ASIA NEWS BITES: Liu Xiaobo Dies in Custody; China’s North Korea Trade Lifts Despite Trump; China Denies VPN Shutdown; Taiwan Fines Airbnb Rentals

ASIA NEWS BITES: Liu Xiaobo Dies in Custody; China’s North Korea Trade Lifts Despite Trump; China Denies VPN Shutdown; Taiwan Fines Airbnb Rentals
photo credit: AP Photo/ Liu Xia/Mary Altaffer/達志影像

What you need to know

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


Liu Xiaobo, one of the most important Chinese dissidents of his generation, has died. - The News Lens

Tributes to Chinese Nobel Peace laureate and democracy icon Liu Xiaobo poured out across the globe following his death, and calls that had focused on letting him seek treatment outside China shifted to his widow’s right to leave.- The Wall Street Journal

China defended a 10.5% rise in its trade with North Korea in the year’s first half as part of a normal economic relationship with its neighbor in areas not covered by United Nations sanctions. - The Wall Street Journal

The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has denied recent reports claiming that it plans to prevent internet users from accessing virtual private networks (VPNs). - Hong Kong Free Press

Worshippers quietly passed through metal detectors as they entered the central mosque in China’s far western city of Kashgar under the stern gaze of stone-faced police officers. - Hong Kong Free Press


President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) sent her highest regards and deepest condolences on Thursday to the family of Liu Xiaobo, China's only Nobel Peace Prize winner and most well-known democracy activist, who died Thursday afternoon at the age of 61. - Central News Agency

A Taiwanese man died yesterday after being shot by Indonesian police while fleeing in a car following a drug bust in Banten Province where 1,000kg of amphetamine was seized, the largest-ever amphetamine seizure in Indonesia. - The Taipei Times

Taiwanese smartphone brand HTC Corp. (宏達電) said on Thursday that although the company respects the intellectual property rights of others, it will rigorously defend its own rights in response to an accusation of patent infringement made by a Japan-based light-emitting diode (LED) firm. - Central News Agency

Fines increased for illegal Airbnb rentals: bureau. People offering to rent apartments to tourists and advertising them on Airbnb and other Web sites are to be fined between NT$30,000 and NT$300,000, the Tourism Bureau said, adding that the stricter penalty took effect yesterday. - The Taipei Times

An imperial palace museum in Taiwan has made thousands of images of its artwork and artifacts available to download online, it's reported. - BBC


The United Nations has urged Singapore to halt the execution of a Malaysian drug trafficker, saying it should not go ahead while an appeal was pending in his home country. Prabagaran Srivijayan was sentenced to death in 2012 for trafficking 22.24 grams of heroin, but has consistently maintained his innocence. - AFP via The New Straits Times


India rejects China's mediation offer on Kashmir. New Delhi says its position to address issues with Islamabad in a bilateral framework has not changed. - The Aljazeera

Wildlife activists have accused Indian authorities of a culture of secrecy around steadily rising tiger deaths. - BBC

Hong Kong:

Democracy activists and members of the public gathered outside China's liaison office in Hong Kong on Thursday (Jul 13) night to mourn the death in custody of China's Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo and vent their anger at Beijing. - Channel NewsAsia

President of Hong Kong legislature refuses to let lawmakers discuss Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. - Hong Kong Free Press

A group of pro-democracy lawmakers have said a pro-Beijing lawmaker gave false information during a Legislative Council session by claiming that they had signed a cooperation document with a Taiwanese independence-leaning group. - Hong Kong Free Press

Uber, the ride-sharing firm says that despite being declared illegal and seeing its drivers arrested, it hopes to work with new government and move forward. - South China Morning Post


Toshiba, the struggling Japanese technology conglomerate, has been locked for months in a complex dance over the sale of its $18 billion microchip business. In a series of dizzying turns, Western Digital, the American data-storage company, has acted as a supportive business partner, a would-be acquirer, and a bitter legal adversary. - The New York Times

North Korea:

China has slashed imports of coal from North Korea even as overall trade between the countries continues to rise. - CNN

South Korea:

The US has told South Korea it wants to renegotiate a free trade agreement it struck in 2012, citing a lopsided trading relationship. - BBC

The successful interception test over the Pacific this week of a ballistic missile target using the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system is seen as a message to nuclear-armed North Korea of the technology's capabilities. - CNBC


An alleged people smuggler accused of sending more than 200 asylum seekers to Australia has been extradited from Indonesia. - The Guardian


India has expanded its anti-terror and de-radicalisation partnership with the Philippines, which is battling a three-week siege by Islamic State-affiliated militants in the city of Marawi, about 800 km south of capital Manila. - The Economic Times

Seven Malaysia-bound Maute family members detained on Monday (Jul 10) on suspicion of having links with the Islamic State-inspired Maute group in the Philippines are not involved in terror activities, according to a regional security source. - Channel NewsAsia

Despite travel warnings, around 200 mostly balikbayan tourists from the United States arrived in the country this week to visit various attractions, including President Duterte’s bailiwick Davao City, and explore possible investments. - The Philippine Star


Cambodia has permanently banned sand exports, officially ending sales to Singapore which has used it for years as part of its land reclamation. - BBC