Week in Focus: Sina Weibo LGBT Backlash, Bots Flood Malaysian Internet

Week in Focus: Sina Weibo LGBT Backlash, Bots Flood Malaysian Internet
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What you need to know

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

China:

Chinese telecom giant Huawei laid off its top Washington liaison and other American employees last week – a move that suggests it has accepted that its political battles in the U.S. are unwinnable – before laying out a vision on Tuesday for how it wants to build the digital architecture for AI, IOT and other transformative tech. – The New York Times

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Photo Credit:AP/達志影像

Chinese President Xi Jinping outlined an updated vision for China’s future as an internet and technology power this weekend, pledging more state support for sectors caught in the crosshairs of a trade fight with the U.S. – The Wall Street Journal

China’s government wants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and other Chinese tech giants listed abroad to trade on the nation’s stock markets. Now regulators are trying to figure out how to do that without seeing those shares fall too low or soar too high. – The Wall Street Journal

In the new sign of trade battle, China on Tuesday announced it would slap U.S. sorghum producers with 179 percent deposit that came into force Wednesday. – The Washington Post

China's gay community celebrated after a massively popular social media platform reversed a ban on homosexual content, but challenges persist in a country where LGBT culture remains taboo in the entertainment industry. – Channel News Asia

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Photo Credit: AP / 達志影像

Tens of thousands of people have been detained in China's troubled western region of Xinjiang, a senior U.S. State Department diplomat said on Wednesday, amid a deepening crackdown on Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China. – Reuters

Deng Yufeng from China wanted to create art that prods people to question their lack of data privacy. What better way, he reasoned, than to buy the personal information of more than 300,000 Chinese people off the internet and display it in a public exhibition? – The New York Times

China has a found a novel way to tackle its massive air pollution problem: Putting up a giant air purifier the size of an industrial smokestack in the middle of a smog–plagued city. – Channel News Asia

Kangaroo pelted with rocks dies in Chinese Zoo, and fury flies. – The New York Times

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在澳洲目睹袋鼠寶寶誕生的過程
Taiwan:

China’s military conducted live-fire exercises in coastal waters opposite Taiwan, beginning Wednesday, in a bid to send a hard power message to the democratic island, whose Ministry of National Defense dismissed the drill as small-scale intimidation. – The Wall Street Journal

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Photo credit: Reuters/達志影像

Taiwan continues to battle a brain drain as China aims to woo young talent. – The Washington Post

Asia’s bastion of free speech? Move aside, Hong Kong, It’s Taiwan now. – The New York Times

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Photo Credit: Prince Roy@Wikimedia Commons CC BY 2.0
Japan:

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, embroiled in scandals, faces calls to stand down. – The Washington Post

Japanese volcano Mount Io, in the south of the country, erupts for the first time in 250 years. – USA Today

A vice minister of finance said he would resign over sexual-harassment allegations after the government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe drew widespread criticism over its handling of the matter. – The Wall Street Journal

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Photo Credit: AP Images / 達志影像
North Korea:

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said on Saturday that his country would close its nuclear-test site and suspend long-range missile launches but hinted that he didn’t intend to give up his nuclear arsenal, at least not immediately. – The Wall Street Journal

South Korea:

North and South Korea established for the first time a direct telephone line between their leaders, a move aimed at building trust and momentum one week before the Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in are slated to meet at the inter-Korean demilitarized zone. – The Wall Street Journal

India:

Offenders who rape girls under 12 may now be subject to the death penalty in India, according to an ordinance passed by India’s cabinet Saturday after a nationwide furor over the rape and killing of an eight-year-old girl. – The Washington Post

Photo: AFP

Tax authorities have raided the offices of McDonald’s Corp.’s biggest partner in India in what could be another setback for the fast-food giant, which is already mired in an ugly breakup with its only other licensee in the fast-growing South Asian nation. – The Wall Street Journal

Ride-hailing giant Uber Technologies Inc is "doubling down" on its investments in India, one of its biggest markets, after its recent exit from Southeast Asia, its chief operating officer said on Wednesday. – Reuters

Thailand:

After Thailand’s general-prime minister took off his army general’s uniform and put on a prime ministerial suit in 2014, Thai junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha pledged to lead the country back to democracy, though he said it would be “Thai–style democracy.”The Washington Post

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Thailand’s ruling military junta has turned to China’s Alibaba Group to develop new markets for the country’s smaller businesses and help revive a struggling economy. – The Wall Street Journal

A former member of southern Thailand’s separatist movement, Awae Wae–Eya, is planning to establish an Islamic State (IS) presence in his country with the hope of securing funds from the global terror group to fund his “jihad", according to a senior Malaysian security source. – Channel News Asia

Philippines:

President Rodrigo Duterte, who has chafed at overseas criticism of his strongman style since he was elected to office in 2016, has overseen the deportation or detention of two foreign critics in recent days, taking personal responsibility for the arrest of a 71-year-old Australian nun. – The New York Times

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Saturday that he had set a 60-day timeframe for peace talks he is seeking to revive with communist guerrillas, urging the rebels’ exiled leader to come home to hammer out a deal. – Reuters

The newly named top police commander of the Philippines pledged Friday (Apr 20) to keep up President Rodrigo Duterte's bloody anti–drug war despite fresh international condemnation over the killings. – Channel News Asia Via AFP

Malaysia:

Just weeks before Malaysia goes to the polls, automated accounts known as bots are flooding Twitter with tens of thousands of pro–government and anti-opposition messages, according to a review of the tweets by Reuters and a U.S. digital media research institute. – Channel News Asia

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Photo credit: REUTERS/ 達志影像
Singapore:

Singapore is "closely" monitoring the newly announced anti-dumping measures by China on a form of synthetic rubber and is "engaging" the Chinese government as well as affected companies, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry on Friday. – Channel News Asia

Myanmar:

Myanmar army chief Min Aung Hlaing has told military personnel in the country that they must obey the law, citing as an example the sentencing of seven soldiers for a massacre of Rohingya Muslim men that was the subject of a Reuters investigation. – Channel News Asia

Indonesia:

A group of amorous couples and alleged sex workers were publicly whipped for breaking Islamic law in Indonesia's Aceh Friday, just a week after the province pledged to move the widely condemned practice indoors. – Arab News

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Photo Credit: Corbis / 達志影像

Editor: David Green