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About Erin
Erin Hale is a journalist based in Taipei.
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5 Facts About Cambodia’s Economy

19 Jun 2024  |  Forbes
Cambodia has experienced strong economic growth over the last decade, with its GDP growing at an average annual rate of over 8% between 2000 and 2010, and over 7% in subsequent years.

Why are thousands of people protesting in Taiwan?

24 May 2024  |  www.aljazeera.com
Protests in Taiwan are intensifying over a controversial bill that would expand parliamentary investigative powers, with critics arguing it lacks necessary checks and balances and could threaten national security. The bill, backed by the Kuomintang and Taiwan People’s Party, is seen as a power play following their parliamentary majority win. Additionally, a $61bn infrastructure project included in the bill has raised concerns about financial feasibility and potential dependence on China. The protests, reminiscent of the 2014 Sunflower Movement, have drawn significant youth participation, indicating a strong public opposition to the proposed legislative changes.

‘Troublemaker’ William Lai Ching-te to take oath as Taiwan’s new president

19 May 2024  |  www.aljazeera.com
William Lai Ching-te will be inaugurated as Taiwan's sixth democratically-elected president, succeeding Tsai Ing-Wen. Lai's victory marks a historic third term for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), breaking the traditional power switch with the Kuomintang (KMT). Lai is expected to continue Tsai's policies, maintaining Taiwan's de facto independence while avoiding formal declarations to prevent conflict with China. His administration includes several former Tsai officials, and he faces challenges from a hung parliament and the upcoming US presidential election. Beijing's response to Lai's presidency is expected to be muted, focusing on semi-normalizing relations with the KMT while viewing Lai as a 'troublemaker'.

Wall Street Journal cuts Hong Kong staff, shifts focus to Singapore

03 May 2024  |  www.aljazeera.com
The Wall Street Journal is reducing its staff in Hong Kong and shifting its regional focus to Singapore, reflecting broader trends of companies moving operations out of Hong Kong due to political and economic pressures. Editor-in-chief Emma Tucker announced the changes, which include the creation of a new business, finance, and economics group. The move comes amid a backdrop of Hong Kong's declining media freedom and economic challenges, exacerbated by Beijing's national security law and stringent pandemic measures. The city's media landscape has seen significant shifts, with several international outlets relocating their operations.

On ‘China’s Instagram’, women find a space to discuss the routine and taboo

30 Apr 2024  |  www.aljazeera.com
Xiaohongshu, a Chinese social media and e-commerce platform, has become a popular space for young, highly-educated women to discuss a wide range of topics, from professional advice to semi-taboo issues like divorce and domestic violence. Despite heavy internet censorship in China, the platform allows discussions on personal experiences. Xiaohongshu has struggled to monetize but recently found success with livestream shopping and influencer brand deals. The platform, which has 200 million monthly active users, is expanding its user base beyond major Chinese cities and gaining traction in diaspora communities.

Why is Elon Musk feuding with Australia and Brazil over free speech?

26 Apr 2024  |  www.aljazeera.com
Elon Musk, CEO of X, Tesla, and SpaceX, is involved in legal disputes with Brazil and Australia over free speech and censorship. In Brazil, Musk is challenging bans on accounts linked to former President Jair Bolsonaro's supporters, while in Australia, he is resisting a global takedown order for videos of a violent incident. Critics argue Musk selectively defends free speech, complying with similar orders from Turkey and India. The article highlights the ongoing legal battles and the broader debate over free speech and censorship.

‘We need you’: Solomon Islands’ support for US agency’s return revealed

24 Apr 2024  |  www.aljazeera.com
The Solomon Islands has shown overwhelming support for the return of the US Peace Corps, which has been delayed for years. Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare and other officials have expressed strong enthusiasm for the agency's work. Despite this, the Peace Corps' return remains uncertain, with minimal funding allocated by the US Congress and suspicions of deliberate stalling by Sogavare's government to favor China. The Solomon Islands' strategic location has made it a focal point in the US-China competition for influence in the Pacific.

China turns to AI in propaganda mocking the ‘American Dream’

29 Mar 2024  |  www.aljazeera.com
China is leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to produce animated propaganda videos that criticize the United States, as seen in the 'A Fractured America' series by state broadcaster CGTN. These AI-generated videos, which are shared widely on social media, highlight issues such as drug addiction, imprisonment rates, and wealth inequality in the US. Experts like Henry Ajder note that AI simplifies and reduces the cost of content creation, enhancing Beijing's ability to conduct influence campaigns. Microsoft's Threat Analysis Center has observed that AI-generated content can garner significant engagement and may influence public opinion. The report also mentions the use of deepfake technology in Taiwan's elections and the potential for AI to spread misinformation. The emergence of AI in propaganda efforts raises concerns about the effectiveness of potential election interference and the challenges governments face in responding to these new tools.

Google’s Gemini criticized over China images amid anti-‘woke’ backlash

23 Feb 2024  |  www.aljazeera.com
Google's AI model Gemini is under scrutiny for its handling of sensitive topics in China, including its inability to generate images of the Tiananmen Square massacre and the Hong Kong protests. The chatbot also declined to translate phrases deemed sensitive by Beijing. Criticism extends to Gemini's depiction of historical figures and events, with accusations of overcorrecting racial representation. Google is working to correct these issues, and by Friday, Gemini began producing images of the protests. The debate highlights concerns over AI transparency and censorship.

Google’s retiring of Internet archiving tool draws ire of China researchers

20 Feb 2024  |  www.aljazeera.com
Google's decision to retire its cached page feature has sparked concern among researchers of China, who relied on it to access past versions of web pages and deleted content. The feature's removal is seen as a blow to transparency and research, particularly in the context of China's stringent internet censorship. Alternatives like the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine exist, but they are not as comprehensive. Experts suggest that archiving digital content should be a priority, potentially drawing inspiration from the US government's extensive archiving efforts.

For foreign firms in Hong Kong, national security plans bring fresh chill

14 Feb 2024  |  www.aljazeera.com
Hong Kong's foreign business community is cautiously concerned about the implications of new national security legislation, particularly regarding 'state secrets' and its potential impact on the city's competitiveness and business environment. The legislation, which is expected to pass without opposition, builds on previous security laws that have significantly curtailed political opposition and civil liberties. Business leaders and analysts suggest that the new laws could further align Hong Kong with mainland China's restrictive practices, potentially leading to a loss of openness and investment redirection. Despite government assurances, the business community remains wary of the costs and implications of the proposed changes.

Meta, Amazon smash earnings expectations, as stock markets surge

02 Feb 2024  |  www.aljazeera.com
Asian markets rallied following stronger-than-expected earnings from Meta and Amazon, boosting their stock prices significantly. Meta reported $40.1bn in revenue and $14bn in profit for Q4, with its stock price surging over 14%. Amazon's Q4 sales reached $170bn, with shares rising up to 9%. Both companies have been aggressively cutting costs, laying off around 48,000 employees since 2022. Their performance added $280bn to US markets, lifting major indices. Apple also beat expectations but saw a stock dip due to declining iPhone sales in China, while Alphabet missed forecasts, resulting in a stock drop.

Top carmakers at risk of using Uighur forced labour in China, report says

02 Feb 2024  |  www.aljazeera.com
Human Rights Watch has found that major carmakers like General Motors, Toyota, Volkswagen, Tesla, and BYD are at high risk of using aluminium produced by forced labour in China's Xinjiang province. China, being the largest car manufacturer and aluminium producer, has faced accusations of human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims, including forced labour. The report criticizes carmakers for inadequate supply chain tracking and succumbing to Chinese government pressure. While some countries have banned products from Xinjiang, tracing materials like aluminium is challenging. Experts emphasize the difficulty and cost of mapping supply chains in China, but also the leverage China's market holds over carmakers.

Taiwan elections 2024: Polls close as voters pick president, MPs

13 Jan 2024  |  www.aljazeera.com
Taiwan's presidential and parliamentary elections have seen a strong lead by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's candidate, William Lai Ching-te, over his rivals from the Kuomintang and Taiwan People’s Party. The elections are pivotal for Taiwan's future direction, with issues such as international recognition, relations with China, and legislative makeup at stake. High voter turnout was observed, with many traveling to their hometowns to vote. The campaign season was marked by domestic issues, but last-minute events and comments may have influenced voter mobilization. The DPP seeks to maintain its power, while voters, especially the youth, are also considering third-party candidates for change.

Laws, school bans and Sam Altman drama: the big developments in AI in 2023

29 Dec 2023  |  Al Jazeera
The AI industry saw significant developments in 2023, including school bans on ChatGPT, calls for a pause in AI advancement by notable figures, and the firing of OpenAI CEO Sam Altman. Governments and regulatory bodies began implementing laws to regulate AI, with the EU leading in legislation. Concerns about AI's societal impact, job displacement, and misuse in misinformation campaigns were prevalent. The future of AI remains a contentious topic, with the potential to augment or replace jobs and the risk of deepfakes influencing elections.

After bumpy recovery, China’s economy faces serious headwinds in 2024

22 Dec 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
China's economy, after a challenging recovery in 2023, faces significant headwinds in 2024 due to structural issues and President Xi Jinping's political control. The lifting of zero-COVID restrictions and deflationary trends, coupled with a real estate crisis and declining foreign investment, have contributed to economic instability. Xi's centralization of power and regulatory crackdowns have raised concerns among experts and investors. The establishment of the National Financial Regulatory Administration and geopolitical tensions over Taiwan further complicate the economic outlook. Despite potential growth in sectors like electric vehicles and green energy, challenges such as local government debt and a shrinking population loom large, with significant reforms needed to sustain economic growth.

Hong Kong tycoon Jimmy Lai faces trial under ‘unfair’ national security law

15 Dec 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
Jimmy Lai, a prominent Hong Kong media tycoon and British citizen, is set to begin his national security trial, facing charges of collusion with foreign forces and publishing seditious material. Lai, who has pleaded not guilty, could face life imprisonment if convicted. His son Sebastien has been advocating for his release, recently meeting with UK Foreign Minister David Cameron. Lai's entrepreneurial success with Giordano and founding of Next Media and Apple Daily are highlighted, as well as his support for free speech and democracy. The trial, which will not include a jury and will be overseen by handpicked judges, is seen as a test of the national security law and has been criticized by international legal experts and human rights organizations.

Tech firms failing to ‘walk the walk’ on ethical AI, report says

08 Dec 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
Tech companies are failing to uphold their promises on ethical AI development, prioritizing performance metrics and product launches over safety. A Stanford University report highlights that despite publishing AI principles and employing experts, many companies do not prioritize ethical safeguards. AI ethics practitioners report a lack of institutional support and a culture of indifference or hostility. Ethical issues are often considered too late, and metrics around engagement and AI performance overshadow ethics-related recommendations. The report underscores growing concerns about AI development speed and ethical implications, especially since the release of ChatGPT and Google's Gemini.

In the Solomon Islands, a US agency’s struggles hint at China’s influence

05 Dec 2023  |  Al Jazeera
The Peace Corps has faced delays in returning to the Solomon Islands, raising suspicions of political stalling to appease China. Despite the US State Department and embassy in Honiara not commenting, a former US official suggests China influenced the Solomon Islands' cabinet decision. Opposition MP Peter Kenilorea Jr attributes the delay to the geopolitical climate under Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, who has pursued closer ties with China, including security agreements that have concerned the US, Australia, and New Zealand. Sogavare's government is seen as pro-China and anti-Western, with the delays possibly reinforcing a narrative of US neglect in the Pacific. The situation reflects the limits of Washington's influence in countering China's growing presence in the region.

Hong Kong journalist reported missing after trip to China

01 Dec 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
Minnie Chan, a reporter for the South China Morning Post, has gone missing in China after attending the Xiangshan Forum in Beijing. Despite assurances from her family that she is safe, concerns have been raised about her possible detention by Chinese authorities. The Hong Kong Journalists Association and other organizations have expressed deep concern for her safety. Chan's last known activity was on November 2, and her recent social media behavior has been described as unusual. China has a high rate of journalist detentions, with stringent legal processes controlled by the ruling Communist Party.

For Hong Kong’s arrested pro-democracy activists, justice must wait

28 Nov 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
In Hong Kong, 16 pro-democracy activists and legislators are facing the conclusion of their trial, which has been marked by significant delays. They were among 47 individuals arrested in January 2021 on charges of conspiracy to commit subversion, potentially facing life imprisonment. The trial has extended for nearly 10 months, with most defendants denied bail. The case highlights the broader issues of judicial delays and increased remand populations in Hong Kong's legal system since the national security law's imposition. The law has altered common law norms, contributing to a backlog of cases and a growing number of individuals in detention without conviction. The situation is exacerbated by a shortage of judges and a tendency to deny bail. High-profile cases like that of Jimmy Lai and Stand News editors have also faced delays, with the latter potentially seeing a positive outcome due to a UK Privy Council ruling on sedition.

‘Very significant’: Biden-Xi meet could help lower tensions, say analysts

16 Nov 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
The first meeting of the year between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden at the APEC Summit in San Francisco is seen as a positive step towards improving the working relationship between the two superpowers. They agreed to cooperate on artificial intelligence, climate change, and curbing fentanyl shipments, as well as to restore military communications severed after Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan. Analysts view the meeting as a buffer against potential future tensions, especially with upcoming presidential elections in Taiwan and the US. China's response to Taiwan's election and its incumbent Democratic Progressive Party is of particular interest, as Beijing considers them separatists. The restoration of military contact is significant, but its effectiveness in avoiding accidents in the Taiwan Strait is uncertain. Economic concerns, such as China's struggling economy and US export controls on tech, are believed to have influenced Xi's willingness to engage in more conciliatory talks.

Li Keqiang, former Chinese premier, dies at the age of 68

27 Oct 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
Li Keqiang, the former premier of China, has died at 68 from a heart attack. His death was reported by the state-run Global Times. Li, who served two terms under President Xi Jinping, was politically marginalized as Xi consolidated power. His death has been downplayed in Chinese state media. Li's tenure was marked by disappointment among those who hoped he would further open China's economy. Instead, he witnessed a shift towards authoritarianism and was unable to pursue his reformist agenda, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Li's legacy contrasts with influential Communist Party leaders like Zhou Enlai and Hu Yaobang, whose deaths sparked instability and protest. Li's death is seen as a reminder of the reforms he could not achieve.

After outcry over Ukraine, big business muted on Israel-Hamas war

13 Oct 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
Corporate giants that were vocal in their support for Ukraine have remained largely silent on the Israel-Hamas conflict. While some companies like Microsoft and Google have expressed support for Israel, there has been little to no corporate response to Israel's retaliatory actions in Gaza. The United Nations has warned of a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and marketing experts suggest that the complexity and sensitivity of the Israel-Palestine conflict make it challenging for companies to take a stance. The muted corporate response has drawn criticism from various quarters, including the Anti-Defamation League.

We hanged Uyghurs from ceilings and ordered their rape, says Chinese police whistleblower

05 Oct 2023  |  sg.news.yahoo.com
A former Chinese policeman, identified as Jiang, has revealed severe abuses against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, including torture and rape, to extract confessions. His testimony, corroborated by other exiles, adds to the evidence of China's alleged genocide against Uyghurs. Jiang's account details the brutal methods used in internment camps and the disillusionment among some police officers. The US, UK, Canada, and the EU have imposed sanctions on Chinese officials linked to these abuses, which China denies as slanderous accusations.

What is FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried’s trial about?

02 Oct 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, is facing a trial in New York starting October 3, 2023, on charges of wire fraud, securities fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy, with allegations of using stolen funds for political donations. If convicted, he could face over 100 years in prison. FTX and its partner hedge fund Alameda Research collapsed in November 2022, leading to billions in customer asset losses. The scandal has implicated celebrities who endorsed FTX and has had significant repercussions in the cryptocurrency industry and political circles. Bankman-Fried's associates have pleaded guilty and made deals with the prosecution, while his parents are also under scrutiny for receiving misappropriated funds.

Mid-Autumn festival: Why Asia goes mad for mooncakes

28 Sep 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
The Mid-Autumn Festival in Asia is marked by the widespread distribution of mooncakes, a traditional pastry associated with the holiday. Mooncakes come in various sizes, shapes, and fillings, reflecting regional variations. The festival, which is celebrated in countries with historical Chinese cultural influence, falls on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese lunar calendar. Mooncakes are often elaborately packaged and can be quite expensive, with some brands like Starbucks, Louis Vuitton, and Shangri-La offering their own versions. The Hong Kong or Cantonese-style mooncake has gained iconic status globally due to historical patterns of Chinese migration.

Q&A: Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu talks elections and China

13 Sep 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu discusses the upcoming presidential elections, expressing concerns over potential Chinese interference through misinformation and military threats. He highlights the Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) strategies to appeal to young voters and criticizes China's authoritarianism and economic coercion. Wu emphasizes the importance of international support, particularly from the US and Japan, to deter Chinese aggression. He also underscores Taiwan's strategic significance in global trade and semiconductor production, advocating for a balanced approach to maintain peace and security in the region.

Solomon Islands police deny China shipped guns, following Al Jazeera report

08 Sep 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
Solomon Islands police refuted claims that China covertly sent firearms to the nation, stating the shipment contained only imitation guns for training. This followed an Al Jazeera report citing US diplomats' skepticism, suggesting the shipment likely had real weapons. The US embassy noted the unusual circumstances of the shipment's arrival and handling. The incident occurs amidst growing geopolitical tension between China and Western powers, with Solomon Islands' deepening ties with China under Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare raising concerns.

Why are China’s workers studying ‘Xi Jinping Thought’?

07 Sep 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
China's workers are increasingly required to study 'Xi Jinping Thought' as part of a new propaganda drive initiated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). This campaign has permeated state-owned companies, private businesses, and even foreign firms. Xi Jinping Thought, a collection of the Chinese leader's writings and speeches, aims for the 'great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation' and has been integrated into the CCP's constitution and national school curriculum. The study sessions, likened to religious studies, are seen as a means to ensure loyalty to Xi and align business practices with his ideology. However, there are concerns that this focus on ideological training could detract from addressing China's economic challenges, including deflation, a real estate crisis, and a low birth rate.

Solomon Islands MPs demand answers over ‘replica’ guns from China

05 Sep 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
Solomon Islands' opposition leader Matthew Wale has demanded transparency from the police commissioner regarding a shipment of firearms from China, which US diplomats believed to be real despite government claims they were replicas. The controversy has raised concerns about national security and government integrity, with calls for a commission of inquiry. The Solomon Islands' pivot towards China has alarmed officials in the US, Australia, and New Zealand, highlighting the geopolitical rivalry in the Pacific region.

GoFundMe freezes donations for The Grayzone, sparking free speech debate

01 Sep 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
GoFundMe froze a fundraising campaign for The Grayzone, a far-left news outlet, citing 'external concerns,' leading to a debate on tech companies' role in regulating speech. The Grayzone's founder, Max Blumenthal, believes the freeze was politically motivated due to their coverage of the Ukraine war. The funds were eventually refunded, and the campaign moved to Spotfund. The incident underscores ongoing tensions about free speech and misinformation, with tech companies like Facebook, Twitter, and PayPal frequently caught in the crossfire. Advocacy groups like the ACLU have criticized such actions as financial censorship.

China promised climate action. Its emissions topped US, EU, India combined

30 Aug 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
China, the world's largest polluter, produces about 30 percent of global emissions, surpassing the combined emissions of the US, EU, and India. Despite its leadership in renewable energy, China's heavy reliance on coal is causing its emissions to rise rapidly, threatening global climate efforts. President Xi Jinping has pledged significant emission reductions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060, but the country's energy policy remains heavily influenced by its need for energy security. China continues to invest heavily in coal-fired power plants while also leading in renewable energy investments. Challenges such as an outdated power grid and limited capacity to store and transport renewable energy hinder progress. Analysts suggest that achieving carbon neutrality will depend on the successful adoption of emerging technologies like carbon capture and green hydrogen.

Q&A: Sebastien Lai on father Jimmy Lai’s Hong Kong ‘show trial’

27 Aug 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
Jimmy Lai, a 75-year-old media mogul and founder of the defunct Apple Daily newspaper, remains in custody facing multiple charges related to Hong Kong's democracy movement and protests. His national security trial has been delayed until December 18. Lai has been denied his choice of lawyer, Timothy Owen, and will be tried by Beijing-approved judges. Sebastien Lai, his son, discusses the trial's lack of basis, the decay of Hong Kong's legal system, and the implications for Hong Kong's international standing. He calls for the UK to hold Hong Kong accountable for breaking its handover promise and to advocate for his father's case. Sebastien has not seen his father since 2020 but remains hopeful, citing his father's strength and convictions.

Why China is grappling with falling prices – and being compared to Japan

21 Aug 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
China is experiencing deflation, with consumer prices falling for the first time in two years, raising concerns about the strength of its post-pandemic recovery. Economists compare China's current economic challenges to Japan's deflationary period in the 1990s, highlighting issues such as high local government debt, a struggling real estate market, and high youth unemployment. Analysts suggest that China needs to shift towards a consumer-driven economic model, but structural problems and vested interests pose significant obstacles. The Bank of China has room to adjust monetary policy, but large-scale stimulus measures are unlikely.

Hong Kong targets exiles’ loved ones as crackdown turns to old CCP playbook

04 Aug 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
Hong Kong authorities are increasingly targeting the families of pro-democracy dissidents who have fled overseas, using tactics reminiscent of mainland China's authoritarian approach. Police have raided the homes of family members of wanted activists, prompting condemnation from human rights organizations and Western governments. The National Security Law, which has severely curtailed freedoms in Hong Kong, is being used to justify these actions. Activists and experts argue that these measures are intended to intimidate and silence dissent, both within Hong Kong and abroad.

What is Elon Musk’s ‘everything app’ and what can it learn from China?

03 Aug 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
Elon Musk aims to transform the microblogging site X, formerly known as Twitter, into an 'everything app' similar to China's WeChat, which combines social media, digital payments, and internet browsing. WeChat's success in China was due to timing, limited credit card penetration, and state support, which included banning foreign platforms and endorsing local apps. Musk's super app faces challenges in the US's fragmented internet ecosystem, competition from existing apps, and the need to integrate a payment platform. His ownership of Twitter has been tumultuous, with significant layoffs, moderation changes leading to increased hate speech, advertiser exodus, and a drop in advertising revenue. Technical challenges include data protection and privacy, especially if the app operates globally. The viability of Musk's 'everything app' in Western markets, which are more liberal and consumer-rights oriented, remains uncertain.

China viewed poorly by two-thirds of people in 24 countries, survey finds

27 Jul 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
A Pew Research Center survey indicates that China's global image is declining, with 67% of respondents from 24 countries holding negative views. Negative perceptions are particularly strong in high-income countries, while some middle-income countries view China more positively. India is an exception among the latter, with negative views increasing due to border disputes. China is seen as economically inferior to the US, and its tech industry is one of the few areas receiving positive recognition. China's COVID-19 recovery struggles and questionable contributions to global peace have further impacted its international reputation, with 74% of respondents expressing little confidence in President Xi Jinping's world affairs leadership.

China unlikely to be worried by ‘weaker Putin’ post Wagner revolt

29 Jun 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
China and Russia's relationship is expected to remain strong despite the recent Wagner Group mutiny, though Beijing may become more cautious about Vladimir Putin's stability. The Chinese government emphasized stability and downplayed the mutiny, but analysts suggest that Chinese officials, including President Xi Jinping, are likely concerned about regime security. The incident has highlighted potential weaknesses in Putin's control, which could influence China's future dealings with Russia. Despite these concerns, the partnership between the two countries is likely to continue, with China possibly making more contingency plans.

Netflix show unleashes wave of MeToo allegations in Taiwan

22 Jun 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
More than 30 individuals in Taiwan have come forward with stories of sexual harassment and assault, inspired by the Netflix series 'Wave Makers'. The allegations span various sectors, including politics, arts, academia, and diplomatic circles. The show, which mirrors real-life events, has resonated with viewers and sparked a wave of accusations, particularly as Taiwan approaches a presidential election. The Democratic Progressive Party, KMT, New Power Party, and Taiwan People’s Party have all been implicated. Despite Taiwan's progressive image in gender relations, deep-rooted issues and social pressures continue to hinder victims from reporting incidents.

China spinning a ‘web’ of influence campaigns to win over Taiwan

13 Jun 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
Taiwan faces a complex web of influence campaigns orchestrated by China's United Front Work Department, aiming to sway public opinion and political dynamics in favor of reunification with China. The United Front employs various strategies, from cultural exchanges to political lobbying, to promote Beijing's vision of 'one country, two systems.' Despite these efforts, the Taiwanese population largely rejects reunification, favoring their democratic autonomy. The article highlights the nuanced and discreet nature of these campaigns, the historical context of cross-strait relations, and the challenges Taiwan faces in maintaining its democratic values against China's assertive policies.

Hong Kong refuses to clarify law as uncertainty dims business hub

09 Jun 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
Hong Kong's legal ambiguity under the National Security Law is causing significant concern among the business community, with officials refusing to clarify the law's implications. This uncertainty is eroding business confidence, as highlighted by a survey from the American Chamber of Commerce. Experts suggest that the lack of clarity is intentional to control society, impacting long-term business decisions and the legal community. The Hong Kong government maintains that adherence to the law will prevent violations, but has not provided specific guidance on what constitutes illegal protest activities.

China spied on Hong Kong activists using TikTok, lawsuit claims

07 Jun 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
A former ByteDance executive, Yintao 'Roger' Yu, claimed in a San Francisco court that the Chinese Communist Party accessed TikTok user data to monitor Hong Kong activists and protesters in 2018. Yu alleged that a special committee in Beijing used a 'god credential' to bypass data protection firewalls, tracking device identifiers, network information, SIM card IDs, and IP addresses to identify and locate users. The lawsuit also accuses ByteDance of promoting content that furthered the CCP's political agenda and scraping data from competitors' websites. ByteDance has denied the allegations, stating Yu's claims are baseless and seeking media attention.

China scaling back spending in Southeast Asia, report says

05 Jun 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
China has reduced its development assistance to Southeast Asia, relinquishing its position as the region's largest funding source to the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank. The Lowy Institute reported a decrease in China's contribution from $7.6 billion in 2015 to $3.9 billion in 2021, attributing the decline to the pandemic's lingering effects. Other countries, including the US, Australia, and Japan, are increasing their assistance amid rising geostrategic tensions with China. Traditional partners still provide the majority of the region's development funding, with Japan being the largest non-institutional donor after China.

Taiwan may tighten residency for Hong Kongers amid spying fears

01 Jun 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
Taiwan may increase the residency requirement for Hong Kongers from one to four years to qualify for permanent residency due to concerns over potential exploitation by Chinese spies. The Liberty Times reported the potential policy change, which has not been confirmed by Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council. The current rules allow certain migrants from Hong Kong and Macau easier access to permanent residency. The number of new residents from Hong Kong has decreased, and the perception of Hong Kong in Taiwan has shifted, with concerns over Chinese infiltration. Taiwan has been a destination for Hong Kong democracy activists fleeing the crackdown since 2019, but challenges such as lower salaries and language barriers have arisen. Background checks on exiles have become more difficult, but Taiwan continues to assist protesters in resettling.

Could AI carry out coups next unless stopped now?

30 May 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
High-profile individuals and organizations, including Steve Wozniak and Elon Musk, have called for a six-month pause in training AI systems more powerful than GPT-4, citing the risks of unpredictable and potentially dangerous capabilities. OpenAI's ChatGPT, a generative AI, has sparked debate over its abilities and the ethical implications of AI that could surpass human intelligence. While some experts argue for regulation and caution, others view AI as a tool without consciousness. Global regulators are considering various approaches to AI legislation, with China leading in bespoke regulations and the EU focusing on risk-based classifications. Concerns extend to AI's potential to destabilize democracies and economies, emphasizing the need for governance frameworks to protect the public.

Carmakers emitting 74 million tonnes of CO2, Greenpeace says

29 May 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
Greenpeace reports that the world's top automakers are generating an estimated 74 million tonnes of CO2 annually due to not decarbonizing their steel supply chains. The automobile industry's reliance on steel, with top automakers like Toyota, Volkswagen, and Hyundai-Kia using millions of tonnes, contributes significantly to carbon emissions. Greenpeace criticizes the lack of disclosure of steel emissions by these companies and calls for reduced steel consumption and a transition to zero-carbon steelmaking. The report highlights the need for automakers to halve their emissions from steel by 2030 and to achieve net zero emissions across their supply chains.

Visiting Taiwan, ex-UK PM Liz Truss calls for tough line on China

17 May 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
Former British Prime Minister Liz Truss, during her visit to Taiwan, emphasized the need for democratic countries to impose sanctions on China if it attacks Taiwan. She advocated for a NATO-style security alliance in the Asia Pacific and coordinated economic pressure on Beijing. Truss's visit, criticized by some UK politicians as 'Instagram diplomacy,' was seen as potentially provocative to China. Analysts suggest her proposals lack credibility and are unlikely to gain traction. The Chinese embassy condemned the visit, warning of repercussions for the UK government.

China’s foreign companies on edge after ‘state secrets’ raids

10 May 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
Foreign companies in China are anxious after national security raids on consultancy firms, raising concerns about the risks of doing business under Xi Jinping's leadership. The American Chamber of Commerce and EU representatives have expressed unease, particularly after investigations into firms like Capvision, Bain & Company, and Mintz Group for allegedly sharing state secrets. China's expansion of its anti-spying law has increased uncertainty for foreign businesses, which fear reduced access to corporate information. Despite these concerns, China's economy is projected to grow, and the Chinese government maintains that the actions are to safeguard national security and development interests.

China flags Uighurs as ‘extremist’ for having Quran, report says

04 May 2023  |  Al Jazeera
Chinese authorities are using phone surveillance to flag Uighurs for extremism, with possession of the Quran triggering police interrogation. Human Rights Watch's investigation revealed that a list of 50,000 multimedia files includes content from Uighur identity and self-determination groups, as well as non-political material like Islamic songs. The UN Human Rights Council is urged to investigate abuses in Xinjiang. A leaked Xinjiang police database shows that religious material often leads to extremism flags. Rights groups estimate over 1 million people have been detained in re-education camps as part of China's campaign to assimilate ethnic minorities into Han culture, despite Beijing's denial of human rights abuses.

ChatGPT is giving therapy. A mental health revolution may be next

27 Apr 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
The article explores the potential and limitations of using AI, specifically ChatGPT, in mental health therapy. While AI chatbots like ChatGPT can offer quick and accessible support for conditions like anxiety and depression, they raise ethical and practical concerns, including data privacy and the ability to empathize with patients. Current AI mental health applications, such as Wysa, Heyy, and Woebot, use rules-based systems and emphasize that they are not replacements for human therapists. Experts highlight the need for regulation and caution against over-reliance on AI for mental health treatment, suggesting that AI could be more effective as a supplementary tool rather than a standalone solution.

Macron accused of ‘playing into Xi’s hands’ with Taiwan comments

21 Apr 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
French President Emmanuel Macron's recent visit to China has sparked controversy, with critics accusing him of aligning too closely with Chinese President Xi Jinping and undermining European unity. Macron's comments on Taiwan, advocating for European 'strategic autonomy' and distancing from US-led policies, have been met with dismay in Europe and Asia. The visit highlighted divisions within the EU on how to approach China, with some member states favoring closer ties and others advocating for a tougher stance. The article underscores the complexities of EU-China relations and the potential implications for Taiwan and broader geopolitical dynamics.

Revealed: US grounded Chinese drones despite security warnings

19 Apr 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
The US Department of Interior grounded its Chinese-made drone fleet in 2019 over espionage concerns, despite internal warnings that the ban could increase security risks and hinder wildfire-fighting efforts. The ban, formalized by then-Secretary David Bernhardt, led to reliance on contractors using similar Chinese drones without DOI's security specifications. The policy, updated in 2022, now bans future drone purchases from adversary countries but allows non-emergency missions with the existing fleet. DJI, the world's largest commercial drone manufacturer, denies security risks, while the US continues to restrict Chinese companies under President Biden.

Chinese-Australians report less racism, greater belonging: Poll

19 Apr 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
Chinese-Australians have reported experiencing less racism and feeling a greater sense of belonging in Australia, according to a new survey by the Sydney-based Lowy Institute. The survey, which included 1,200 Australian residents of Chinese heritage, found that incidents of verbal abuse and physical threats have declined since 2020. A majority of respondents view Australia as a very good place to live, and their sense of belonging has increased, while their attachment to China has decreased. WeChat remains a significant news source for the community, despite concerns about the fairness and accuracy of the information.

AI could cause nuclear-level disaster, third of experts tell poll

14 Apr 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
A Stanford University survey reveals that over one-third of researchers believe AI could lead to a 'nuclear-level catastrophe,' highlighting significant concerns about the technology's risks. The 2023 AI Index Report underscores the rapid advancements and ethical challenges of AI, noting increased incidents and controversies. Prominent figures like Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak have called for a pause in AI development. Regulatory efforts are underway globally, with China, the EU, and the US taking steps to control AI's impact. Public opinion varies, with Americans more wary of AI compared to respondents from China, Saudi Arabia, and India.

China races to regulate AI after playing catchup to ChatGPT

13 Apr 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
China has introduced draft regulations for generative AI, requiring tech companies to register AI products with the Cyberspace Administration of China and undergo a security assessment. The rules mandate content to reflect socialist values, prohibit subversion of state power, and restrict the use of personal data in AI training. Violations can result in fines and criminal investigation. The move follows a broader tech industry crackdown since 2020. While China's AI has not yet matched Open AI's ChatGPT, its regulatory efforts are advancing rapidly compared to the US and EU. Experts suggest the regulations may be difficult to implement and enforcement may initially be lenient, targeting only severe violations.

Elon Musk under fire for Twitter’s shifting rules on state media

12 Apr 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
Twitter's algorithm changes under Elon Musk have led to increased visibility of state-affiliated media accounts, raising concerns among journalists and disinformation scholars. The platform, which previously labeled certain state media accounts to reduce their reach, has seen its guidelines change frequently, including a controversial brief labeling of NPR as state-affiliated media. The changes are seen as making it easier to spread propaganda and false narratives, particularly regarding the war in Ukraine.

US says China can spy with TikTok. It spies on world with Google

28 Mar 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
US lawmakers' scrutiny of TikTok for potential Chinese spying contrasts with the US government's own extensive surveillance using American tech giants like Google, Meta, and Apple. The debate over TikTok's ban coincides with the renewal of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which allows warrantless spying on non-US citizens. Critics argue that the US's stance on TikTok reflects a double standard, as American companies also collect vast amounts of data. The article highlights the broader issue of inadequate legal protections for personal data and the potential global implications of a US ban on TikTok.

Taiwan President Tsai’s controversial trip to Central America

28 Mar 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen embarks on a 10-day tour of Central America with significant stopovers in the US, where she is expected to meet congressional leaders. The trip includes official visits to Guatemala and Belize, but the US stopovers are likely to draw the most scrutiny. The visit comes amid strained US-China-Taiwan relations and follows Taiwan's recent loss of diplomatic recognition from Honduras. Tsai's trip coincides with political maneuvers by other Taiwanese leaders, including former President Ma Ying-jeou's visit to China and Ko Wen-je's planned US visit, highlighting the complex and evolving political landscape in Taiwan ahead of the 2024 presidential election.

China’s Baidu unveils ChatGPT rival Ernie

16 Mar 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
Baidu, the Chinese search engine giant, has introduced its AI chatbot Ernie, aiming to compete with OpenAI's ChatGPT. Baidu CEO Robin Li showcased Ernie's capabilities, such as mathematical logic reasoning and dialect understanding, during a press conference. However, Ernie's performance in English is weaker than in Chinese, and it lacks some functions present in OpenAI's GPT-4. The launch led to a drop in Baidu's shares, and the absence of a live demo raised concerns about Ernie's capacity. Despite this, over 650 organizations in China, including China CITIC Bank and the National Museum of China, plan to use Ernie. The Chinese government supports local AI development, and other tech giants like Alibaba and Huawei are also planning to release chatbots. The strict internet controls in China pose questions about the operation of AI chatbots in the country.

Could imitating volcanos fix the climate crisis? Science is split

28 Feb 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
Researchers in Southeast Asia are exploring the potential of stratospheric aerosol injection (SRM) to mimic volcanic cooling effects and mitigate global warming. Despite its promise, SRM remains controversial due to its untested nature and potential side effects. Scientists emphasize that SRM should not replace carbon emission reductions but could serve as a supplementary measure. The debate continues over its feasibility, ethical implications, and geopolitical consequences, with significant research and funding concentrated in the United States and China. Some private companies, like Make Sunsets, are already attempting small-scale SRM experiments, facing regulatory and environmental challenges.

How China and India’s appetite for oil and gas kept Russia afloat

24 Feb 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
Despite Western-led sanctions over the war in Ukraine, Russia's economy has been buoyed by increased energy imports from China and India. Russia's economy contracted by only 2.1% in 2022, with China and India becoming the largest buyers of Russian crude oil. The EU, G7, and Australia have imposed sanctions and price caps on Russian oil, but Russia has circumvented some restrictions through a 'shadow fleet' of oil tankers. Analysts predict continued strong demand for Russian energy in 2023, though Russia's oil and gas revenues are expected to drop significantly.

Will Russia’s struggle in Ukraine help Taiwan — or hurt it?

23 Feb 2023  |  www.aljazeera.com
As Russia faces challenges in Ukraine, questions arise about China's intentions towards Taiwan. China and Russia have strengthened their partnership, and with China's vow to reunify with Taiwan, possibly by force, the situation draws parallels with Ukraine. The US intelligence community, including CIA Director William Burns, monitors China's military directives, with Xi instructing readiness for a potential Taiwan invasion by 2027. Experts believe Xi is pragmatic and cautious, making a near-term invasion unlikely despite military modernization and pressure tactics. Taiwan, observing Ukraine's resilience, has increased its defense capabilities and national service duration. Analysts warn against direct comparisons between Ukraine and Taiwan, noting geographic and strategic differences. The situation remains complex, with China's approach influenced by its economic considerations, international reputation, and lessons from global conflicts.

Brides swap bouquets for onions as vegetable reaches luxury status

26 Jan 2023  |  The Telegraph
In the Philippines, a severe onion shortage linked to cartels has turned the vegetable into a luxury item, with some brides using onion bouquets at their weddings. Prices have surged dramatically, prompting government investigations and emergency measures to import onions. The shortage has affected restaurants and households, with experts blaming government inaction and market manipulation by middlemen. The situation has highlighted broader economic issues, including the impact of the pandemic on small businesses and the need for market competition.

North Korea orders five-day lockdown in capital over 'respiratory illness'

25 Jan 2023  |  ca.sports.yahoo.com
Pyongyang, North Korea, is under a five-day lockdown due to a surge in respiratory illness cases. Residents are required to monitor their temperatures, and there are severe penalties for spreading rumors or black-market medicine sales. This follows a previous lockdown in May and international skepticism of North Korea's claims of having eradicated Covid-19. Human Rights Watch reports that the pandemic has been used to justify increased repressive measures, including a 'shoot to kill' order for unauthorized border crossings since 2020.

North Korea orders five-day lockdown in capital over 'respiratory illness'

25 Jan 2023  |  ca.sports.yahoo.com
Pyongyang has been placed under a five-day lockdown due to a rise in respiratory illness cases, with residents required to check their temperature daily. The notice warned of severe penalties for spreading rumors or selling medicine on the black market. This lockdown follows reports of residents stocking up on supplies amid rumors of the lockdown. The North Korean government has previously denied Covid-19 outbreaks and declared victory over the virus in August, claims doubted by international health authorities. Human Rights Watch has criticized the government for using the pandemic to increase repressive measures.

Protesters face jail over Hong Kong police HQ siege

24 Nov 2020  |  www.independent.ie
Joshua Wong, a prominent Hong Kong democracy activist, is expected to return to prison after pleading guilty to charges related to organizing an unauthorized assembly outside the city's police headquarters. Despite facing imprisonment, Wong remains resolute in his activism, asserting that neither prison nor other forms of suppression will deter his efforts.

Activist Joshua Wong ready to return to prison after guilty plea in Hong Kong protests trial

23 Nov 2020  |  Yahoo Entertainment
Joshua Wong, a prominent Hong Kong democracy activist, is likely to return to prison after pleading guilty to inciting and organizing an unauthorized assembly outside the city's police headquarters. Alongside fellow activists Ivan Lam and Agnes Chow, Wong faces charges related to a protest on June 21, 2019. The trio, known for their roles in the 2014 Umbrella Movement, have been remanded into custody until their sentencing on December 2. Wong and Chow have also been active in lobbying the UK and US governments to take action against Beijing's policies in Hong Kong.

Demonic possession in Laos - is it real, or a pretext for village chiefs to banish troublemakers and nonconformists?

16 Jul 2017  |  South China Morning Post
In Laos, belief in the demonic spirit Phi Pob is used to explain illness and death, but also serves as a mechanism for social exclusion. Those accused of being possessed are often banished to villages like Nakasang, where they undergo cleansing rituals. This practice persists despite economic reforms and the arrival of other religions, as it provides a means of conflict resolution and social control in the absence of major political reform. The resurgence of Phi Pob accusations is linked to growing inequality and social disruption, with many of the accused being nonconformists or those involved in social conflicts.

How Instagram Is Changing Southeast Asia's Advertising Game

28 Dec 2016  |  Forbes
Instagram's user base in Southeast Asia has seen significant growth, with the platform becoming a key advertising medium in the region. In Malaysia, 73% of internet users have an Instagram account, and local celebrities like Vivy Yusof have successfully leveraged their following to build fashion empires such as Fashion Valet and The dUCk Group. Other Malaysian celebrities, including Nora Danish and Dato’ Siti Nurhaliza Tarudin, have also capitalized on their Instagram popularity to promote their own fashion and beauty brands. The trend of personal endorsements is gaining traction in Southeast Asia, especially in countries with limited consumer protection laws, suggesting a shift towards influencer marketing over traditional advertising.

Why Rodrigo Duterte May Not Be As Popular In The Philippines As He Thinks

16 Dec 2016  |  Forbes
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte's claim of having killed suspected drug dealers while mayor of Davao City has sparked controversy and mixed reactions online. Despite receiving a standing ovation from business leaders for his admission, critics like Senator Leila de Lima see it as grounds for impeachment. Duterte's high approval rating contrasts with the fear of retaliation expressed by individuals like Katy, a Filipino expat, who criticizes Duterte but dares not do so publicly. The article suggests that Duterte's perceived popularity may not fully reflect the sentiments of all Filipinos.

From 'Pineapple Pen' To Philippine Prisons: The Biggest Viral Moments Of 2016

13 Dec 2016  |  Forbes
In 2016, Southeast Asia saw a range of viral moments from humorous to heartbreaking. Highlights include a Thai model's prawn cracker dress, a foreigner in Thailand discussing high transit costs, and a viral song 'Pen Pineapple Pen' by Japanese comedian Kosaka Daimaou. Controversies included Australian men wearing Malaysian-flag underwear and Indonesian President Joko Widodo's fashion statement. The year also saw serious issues like the impact of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's harsh policies on suspected criminals, captured in Noel Celis' photographs of Quezon City Jail.

The Five Most Ridiculous Things Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte Said In 2016

07 Dec 2016  |  Forbes
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte made headlines in 2016 for his controversial remarks, including calling Pope Francis a 'son of a whore', threatening to leave the UN over criticism, insulting the U.S. ambassador and President Obama, and comparing himself favorably to Hitler. His war on drugs has led to thousands of deaths, drawing international condemnation and raising human rights concerns.

Video Of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte Cursing Out British Journalist Goes Viral

24 Nov 2016  |  Forbes
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte verbally attacked British journalist Jonathan Miller during a press conference after being questioned about the high death toll in the Philippines' war on drugs. The incident, where Duterte cursed at Miller, was captured on video and has gone viral. Duterte's controversial drug war has resulted in over 4,000 deaths since his tenure began on June 30. Despite his tough persona, Duterte is known to be sensitive to criticism, especially from Westerners. Miller, who works for the UK's Channel 4, has previously had confrontations with Duterte and suggests the president's resentment towards the US may have influenced his reaction.

The 5 Worst Places To Be An Internet User In Southeast Asia

22 Nov 2016  |  Forbes
Internet freedom in Southeast Asia is under significant threat due to government censorship and monitoring, as highlighted by Freedom House's annual report. Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam are identified as the worst offenders, with various forms of repression and legal actions against internet users. The article underscores the challenges faced by netizens in these countries, including imprisonment for online content and the blocking of websites. The report also notes the broader global decline in internet freedom for the sixth consecutive year.

Cambodia Will Be Asia's Next Online Shopping Battleground

10 Nov 2016  |  Forbes
Cambodia's postal system, known for its inefficiencies, poses a significant barrier to the growth of online shopping. Despite a 32.5% internet penetration rate, only 8% of Cambodians shop online, largely due to trust issues and the prevalence of fake goods. International e-commerce giants like Alibaba and Amazon are expanding into Cambodia but face challenges in gaining local trust. Local businesses are adapting by using hybrid online and brick-and-mortar models and leveraging local payment systems like WING and SmartLuy. As more banks offer VISA debit cards, the e-commerce market in Cambodia is expected to grow.

Creepy Clowns Arrive In Asia As Singapore Prank Ends In Hours Of Police Detention

03 Nov 2016  |  Forbes
Nineteen-year-old design student Joel Wong faced six hours of police detention after a Halloween prank in Singapore where he dressed as a killer clown and startled pedestrians. Despite police advising against sharing the video online, Wong uploaded it, leading to his detention and subsequent removal of the video. Wong's actions sparked negative social media backlash and highlighted Singapore's strict public order laws, potentially curbing similar pranks in the future.

Tackling Asia's Human Trafficking With Facebook, WhatsApp And LINE

28 Sep 2016  |  Forbes
The International Organization for Migration's Anti-Trafficking Campaign successfully used Facebook to rescue a Cambodian trafficking victim in the Marshall Islands. Social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, and LINE have become crucial tools for frontline organizations to communicate and assist trafficking victims quickly and effectively. The article highlights the increasing reliance on social media for anti-trafficking efforts and the significant impact of visual content in raising awareness and triggering responses.

Philippine Cybersex 'Dens' Are Making It Too Easy To Exploit Children

22 Sep 2016  |  Forbes
The Philippines is experiencing a rise in cybersex trafficking, with a disturbing increase in the sexual abuse of children on streaming sites. Authorities and NGOs, including the International Organisation for Migration and the Philippine National Police Anti Cybercrime Group, are struggling to combat this crime, which is facilitated by internet accessibility and livestream technology. The International Justice Mission found that cybersex trafficking victims are often very young, with 54% being 12 years old or younger. The motivation behind this exploitation is poverty, and efforts are being made to criminalize the act of accessing live streams of underage sex, particularly targeting buyers in the West.

Cambodian Official Claims Spanish Activist Is A Witch, Internet Baffled

01 Sep 2016  |  Forbes
Spanish activist Marga Bujosa Segado was deported from Cambodia after being arrested for attending a protest. She faced police brutality, including being beaten, which is unusual for Westerners in Cambodia. Major General Heisela claimed she was suspected of being a witch, citing fears of black magic, a statement he later retracted as a joke. The incident sparked significant reactions online, highlighting the absurdity and the Cambodian officials' history of making bizarre comments.

Teen Vlogger Amos Yee Pleads Guilty To Two Charges, May Face Jail Time

24 Aug 2016  |  Forbes
Amos Yee, a polemical teen vlogger from Singapore, pled guilty to failing to attend a police summons but still faces six charges for 'wounding religious feelings' by posting videos and a photograph insulting Islam and Christianity. Despite the possibility of three years in prison, Yee, who is representing himself with his mother's assistance, maintains his bravado on social media. His actions have raised questions about free speech in Singapore, a country with media classified as 'Not Free' by Freedom House. Yee previously made headlines for a video about Lee Kuan Yew, resulting in a sentence to a mental health facility, which was condemned by the United Nations and Human Rights Watch.

Cambodian Prince/Pokémon Trainer Still Waiting For His Pikachu

09 Aug 2016  |  Forbes
Vin Kakada, a 16-year-old, and his friends braved a storm to catch Pokémon at Phnom Penh’s Royal Palace, reflecting the recent launch of Pokémon Go in Cambodia. Despite the game's urban focus and competition from other popular cartoons, it has gained some traction, notably with Prince Norodom Buddhapong and his son participating. Buddhapong, who is not typically a gamer, enjoyed the game as a way to spend time with his son and explore the city. The game encourages physical activity and exploration of landmarks, although some areas remain off-limits. The article also highlights the challenges of playing in Phnom Penh due to weather and safety concerns.

Facebook Fired Up After Philippines' Duterte Releases 'Narco' List

08 Aug 2016  |  Forbes
The Philippines' Facebook community has shown support for President Rodrigo Duterte's release of a list of 159 individuals allegedly linked to the drug trade. Despite errors in the list, such as deceased individuals being named, many users are advocating for action against those involved in the drug trade. Duterte's war on drugs has seen hundreds of alleged drug dealers killed since his inauguration on June 30. The U.S. Department of State's report highlights the presence of international crime groups in the Philippines, with a significant number of villages reporting drug-related crimes. The public's reaction is mixed, with some criticizing the lack of due process and others frustrated by local leaders' inaction on the drug problem.

How To Avoid Internet Censors In Southeast Asia (And Elsewhere)

04 Aug 2016  |  Forbes
Social media in Southeast Asia faces increasing censorship, with users prosecuted for online statements. The article provides a guide to browsing the internet safely, including tips like not using real names, avoiding personal phone numbers or emails, using VPNs and Tor Browser, and paying with Bitcoin instead of credit cards. It emphasizes the importance of anonymity and privacy in regions with strict internet regulations and highlights the benefits of VPNs even outside Southeast Asia.

Laos NGO restrictions threaten development, say non-profit groups

15 Sep 2014  |  South China Morning Post
Laos is implementing new restrictions on NGOs, which could hinder their role in development and civil society. The decrees place foreign NGOs under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and impose strict financial reporting requirements on local non-profits. These measures are seen as part of a broader trend of increasing government control, similar to actions in Russia and China. The restrictions have raised concerns among Western diplomats and NGO workers, who fear they will stifle open discussion and development efforts in the country. The article highlights the significant role NGOs play in Laos, a nation with a small civil society, and the potential negative impact of these new regulations.

What is Beijing up to? Summer of increased harassment, surveillance leaves Chinese NGOs on edge

15 Aug 2014  |  South China Morning Post
Increased harassment and surveillance of NGOs in China have raised concerns among civil society groups. Police interrogations and detailed questionnaires about funding and operations have become more common, particularly targeting NGOs with foreign ties. The central government has not officially commented on the situation, but experts suggest it could indicate either a crackdown or a move towards better regulation. Notable incidents include the detention of Chang Boyang, a lawyer for Zhengzhou Yirenping, an NGO supporting hepatitis B patients. Opinions on the government's intentions vary, with some seeing it as a worrying sign of increased control, while others believe it could lead to regulatory reforms.

TIMELINE: Zhou Yongkang's fall from grace

29 Jul 2014  |  South China Morning Post
China has announced an investigation into former security tsar Zhou Yongkang for graft, marking the highest-profile corruption inquiry in the country's modern history. The South China Morning Post had previously reported the Communist Party's decision to investigate Zhou. Prior to this announcement, numerous Party and government officials with ties to Zhou had been dismissed.

Number of surgical objects left in bodies of Hong Kong patients hits four-year high

28 Jul 2014  |  South China Morning Post
Seven patients in Hong Kong had surgical objects left inside their bodies in the first quarter of the year, the highest number since 2010. Items included a drainage tube, catheter tip, and drill bit. The Hospital Authority revealed these incidents, noting that the average number of such cases per quarter is 3.6. Experts suggest that these incidents may result from instrument breaks or human error, with items often discovered later through X-rays or patient symptoms. The Hospital Authority emphasizes the complexity of healthcare settings and the importance of root cause analysis to improve patient safety.

Hong Kong's youngest activists draw inspiration from political liberalism

20 Jul 2014  |  South China Morning Post
Hong Kong's young activists, including Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow, and Alex Chow, draw inspiration from American political philosopher John Rawls as they advocate for greater social justice and democracy. They emphasize the importance of the rule of law and civil disobedience in their pro-democracy efforts, particularly in the context of the Occupy Central movement. Despite challenges in gaining widespread public support, they remain committed to their cause, awaiting the government's proposal for electoral reform.

Fox News host’s racial slur sparks online backlash in China

14 Jul 2014  |  South China Morning Post
A Fox News co-host, Bob Beckel, made a racial slur against Chinese people on the program The Five, calling them a national security threat to the U.S. and referring to them as 'Chinamen.' The incident was broadcasted by China's state broadcaster CCTV and sparked significant backlash on Chinese social media, with the story being shared and commented on extensively. Prominent figures in China, including Lin Zhibo of the People's Daily, criticized the racial discrimination evident in Beckel's comments. In the U.S., California Senator Ted Lieu called for Beckel's resignation, stating that his comments were unacceptable and this was not his first use of racial slurs.
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