ASIA NEWS BITES: Former US Official Accused of Spying for China; 'Perfect Police State' Emerges in Xinjiang; 4 Dead in Shooting near Taipei

ASIA NEWS BITES: Former US Official Accused of Spying for China; 'Perfect Police State' Emerges in Xinjiang; 4 Dead in Shooting near Taipei
Photo Credit: Reuters / 達志影像

What you need to know

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


Chinese regulators on Thursday ordered three popular internet platforms to stop streaming political videos, expanding the crackdown on online political dialogue as China prepares for an important political handover. - The Wall Street Journal

A US defense contractor and former State Department security officer who was found with US$16,500 in his luggage has been arrested by American counterintelligence officials and charged with spying for China. - The Guardian

A complex network of companies, middlemen and clinics in China and Hong Kong is carrying on a roaring trade in on-the-quiet prenatal testing to determine the gender of fetuses for Chinese couples, a practice that is banned in China because of its association with sex-selective abortion. - Radio Free Asia

China and Hong Kong are overwhelmingly the largest shipment centers for fake goods sold around the world, in a growing, complex battle against sophisticated counterfeiters, Europe’s police agency said Thursday. - Hong Kong Free Press

Some of China’s largest companies may pose a systemic risk to the country’s banks, a senior banking official said on Thursday, in the latest signal that Beijing is ratcheting up scrutiny of a financial system plagued with hidden debt that poses a hazard to the health of the economy. - The New York Times


During a trip through China’s violence-plagued Xinjiang, a reporter with The Guardian witnessed dramatic security surge as the Communist party fights to ‘pacify’ region. - The Guardian

Hong Kong:

Corruption watchdog drops the investigation into Carrie Lam’s role in HK$3.5bn Palace Museum deal. - Hong Kong Free Press

Beijing’s top man in Hong Kong during the city’s handover to China two decades ago has urged “re-education” for citizens in constitutional matters and greater emphasis on their obligations to the country. - South China Morning Post

Hong Kong’s talent schemes draw tens of thousands of Chinese professionals, including Olympic champs and movie stars. - South China Morning Post


The military chief says a Malaysian militant who helped lead and finance the siege in southern Marawi city has been killed in one of the setbacks to the uprising by locals aligned with the Islamic State group. - The Philippine Star

Malaysia on June 22 launched a special court to handle sexual crimes against children – the first such court in Southeast Asia, according to Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak. - Channel NewsAsia

Malaysia will be accepting proposals for a new master developer for Bandar Malaysia from July 5, after a US$1.7-billion deal to develop the major property project fell through in May this year. - Channel NewsAsia


Another scandal involving drug abuse by an Indonesian airline pilot surfaced this week, raising safety concerns as the country prepares for the massive annual Idul Fitri exodus. - The Jarkata Globe


Chased out of China by a local rival, Uber turned its regional focus to India and Southeast Asia—but it faces more of the same there, as well as union and regulatory battles, now without its visionary founder. - The Wall Street Journal


The police are investigating a Facebook post defending radical Singaporean preacher Rasul Dahri, whose books were banned this week for containing extremist religious views. - Channel NewsAsia

South Korea:

The friend of former South Korean leader Park Geun-hye who was at the center of an influence-peddling scandal that rocked the country's business and political elite has been sentenced to three years in jail, the Yonhap news agency reported on Friday (Jun 22). - Channel NewsAsia

North Korea:

North Korea has carried out another test of a rocket engine that the United States believes could be part of its program to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile, a U.S. official told Reuters on Thursday. - CBS News


Shooting Near Taipei - 4 Dead. - CNA via The News Lens

Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group, which assembles Apple Inc.’s iPhones in China, is looking at seven states in the American heartland where it would invest US$10 billion or more to manufacture flat-panel screens and related equipment. - The New York Times

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday urged Panama not to allow itself to become a tool used by China to isolate Taiwan internationally and said the president of the Central American country had misrepresented the reasons behind the severance of diplomatic links with Taiwan. - Central News Agency

An amendment to the Money Laundering Control Act will go into effect June 28, providing more stringent rules for about 700 high-ranking government officials and their families, the Executive Yuan's Anti-Money Laundering Office said on Thursday. - Central News Agency


The insurgency in Thailand’s deep south has been raging for more than 13 years, with more than 6,500 people killed by bomb attacks, drive-by shootings, and assassinations. - Channel NewsAsia

Dozens of supercars including Lamborghinis, Porsches, and BMWs have been stolen from the streets of Britain and shipped to Thailand in a complex scam that police from both countries are rushing to dismantle. - The Guardian


Australia’s advanced intelligence-gathering P-3 Orion aircraft will be flown over the southern Philippines to help in the fight against Islamic State-affiliated terrorist groups.- The Guardian