Sick man of Asia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The phrase "sick man of Asia" or "sick man of East Asia" originally referred to China in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when it was riven by internal divisions and taken advantage by the great powers through force, into a series of Unequal Treaties, culminating in the Japanese invasion of China during World War II. The phrase was intended as a parallel to "sick man of Europe", referring to the weakening Ottoman Empire during the same period.[1] Like the "sick man of Europe" term, it has also been used to refer to numerous other Asian countries.

In 2009, Foreign Policy magazine's Michael Auslin, referred to Japan as "The Sick Man of Asia."[2]

In 2014 at the Euromoney Philippines Investment Forum 2014, President Benigno Aquino III of the Philippines publicly defended his country from being labelled as the new "sick man of Asia", citing a Japan External Trade Organization survey that showed "the Philippines as the second most profitable among ASEAN-5 countries, next to Thailand."[3] Reasons for the perceptions Aquino was defending against include its unequal growth and massive poverty, in which from 2000 to 2006 its nominal income grew by 37% while its Gini coefficient only fell by 5%.[4] Another cause for the "Sick Man" label includes massive Filipino political corruption scandals such as the Priority Development Assistance Fund scam.

Also in 2014, Thailand was reported that "the country is in danger of inheriting the Sick Man of Asia tag" by the Bloomberg news agency.[5] Specifically, Frederic Neumann, co-head of Asian research at HSBC Holdings Plc in Hong Kong, argued that “Countries like Vietnam and the Philippines are snapping at its heels and may overtake Thailand if the fundamental political challenges are not resolved”.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Scott, David (2008). China and the international system, 1840-1949: power, presence, and perceptions in a century of humiliation. State University of New York Press. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-7914-7627-7. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Lopez, Ron (Feb 18, 2014). "Aquino: Philippines ‘Sick Man of Asia’ no more". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved 19 June 2014. 
  4. ^ NSO. Philippines in Figures 2010. Philippines: Republic of the Philippines National Statistics Office. 2010.
  5. ^ Yap, Karl Lester (May 28, 2014). "Thailand Risks Inheriting Asia’s Sick-Man Tag on Unrest". Bloomberg. Retrieved 19 June 2014. 
  6. ^ Yap, Karl Lester (May 28, 2014). "Thailand Risks Inheriting Asia’s Sick-Man Tag on Unrest". Bloomberg. Retrieved 19 June 2014.