluwalia goes to East Kalimantan on Borneo island, where rescued orangutans are having a new lease on life.

Full Episodes

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On The Move

In the first episode of Assignment Asia, the program features human stories of people forced to move. Refugees in Thailand and refugees moving east from Syria. Anchor Tony Cheng (former BBC and Al Jazeera television) tells the story of the Rohingya refugees and a group in Thailand trying to stop the exploitation of these people by human traffickers. Then - the program travels to the other end of Asia - to Turkey to profile a teenager helping Syrian refugee children work through the psychological damage of war.

Thailand's Missing Children

This week in a single topic episode, reporter Dusita Saokaew in Pattaya, Thailand tells the story of a mother's desperate search for her daughter. "Gigi" a 9 year old girl selling flowers on a street corner becomes a victim of a kidnapping. The case exposes the dark world of gangs and pedophilia in Thailand.


Chinese anchor Wang Mangmang reports on efforts to preserve the relics of Asia's past. First she takes us through Beijing neighborhoods where the "hutong" residences dating to the 14th century are in danger of disappearing. Efforts to preserve the heritage are profiled. Then Assignment Asia goes to Pakistan where Danial Khan takes us on a tour of the decaying antiquities of Lahore and efforts to restore some 16th century glory.

Gun Violence in the Philippines

The Philippines has gained a reputation for gangs, guns, drugs, and violence. Reporter Barnaby Lo in Manila takes us on an in depth investigation of guns and the debate over gun control in the island nation.