chapter  1
13 Pages

Violence in Asian borderlands

WithReece Jones

As the state system was formalized in Asia after decolonization, the purpose of most borders shifted from military defensive lines to markers of territorial sovereignty that did not require substantial security infrastructure. In the era of globalization, the purpose of borders shifted again to become lines to prevent the movement of the poor and others perceived to be threats. As restricting the movement of individuals became the primary purpose of some borders, these states have invested in security infrastructure at borderlines including the construction of walls, roads, and floodlights, the implementation of high-technology surveillance systems, and the deployment of border guards and soldiers to patrol for unauthorized movements. While some borders in Asia remain open and lightly guarded, at others the result of the militarization and securitization of borders is an increase in civilian deaths as migrants are forced to make more arduous journeys and to attempt to cross borders in more dangerous sites. This chapter theorizes the shift toward hardened borders in Asia and documents the violence at borders that results.