ASIA NEWS BITES: Activists Detained as Xi Arrives in Hong Kong; US Navy Could Visit Taiwan Under Big Potential Change; Japan's Bomb Shelter Demand

ASIA NEWS BITES: Activists Detained as Xi Arrives in Hong Kong; US Navy Could Visit Taiwan Under Big Potential Change; Japan's Bomb Shelter Demand
Photo Credit: AP/達志影像

What you need to know

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


Former top communist party official slams Beijing's treatment of Liu Xiaobo. - Radio Free Asia

China releases activists scrutinizing Ivanka Trump shoe factory. - The New York Times

Soybean Diplomacy: New U.S. ambassador to China touts agricultural trade. - The Wall Street Journal

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is ponying up $1 billion to boost its stake in Southeast Asian online retailer Lazada, ahead of Amazon's much-anticipated entry into the region. - CNBC

In the two decades since Britain returned Hong Kong to China, a wave of mainland Chinese immigrants has flooded the former colony, deepening fears that local values—from free markets to the Cantonese language and even basic politeness—will get washed away in a tide of “mainlandization.” - The Wall Street Journal

Hong Kong:

Hong Kong student pro-democracy campaigner Joshua Wong was detained by police on Wednesday after an anti-China protest before a visit by President Xi Jinping. - The Guardian

'I should have done more': Chris Patten on leaving Hong Kong without democracy. Twenty years after the handover, the last governor praises ‘brave’ young activists battling to have their voices heard as China breaches its promises on freedoms. - The Guardian

Hong Kong stays on annual US human trafficking watchlist as gov’t rejects criticisms. - Hong Kong Free Press

Many Hong Kong residents, worried about growing encroachment by Beijing as the financial hub marks 20 years since its return to China, are rushing to secure British passports as a safety net in the case of social unrest or the erosion of civil liberties. - Channel NewsAsia

The student unions of 12 Hong Kong universities and tertiary institutions will not join this year’s July 1 democracy march. Instead, they will hold a discussion forum featuring academics and localist figures on the 20th anniversary of the city’s transfer of sovereignty. - Hong Kong Free Press


Three Myanmar reporters detained at an undisclosed location by the army will be charged under a colonial-era statute against “unlawful association” and face up to three years in jail, government and army officials have said. - The Guardian


The Executive Yuan's Department of Cyber Security said Wednesday that it has not received any reports of government computers being attacked by Petrwrap ransomware that has ravaged mostly government and state enterprise computers in Europe and beyond since Tuesday. - Central News Agency

The Senate Armed Services Committee approved a major change in U.S. policy toward Taiwan as part of an annual defense-policy measure, voting to allow regular stops by U.S. naval vessels in a move that is likely to anger China. - The Wall Street Journal

A Taiwanese recognized Tuesday for upholding the rights of foreign fishermen at a ceremony held at the U.S. State Department on Tuesday. - Central News Agency

Taiwanese pride sweeps through New York in annual LGBTQ parade. - The Taipei Times

North Korea:

North Korea issued standing orders on Wednesday for the “miserable dog’s death” execution of South Korea’s imprisoned former president and her spy chief and improbably demanded that its southern adversary extradites them. - The New York Times

North Korea limits school hours to mobilize students for drought measures. - Radio Free Asia

US military options for North Korea have recently been updated and are ready to be presented to President Donald Trump if Pyongyang conducts an underground nuclear or ballistic missile test that indicates the regime has made a significant progress towards developing a weapon that could attack the US, two US military officials told CNN. - CNN

South Korea:

Samsung makes the announcement to invest $380 million in a South Carolina factory for home appliances ahead of South Korea president’s visit to the U.S. - The Wall Street Journal


The Philippine military said on Wednesday that troops had found the mutilated bodies of 17 civilians in the besieged southern city of Marawi, where government forces have been struggling to dislodge militants who have entrenched themselves for the last month. - The New York Times

The president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, has assured troops he would protect them from any legal action if they accidentally killed civilians while battling militants who have besieged a southern city. - The Guardian

Five decapitated civilians were found in a Philippine city occupied by Islamist rebels on Wednesday, the military said, warning the number of residents killed by rebel "atrocities" could rise sharply as troops retake more ground. - Reuters

China on Wednesday (Jun 28) donated thousands of guns to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to help Manila in its battle against Islamist gunmen who are holed up in a southern city. - Channel NewsAsia


Toshiba missed a self-imposed deadline to sell a piece of its valuable microchip business on Wednesday, inflicting a fresh wound on its efforts to repair its battered finances. - The New York Times

Vanilla Air makes wheelchair user pull himself up stairs to airplane. - The Japan Times

Japanese demand for private bomb shelters has grown as North Korea continues to carry out frequent missile tests. - Al Jazeera

Japan’s ancient capital of Kyoto has many tourist attractions to offer, from its historic sites to scenic landscapes, and is now adding a new one to its list — the world’s first Starbucks coffee shop with tatami rooms. - The Japan Times


Indian government plans sale of the stake in airline Air India. - The Wall Street Journal

India’s ambitious plans to overhaul the country’s complex tax structure are triggering strikes, protests, and delays as businesses say they aren’t ready for the new system, which is set to start on Saturday. - The Wall Street Journal


Malaysia's opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan on Wednesday (Jun 28) said it would go on a nationwide roadshow to spread awareness about the 1MDB scandal. - Channel NewsAsia

Military radar equipment worth millions missing from Malaysian port. The Straits Times


A doctor in Thailand whose parents died from liver cancer after eating a much-loved raw fish dish is traveling the country’s rural north-east to warn people off the recipe. - The Guardian

Thailand is disappointed with the US decision to keep the country on the Tier 2 Watchlist of its latest Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report but insists the latest ranking will not affect the country's export growth expected at 5% this year - The Bangkok Post


The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) on Tuesday (Jun 27) said it maintains a high standard of fire safety for all buildings, but in the wake of a London inferno believed to have killed 79, experts suggested there could be room to make further enhancements. - Channel NewsAsia

Universal Studios Singapore ranked Asia's top amusement park, says TripAdvisor.- Channel NewsAsia