ASIA NEWS BITES: China Tightens VPN Controls; 8 Killed in Thailand Shooting; Black Model Faces Racism in Korea; Tesla Struggles in Hong Kong; Japanese Fire Ants

ASIA NEWS BITES: China Tightens VPN Controls; 8 Killed in Thailand Shooting; Black Model Faces Racism in Korea; Tesla Struggles in Hong Kong; Japanese Fire Ants
Photo Credit: dapd, Joerg Koch / AP Photo / 達志影像

What you need to know

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


China will completely block access to much of the global Internet as part of a sweeping crackdown aimed at suppressing dissent and maintaining the Communist party’s grip on power. - The Guardian

Britain and the European Union have joined a growing chorus of voices calling for China to completely free its most famous political prisoner as Germany said it was losing trust in Chinese authorities after images of a hospital visit by foreign doctors were leaked to state media. - The Guardian

China says 'China responsibility theory' on North Korea has to stop. - Reuters

China bike-sharing Titan Mobike sets sights on Washington, D.C. - The Wall Street Journal

The company Sharing E Umbrella met its match after a startup that rented umbrellas in 30-minute blocks lost nearly all of its stock in just three months. - The Guardian

China’s sovereign wealth fund is looking at big bets in America. But the $800 billion investment behemoth said on Tuesday it faced an obstacle: the United States government.- The New York Times

Beijing's schools for migrants face demolition amid urban restructuring. - The News Lens

Dalian Wanda Group, the giant Chinese property developer, and entertainment company is selling off most of its theme parks and hotels in a deal that would pare down a heavy debt load that has drawn attention from regulators. - The Wall Street Journal


A Chinese state-run newspaper that typically trades in attacking Delhi today said that India is becoming more attractive to international investors and praised the landmark tax reform GST pushed through by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. - NDTV

India, China can handle border differences, foreign secretary says. - Channel NewsAsia

India’s Supreme Court has suspended a controversial ban on the trade of cattle for slaughter that critics said unfairly targets the country’s meat and leather industry and its predominantly Muslim and lower-caste workers.- The Washington Post

A herd of endangered rhinos fleeing the deadly floods sweeping northern India now faces another threat, wildlife officials said on Monday. - The New York Times

India's flag carrier Air India said it is offering only vegetarian meals for its economy class passengers on domestic flights, the Times of India reported on Monday (Jul 10) quoting a senior official. - Channel NewsAsia

Hong Kong:

Pro-democracy lawmaker questions possible appointment of ex-Chinese official as home affairs deputy. - Hong Kong Free Press

Tesla sales fall to zero in Hong Kong after tax break is slashed. - The Wall Street Journal

Hong Kong activists hold relay sit-in urging China to release ailing dissident Liu Xiaobo. - Hong Kong Free Press


Taiwan and Paraguay are to sign an economic cooperation agreement in Taipei to further promote bilateral trade and investment ties, a Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) official said Tuesday. - Central News Agency

Honduras Ambassador to Taiwan Rafa Sierra affirmed Tuesday that bilateral relations remain strong, denying local reports that some of his embassy staff will be reassigned to serve in China. - Central News Agency

The United States has apologized for mistakenly describing Chinese President Xi Jinping as the leader of Taiwan, China said Monday. - NBC

Thirteen years after Taipei 101 became the tallest building in the Taiwanese capital (and, for a time, tallest in the world), it is being joined by other skyscrapers, raising the skyline of an otherwise surprisingly low-rise city. - The New York Times

South Korea:

President Moon Jae-in said Tuesday he hopes to hear from North Korea on his peace initiatives introduced in Berlin last week, adding that it appears to be "the only road" left for the internationally-isolated Pyongyang. - The Korea Times

South Korea's first black model faces widespread racism. - The News Lens

South Korea tourism hit by China ban. - BBC

North Korea:

The US military has conducted a successful test of a missile intercept system, officials said on Tuesday (Jul 11), as tensions soar following North Korea's test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile that could potentially reach Alaska. - Channel NewsAsia

Despite its long range, the North Korean missile fired on July 4 is not capable of a key process that would allow a nuclear weapon atop the projectile to hit its target, South Korea's intelligence service told lawmakers Tuesday. - CNN

North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missile is 'likely' to be able to deliver a 500-kilogram warhead to San Diego within two years, a US monitoring group said Tuesday, after its launch sparked global alarm last week. - Channel NewsAsia

North Korea's dependence on Russia for oil has increased threefold this year compared to the same period the previous year, according to media reports, Tuesday. - The Korea Times


The death toll rose to 25 on Tuesday as efforts continued to find the missing after torrential rain hit parts of Kyushu last week, with more than 20 people still unaccounted for. - The Japan Times

Biologists are calling for urgent nationwide action to prevent venomous fire ants from infesting Japan after the highly invasive species was spotted at several major ports, including Tokyo. - The Japan Times

Japan has lodged a diplomatic protest with South Korea over its support for registering with the United Nations documents related to "comfort women" forced into World War II sexual slavery by Japanese troops, officials said on Tuesday (Jul 11). - Channel NewsAsia

Toshiba talks with Western Digital, Foxconn about chip unit sale. - The Japan Times

The economic partnership agreement between the European Union and Japan comes as a corrective to the rising wave of protectionism in the United States and Britain but could deal a blow to Japanese dairy farmers and wineries, experts say. - The Japan Times

Takata recalled an additional 2.7 million airbags in the U.S. that are at risk of rupturing, adding to a safety crisis that forced the Japanese automotive supplier to seek bankruptcy protection. - The Wall Street Journal


UN human rights envoy pays the sixth visit to Western Myanmar’s Rakhine State. - Radio Free Asia


Rights groups condemned Cairo and Beijing at the weekend for the detention and deportation to China of Uyghur students studying in Egypt, where desperate Uyghurs continued to try to avoid being rounded up by authorities. - Radio Free Asia


Indonesia has given the assurance that the massive forest fires that caused the thick haze to blanket parts of the country and its neighbors in 2015 will not recur this year. - Channel NewsAsia

Human rights advocates and experts alike expressed concerns over the ongoing pornography case surrounding Rizieq Shihab, the firebrand cleric leading the Islamic Defenders' Front, or FPI. - The Jarkata Globe

US President Donald J. Trump signaled more trade between the United States and Indonesia might be coming during the G-20 summit in Hamburg last week. - The Jarkata Globe

Indonesia says it will invite the head of mining giant Freeport-McMoRan to Jakarta this month to try to settle a festering dispute over a new deal to operate the world's second-largest copper mine. - The Jarkata Globe


Gunmen shot dead eight people, including at least one child, in a house in Thailand after holding them hostage, police said on Tuesday, a rare incident in a country where although guns are common, such mass shootings are rare. - NBC News

Thailand's military government on Tuesday (Jul 11) approved US$5.2 billion to build the first stretch of a high-speed railway that will ultimately link Bangkok to southern China, a massive joint infrastructure project with Beijing that has been dogged by delays. - Channel NewsAsia


With fighting in Marawi dragging on for more than a month now, President Duterte thinks he needs 10 to 15 days more to rid the city of militants professing allegiance to the Middle East-based terror group Islamic State (IS). - The Philippine Star

Philippines military: Death toll in Marawi tops 500. At least 380 of those killed are ISIL-linked fighters but the civilian death toll is expected to increase military says.- Al Jazeera

The Philippine military has said children and hostages are being forced to fight with pro-IS gunmen trying to take control of Marawi. - Sky News

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will build a tent city on an 11-hectare property in Marawi City for at least 5,000 evacuees displaced by the siege. The Philippine Star


Vietnamese authorities plan to hold talks with a Catholic monastery and church officials to resolve a land dispute that prompted a violent scuffle last month, a provincial government body said. - Channel NewsAsia


Malaysia is on high alert for fleeing militants after Iraqi government forces claimed victory against the Islamic State group in Mosul and Raqqa. - Channel NewsAsia