This was the latest of hardships that Mr. Lau had to endure in Hong Kong, a city increasingly hostile towards the press. In January he had been ousted from his position as Editor in Chief at the newspaper Ming Pao, sparking enough outrage that 90% of the editorial staff at Ming Pao signed a petition demanding that the company state its reasons for dismissing Kevin Lau. Many speculated that it was his critical reporting of the Hong Kong government that was the reason for his removal as Editor in Chief.
Under Lau’s leadership, Ming Pao was critical of numerous government policies and pushed for democratic reforms in Hong Kong. The newspaper also exposed several political scandals, embarrassing political leaders in the city.
TOKYO—Yuka Hayashi reports: Japan plans to establish a 3,000-troop unit specializing in amphibious operations “as swiftly as possible,” the defense minister said, publicly outlining details of the new unit for the first time as tensions with China continue over disputed islands.
“Our nation has numerous remote islands and islands of various sizes, and they give us the basis for our exclusive economic zone that ranks sixth in the world…That makes it important to provide defense for islands over the coming years.”
Japan has undertaken an ambitious project to create a force similar to the U.S. Marine Corps, and Japanese Self-Defense Force Troops have been receiving increasingly frequent training from their U.S. counterparts in the past few years.
A plan to strengthen amphibious capabilities was laid out in Japan’s new defense guidelines released in December. In detailing some of the specifics Sunday, Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said the new force is expected to include units specializing in handling types of equipment currently unfamiliar to Japanese troops, such as amphibious vehicles and the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.
Mourners and volunteers descended on Kunming today after knife-wielding attackers killed 29 people in a frenzied rampage.
“I saw two attackers, both men, one with a watermelon knife and the other with a fruit knife. They were running and chopping whoever they could.”
Distressing photos circulating online showed bodies, pools of blood and abandoned luggage scattered across the terminal floor in the wake of what authorities termed an ‘organised, premeditated, violent terrorist attack’.
More than 130 people were injured in the frenzied attack last night, which has left China shaken
It is a small step towards comprehending the atrocity as officials try to uncover who was behind it
Earlier, volunteers descended on the city’s hospitals in Yunnan province to give blood for the 130 wounded
Today, hospitals were filled with citizens giving blood as dozens remain in a critical state.
Outside, candles were laid in heart shapes as the nation absorbs the shock of the event.
It is believed that more than 10 people took part in the attack. As well as the four who were shot yesterday, one was taken alive. The rest are still being hunted.
HONG KONG—Isabella Steger reports: Thousands of people turned out Sunday in Hong Kong to support media freedom after the condition of former newspaper editor Kevin Lau, who was the victim of a brutal knife attack, took a turn for the better.
Mr. Lau was the editor of respected local Chinese-language daily Ming Pao before being abruptly dismissed in January. He was slashed with a knife on Wednesday near a restaurant he was known to regularly frequent on the east side of Hong Kong’s main island.
He entered the hospital in critical condition and his condition was improved to “serious” on Friday. On Saturday, Mr. Lau’s wife, Vivien Lau, issued a statement saying Mr. Lau had been transferred to the hospital’s general ward from the intensive-care unit.
Attacked Hong Kong Journalist’s Condition Improves
“However, the reality is the wounds he suffers are deep and serious.…He will have to undergo a prolonged program of physiotherapy and other rehabilitation,” Ms. Lau said.
Mr. Lau was shown on television Saturday flashing an “OK” sign to reporters as he was being moved to the general ward.
Chinese Media Taunt Outgoing U.S. Envoy Gary Locke with Bizarre Racial Insults: ‘Yellow-Skinned, White-Hearted Banana Man’Posted: March 3, 2014
Gary Locke may have won over ordinary Chinese with his conduct in the country, but not everyone was impressed with the first Chinese-American to serve as the U.S. envoy to China.
“And it’s all because of a coffee break…”
NPR’s Anthony Kuhn reported Friday for our Newscast unit about an opinion piece in China News, a Chinese state media outlet, that called Locke, the outgoing U.S. ambassador, a “‘yellow-skinned, white-hearted banana man,’ whose Chinese ancestors would have kicked him out of the house, had they known about his future career.”
“The piece lambasted him for carrying his own backpack and buying his own coffee in what it described as a ploy to embarrass less frugal Chinese officials.
“It also called him the ‘guide dog’ of Chinese blind activist Chen Guangchen, whose exodus to the U.S. was a sensitive episode in Locke’s tenure.
I was disappointing to discover that actual members of the Japan Self-Defense Forces aren’t featured in this calendar, but bikini models and pop sex-symbols from the civilian world. Still, it’s an effective recruitment campaign…
Images of the 2014 Japan Self-Defense Forces calendar depicting beautiful women in uniform have been popping up on portal sites around Japan. The calendars were created to raise awareness of the JSDF and to “lift morale.” However, with this year’s choice to use, not actual members of the Japan Self-Defense Forces, but bikini model Azusa Yamamoto, among others, we have a feeling this calendar will be lifting a lot more than morale.
Here’s a sample:
Applications for the Self-Defense Forces increased by 20 percent with the addition of three moe mascots on their recruitment posters. We wonder how many young men and women this models-turned-military calendar will inspire…
KUNMING, China (AP) - More than 10 assailants slashed scores of people with knives at a train station in southern China, drawing police fire, in what authorities called a terrorist assault by ethnic separatists based in the far west, state media said Sunday. Thirty-three people were killed and 130 wounded.
Police fatally shot four of the assailants , arrested one and were searching for the others following the attack late Saturday at the Kunming train station in Yunnan province, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Witnesses described attackers dressed in black storming the train station and attacking people indiscriminately.
Student Qiao Yunao, 16, was waiting to catch a train at the station when people starting crying out and running, and then saw a man slash another man’s neck, drawing blood.
“I was freaking out, and ran to a fast food store, and many people were running in there to take refuge,” she told The Associated Press via Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblog. “I saw two attackers, both men, one with a watermelon knife and the other with a fruit knife. They were running and chopping whoever they could.”
The attackers’ identities were not yet confirmed, but evidence at the scene of the attack showed that it was “a terrorist attack carried out by Xinjiang separatist forces,” Xinhua quoted the municipal government as saying. Authorities considered it to be “an organized, premeditated violent terrorist attack.”
The far western region of Xinjiang is home to a simmering rebellion against Chinese rule by separatists among parts of the Muslim Uighur (pronounced WEE’-gur) population.
Most attacks blamed on Uighur separatists take place in Xinjiang, where clashes between ethnic Uighurs and members of China’s ethnic Han majority are also frequent. Saturday’s assault took place more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) to the southeast in Yunnan, which has not had a history of such unrest.
However, a suicide car attack blamed on Uighur separatists that killed five people at Beijing’s Tiananmen Gate last November raised alarms that militants could be changing tactics and aiming to strike at soft targets throughout the country.
In an indication of how seriously authorities viewed the attack – one of China’s deadliest in recent years – the country’s top police official, Politburo member Meng Jianzhu, arrived in Kunming on Sunday morning and went straight to the hospital to visit the wounded and their families, Xinhua reported.
Over 1,000 people were arrested in connection with the bust of four Internet-based baby trafficking rings
Chinese authorities announced Friday the rescue over 300 babies in a sting that thwarted four Internet-based baby trafficking rings.
The fake adoption websites were selling babies in a country where a one-child rule has made baby trafficking a thriving enterprise, according to the Public Security Ministry. Read the rest of this entry »
North Korea fired four short-range missiles over the sea off its east coast on Thursday, a media official at South Korea’s Defence Ministry said, while providing no information on the purpose of the firing.
North Korea fired the missiles at 5:42 p.m. (0342 ET) from a mountain site just north of the border with South Korea, the official said.
Launches by the North of short-range missiles are not uncommon as part of military exercises.
The firing came days after the beginning of annual joint U.S. and South Korean military exercises which the North routinely denounces as preparation for war.
An Industry of Lies
For the NYTimes, Kirk Semple, Joseph Goldstien, and Jeffery E. Singer report: A Chinese woman walked into a law office in New York’s Chinatown and asked to see her lawyer. She had applied for asylum, claiming that she had been forced to get an abortion in China to comply with the country’s family-planning laws, and she was anxious about her coming interview with immigration officials.
She had good reason to be worried: Her claim, invented by her lawyer’s associates, was false.
But the lawyer, John Wang, told her to relax. The process, he said, was straightforward, and as long as she memorized a few details, everything would be fine. “You are making yourself nervous,” he said in Mandarin. “All you would be asked is the same few rubbish questions.”
“Just make it up.”
…the lawyer added. The conversation, in December 2010, was secretly recorded by federal officials conducting a wide investigation of immigration fraud in New York’s Chinese population. The inquiry has led to the prosecution of at least 30 people — lawyers (including Mr. Wang), paralegals, interpreters and even an employee of a church, who is on trial, accused of coaching asylum applicants in basic tenets of Christianity to prop up their claims of religious persecution. All were charged with helping hundreds of Chinese immigrants apply for asylum using false tales of persecution.
The new era of military competition in the Pacific will become the defining geopolitical contest of the 21st century…
“Ninety per cent of China’s time is spent on thinking about new and interesting ways to sink our ships and shoot down our planes”
– Dennis Blair, former US Pacific commander
Originally posted on China Daily Mail:
On February 16, horrified onlookers watched as a Chinese man jumped into a bengal tiger enclosure at Chengdu Zoo in Sichuan province, south-west China. The man taunted the two tigers for twenty minutes, offering his flesh to them and asking to be eaten.
Despite desperate attempts to enrage the animals, 27-year-old Yang Jinhai escaped with only minor cuts and scratches after one of the tigers dragged him by the back of his clothes. According to onlookers, the other tiger ran away from the commotion as soon as Jinhai jumped into the pen.
Frances Martel reports: 2013 was a banner year for uncalled for expansion of China’s borders, from the Senkaku Islands Air Identification Defense Zone to a state TV show claiming the entirety of the Philippines for China. But on the economic front, China plans an expansion of a completely different kind: the use of robots to make manufacturing even cheaper.
Canada’s Globe and Mail has a feature out this week on China’s increased push to replace human labor with automated work. While China boasts some of the cheapest labor in the world–hence their domination of the manufacture of many simple to make items–salaries are, by necessity, increasing. This, argues author Scott Barlow, is pressuring the Chinese government to stay competitive economically with other nations by suppressing the growing wages. And to do that, he continues, businesses need to hire fewer people.
Lily Kuo writes: Every few years, the city of Hong Kong is rocked by news that another foreign domestic worker has been badly abused by her employer. Last month, 23-year-old Erwiana Sulistyaningsih told authorities that she had been beaten daily, hit with mops, rulers, and clothes hangers until she could no longer walk.
But Hong Kong’s treatment of the thousands of women who are known here as “helpers” has ramifications beyond a case of physical abuse. The city’s double standard for foreign domestic wages and its increasingly strict policies are making conditions worse for hundreds of thousands of women across the entire region, where almost half of the world’s domestic workers are employed.
Globally there are 53 million domestic workers, mostly women, according to a conservative estimate by the International Labor Organization (ILO)—that’s an increase of almost 60% since the mid-1990s, and the ILO says the true figure may be closer to 100 million (pdf, p. 19). Some 41% of them are working in the Asia Pacific region, where keeping hired help has long been a tradition from the lower middle class to the wealthiest of families.