ASIA NEWS BITES: Chinese Student Apologizes after US Speech; Martial Law in Southern Philippines; Taiwan Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

ASIA NEWS BITES: Chinese Student Apologizes after US Speech; Martial Law in Southern Philippines; Taiwan Same-Sex Marriage Ruling
Photo credit: Trevor Rez @ Youtube

What you need to know

A quick roundup of the most important news from around the region.

China:

A Chinese student has apologized after she referred in public to breathing "the fresh air" of free speech after arriving to study in the United States, sparking a storm of online criticism and abuse. - Radio Free Asia

Chinese officials have refused to deny a weekend report in The New York Times claiming that the Chinese government has systematically dismantled CIA spy operations in China since 2010, while state media lauded the unverified report as a victory for Chinese counterintelligence. - Radio Free Asia

Authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong have launched a police operation after officials demolished an encampment made by protesters during a land dispute near Foshan city, protesters said on Monday. - Radio Free Asia

China has granted President Trump preliminary approval for another trademark in apparel, expanding business interests that have already generated criticism over potential conflicts. - The New York Times

Philippines:

President Rodrigo Duterte cut short a trip to Russia, having put Mindanao island in the southern Philippines under martial law after renewed clashes between government troops and militants linked to Islamic State. - Bloomberg

North Korea:

Worried over what they described as President Trump’s erratic response to North Korea’s behavior, 64 Democratic legislators urged him on Tuesday to talk directly to the North Koreans — and warned that he would need congressional approval for any pre-emptive military strike. - The New York Times

A previously unidentified “flying object” which crossed into South Korea from the North at around 1600 KST yesterday turned out to be multiple propaganda balloons sent by Pyongyang to the South, the ROK Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced on Wednesday. - The Korea Times

South Korea:

As preparations accelerate for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, sporting relations on the divided Korean Peninsula in recent years have seldom appeared more amicable, despite the building nuclear tensions and escalating talk of war. - The New York Times

Park Geun-hye, South Korea’s recently impeached and ousted president, made her first appearance in court on Tuesday, denying all criminal charges against her, as one of the biggest trials in the country’s history began. - The New York Times

Dozens of South Koreans on Wednesday sued the governments of Seoul and Beijing, seeking compensation over mental distress they suffered due to fine dust, the plaintiffs said. - The Korea Times

Japan:

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan won a crucial vote in the House of Representatives on Tuesday on an anti-conspiracy bill that he said was needed to fight terrorism but that critics feared could give the authorities broad surveillance powers over citizens. - The New York Times

Given enough time, North Korea will likely succeed in developing a nuclear warhead small enough to be mounted on a ballistic missile capable of directly striking Japan, the Self-Defense Forces’ highest-ranking officer warned Tuesday. - The Japan Times

Taiwan:

Taiwan’s highest court is set to make a landmark ruling today on whether the country's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. - The News Lens

Detained human rights advocate Lee Ming- che (李明哲) might be put on a human rights watch list to be presented during a meeting between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) later this year, following efforts by Lee’s wife to seek assistance at a US congressional hearing. - The Taipei Times

Myanmar:

The Myanmar government has invited three ethnic armed groups previously denied permission by the army to attend the second session on Wednesday of de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s key peace initiative to end prolonged ethnic separatist civil wars in the country, a leader from one of the militias said. - Radio Free Asia

A government-appointed body that regulates Myanmar’s Buddhist clergy has banned an ultranationalist monk organization known for its anti-Islamic rhetoric, according to media reports, ordering the group to disband or face punishment under both Buddhist and secular law. - Radio Free Asia

Hong Kong:

Ride-hailing giant Uber has criticized Hong Kong for not updating its traffic laws, following the government’s latest roundup of its drivers. - Hong Kong Free Press

Cambodia:

Two journalists for the Cambodia Daily have been named in a complaint to authorities by villagers in Ratanakkiri for asking questions about politics, with the information minister subsequently posting one of the pair’s passport details to Facebook as part of what he called a “reminder” to reporters during the election campaign. - Phnom Penh Post

Thailand:

Next year's general election could be delayed if law and order continues to be disrupted by bomb attacks and other threats to peace, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said Tuesday. - The Bangkok Post

Self-censorship of social media and other online content is feared as a result of new regulations under the amended computer-related crime law, according to critics. - The Nation

Vietnam:

Ho Chi Minh City puts as much as 400 kilometers of electrical wiring underground every year, with the goal of clearing the downtown area of its infamous wire ‘spider webs’ by 2020. - Tuoi Tre News​​​​​​​


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