Education About Asia: Online Archives

Asian Factoids: Winter 2001

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India: Population Statistics

Population: 1,029,991,145 (July 2001 est.)

Age Structure: 0–14 years: 33.12% (male 175,630,537; female 165,540,672)
15–64 years: 62.2% (male 331,790,850; female 308,902,864)
65 years and over: 4.68% (male 24,439,022; female 23,687,200)
(2001 est.)

Population Growth Rate: 1.55% (2001 est.)

Infant Mortality Rate: 63.19 deaths/1,000 live births (2001 est.)

Life Expectancy at Birth: total population: 62.86 years male: 62.22 years female: 63.53 years

Ethnic groups: Indo-Aryan: 72% Dravidian: 25% Mongoloid and other: 3% (2000)

Source: CIA—World Factbook—India, www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/html

India: Religions, Languages, and Literacy

Religions: Hindu 81.3%, Muslim 12%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.9%, other groups (including Buddhist, Jain, Parsi) 2.5% (2000).

Languages: English enjoys associate status but is the most important language for national, political, and commercial com­munication. Hindi, the national language and primary tongue of 30 percent of the people, Bengali (official), Telugu (offi­cial), Marathi (official), Tamil (official), Urdu (official), Gujarati (official), Malayalam (official), Kannada (official), Oriya (official), Punjabi (official), Assamese (official), Kashmiri (official), Sindhi (official), Sanskrit (official), Hin­dustani (a popular variant of Hindu/Urdu spoken widely throughout northern India).

Note: 24 languages each spoken by a million or more persons; numerous other languages and dialects.

Literacy (definition: age 15 and over who can read and write): total population: 52%; male: 65.5%, female: 37.7% (1995 est).

Source: CIA—World Factbook—India, www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/html

Basic Facts About Bhutan

Geography: Bhutan is a landlocked country. It is about 47,000 kilometers, roughly the size of Switzerland. It is located between Tibet in the north, the Indian states of West Bengal and Assam in the south, and Arunachal Pradesh in the east.

History: Though known as Bhutan to the outside world, to the Bhutanese the coun­try is known as Druk Yul, “land of the thunder dragon.” The people are known as the Drukpas.

Religion: The State religion is Drukpa Kagyupa, a branch of Mahayana Bud­dhism. It has been institutionalized in the Dratshang (Central Monk body), headed by the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot), who is chosen from among the most learned lamas and enjoys an equal rank with the King. Bhutan is the only country in the world to have adopted Mahayana Bud­dhism in the Tantric form as its official religion.

The Buddhist faith has played and con­tinues to play a fundamental role in the cultural, ethical, and sociological devel­opment of Bhutan and its people. It per­meates all strands of secular life.

Source: www.bootan.com/bhutan.htm

Entreprenurial Activity in North Korea?

In May 2001 North Korean leader Kim Jong Il visited the Shanghai stock market. In July he had talks with leading Russian capitalists.

The North Korean Military has been described by one defector as the country’s biggest “foreign exchange earner.” Begin­ning in spring 2001 servicemen have been made to engage in a variety of export-focused projects such as mushroom harvesting, gold mining, medicinal-herb collection and crab fishing.

The ruling Korean Worker’s Party is apparently operating more than 40 restau­rants in six countries in order to procure hard currency.

The Dongkong Foreign Trade Corporation in the Chinese city of Dandong near the North Korean border acquired in Sep­tember the exclusive right to sell North Korean medicines in the international mar­ket. The medicines include a brand called Cheongchun No. 1, which is a home-made North Korean version of Viagra.

Source: Far Eastern Economic Review, October 25, 2001, p. 61

Revisiting Japan’s Experience with Chemical Terrorism

The Aum Shinrikyo religious cult released sarin poison gas on three Tokyo subway lines on the morning of March 20, 1995, killing twelve people and injuring about 4,000.

The Hibiya, Chiyoda, and Marunouchi subway lines cross at only one point, Kasumigaseki, the nerve center of the Japanese bureaucracy.

The sarin attack was an attempt by Aum Shinrikyo to thwart a police raid on the compound.

Despite this experience, Japanese security officials admit the U.S. is far more advanced in research relative to chemical and biological warfare.

Atsuyuki Sassa, former counselor of the Criminal Investigation Bureau of Japan’s National Police Agency, claims “Japan’s political leaders think it (biological/chemi­cal terrorism) will never happen again. It’s a fool’s paradise.

Source: Oriental Economist, November 2001, pp. 5–6