Trading rights for favors – Are Brunei’s new anti-LGBT laws all about pleasing Saudi Arabia?

Trading rights for favors – Are Brunei’s new anti-LGBT laws all about pleasing Saudi Arabia? Trading rights for favors – Are Brunei’s new anti-LGBT laws all about pleasing Saudi Arabia?

April 11, 20192 min read
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Brunei is now the first country in Southeast Asia to adopt a country-wide sharia penal code – this decision swiftly brought with it concern and condemnation from around leaders around the globe and organizations like Amnesty International.


The Sultan of Brunei laid down new and harsh anti-LGBT laws earlier this month that under a new penal code that now includes death by stoning for gay sex and adultery.  


But why so harsh and why now?


Brunei’s economy is faltering, and some are wondering if these moves are simply to curry favor and please countries like Saudi Arabia as it seeks distance from the dependence it has on China and America as trading partners.


University of Mary Washington’s Professor of Political Science and International affairs Elizabeth Freund Larus recently weighed in on the situation with media.


"Early measures included the 2015 ban on the celebration of Christmas and jail terms for homosexuality. The most recent measures announced Wednesday put some teeth into Brunei’s penal code." April 05 – MEAWW


Are you covering this topic? Do you need an expert to help explain the political and economic situation Brunei faces and what these measures may mean in the short and long term for the small country?


That’s where our experts can help.


Professor Larus teaches political science at the University of Mary Washington and is an #expert on China and the field of Asian studies.  She is available to speak to other media pursuing this this subject – simply click on her icon to arrange an interview.





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  • Elizabeth Larus
    Elizabeth Larus Professor, Political Science

    Dr. Larus is an expert in the politics of China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong

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