Week in Focus: China Begins a New Era; Scandal in Japan

Week in Focus: China Begins a New Era;  Scandal in Japan
Photo Credit: Reuters / 達志影像

What you need to know

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


China’s National People’s Congress on Sunday approved a plan to abolish presidential term limits, making it possible for President Xi Jinping to stay in power indefinitely and cementing a dramatic shift in Chinese politics. — The Washington Post

On the sidelines of the country's annual parliament session, a Chinese journalist on Tuesday morning showed her contempt for a fellow reporter's softball question with such force that videos of her facial expression went viral. — CNN

Credit: CNN

China said it will begin applying its so—called social credit system to flights and trains and stop people who have committed misdeeds from taking such transport for up to a year. — Channel News Asia

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused China of flooding global markets with cheap steel, adding that Canada has already taken steps to prevent "dumping." — South China Morning Post

Hong Kong:

Hong Kong schoolchildren will be taught the Chinese national anthem and anyone who insults the “March of the Volunteers” could face three years in prison under proposed local legislation to implement a Chinese national anthem law in the territory. — The Financial Times


Tibet can exist within China in the same spirit as the European Union sticks together, the territory's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, considered a dangerous separatist by Beijing, said. — Channel News Asia


Taiwan's High Court on Tuesday upheld the acquittal of activists who occupied the island's parliament in 2014, with the judge describing the protests as "an expression of democracy." — The Straits Times


A cronyism scandal engulfing the Japanese government has taken a dark turn, with reports that a finance official left a note before his suicide saying that he was forced to rewrite crucial records. — The Guardian

Allegations surrounding Japan’s First Lady, Akie Abe, and a land sale are raising questions about the future of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, as well as the future track of the yen. — Market Watch

Japan’s antitrust watchdog raided the office of Amazon.com Inc.’s unit in the country Thursday, for allegedly violating the antitrust law by having its suppliers shoulder part of the costs to cover discounts the retailer applied on goods. — The Japan Times

North Korea:

Summoned to the Oval Office on the spur of the moment, the South Korean envoy found himself face to face with President Trump one afternoon last week at what he thought might be a hinge moment in history. — The New York Times

A leaked draft of a United Nations report claims two Singapore companies have violated UN sanctions by supplying luxury goods to North Korea. — BBC

South Korea:

Former South Korean president Lee Myung-bak has admitted receiving US$100,000 from the state spy agency while still in office, reports said Thursday, after he faced a marathon interrogation by prosecutors over corruption allegations. — Channel News Asia


More than a thousand people in Vietnam marked Friday's 50th anniversary of the My Lai massacre, the most notorious episode in modern U.S. military history, with talk of peace and cooperation instead of hatred. — ABC News


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced Wednesday a move towards quitting the International Criminal Court, which has launched a preliminary examination of his deadly drug war. — Channel News Asia

The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved on second reading a measure that would introduce divorce in the Philippines. — Rappler


Facebook has played a “determining role” spreading hatred of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, according to a UN human rights team probing alleged genocide of the ethnic minority. — The Independent

Some international observers urged Myanmar on Wednesday not to drag out legal proceedings against two Reuters journalists, as they appeared in court for the 10th time since they were arrested in December, accused of possessing secret government papers. — Reuters


Indonesians could be jailed for criticizing national politicians under a law that came into force Thursday, in what critics slammed as a major step back in democracy. — The New Paper


The eye-watering cost of owning a car in space-starved Singapore means the city-state is the world's most expensive place to live, for the fifth year in a row, a survey said Thursday. — The Straits Times


Thailand is rushing to contain the spread of rabies after a spike in cases across the country. — BBC

Thailand’s slow move from military to civilian governance has attracted dozens of new political parties to register in barely two weeks, including one by an internet-famous billionaire who says he embraces democracy and wants to challenge the country’s traditional powers. — The Washington Post


A total of 249 Malaysians and foreigners have been arrested so far in Malaysia for allegedly recruiting members for the purpose of terrorism through social media. — Channel News Asia

Editor: David Green