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    • Landmark Hong Kong national security trial opens 2 years after arrests
      on February 6, 2023 at 7:20 am

      HONG KONG - The trial of 16 Hong Kong democracy activists charged under a national security law imposed by Beijing began on Monday (Feb 6) with security tight for a case that some observers say will be a test of the city's judicial independence. The defendants are those who pleaded not guilty out of 47 arrested in a dawn raid in January 2021 and charged with conspiracy to commit subversion for participating in an unofficial primary election organised by democracy supporters in 2020. More than 100 people queued for seats in the court's public gallery with dozens of police on standby and a bomb disposal vehicle deployed. "There's no crime to answer. It is not a crime to act against a totalitarian regime," defendant and former lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung, known by the nickname Long Hair, told the court. Judge Andrew Chan responded that the hearing was a "solemn occasion" and asked for respect from the defendants and members of the public. […]

    • Hong Kong: Largest national security trial begins
      on February 6, 2023 at 5:55 am

      A total of 47 pro-democracy activists including Joshua Wong are connected to the landmark case. […]

    • US searches for wreckage of suspected Chinese spy balloon
      on February 6, 2023 at 1:02 am

      The US is trying to recover debris from the suspected spy balloon off South Carolina. […]

    • China foreign ministry: 'Airship' over the US a 'force majeure accident'
      on February 4, 2023 at 3:07 am

      SHANGHAI — China's foreign ministry said on Saturday (Feb 4) that flight of a Chinese 'airship' over the US was a force majeure accident, accusing US politicians and media of taking advantage of the situation to discredit China. The US, saying the craft was a suspected spy balloon that had committed a "clear violation" of US sovereignty, postponed a visit to China by Secretary of State Antony Blinken that had been expected to start on Friday. "China has always strictly abided by international law and respected the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries," the ministry said in a statement. It said Beijing and Washington had not announced any visit by Blinken and that "the US announcements are their own matter and we respect that". The ministry said in a separate statement Wang Yi, director of China's Central Commission for Foreign Affairs, had spoken to Blinken over the phone on Friday evening and discussed how to deal with accidental incidents in a calm and professional manner. Wang told Blinken that both parties needed to communicate in a timely manner and avoid any misjudgments, the ministry said. […]

    • Spy balloon row: High-altitude spying marks new low for US-China ties
      on February 3, 2023 at 8:29 pm

      Relations between the superpowers are in limbo as America's top diplomat postpones his trip to Beijing. […]

    • China balloon: Could it have been blown off course as Beijing claims?
      on February 3, 2023 at 6:21 pm

      Wind speed and weather data has been used to track its possible path. […]

    • Hong Kong says 'hello' to woo back visitors after Covid-19 isolation
      on February 3, 2023 at 7:30 am

      HONG KONG — Hong Kong leader John Lee unveiled on Thursday (Feb 2) a promotion campaign that will include 500,000 free flights to lure visitors, businesses and investors back to the financial hub after more than three years of tough Covid-19 curbs. The "Hello Hong Kong" campaign launched with dancers and flashing neon lights in the city's main convention centre beside its famous harbour, with a backdrop carrying the slogan in various languages, including Russian and Spanish. Lee, speaking in English, said the campaign would show the city was open for tourism and was aimed at boosting business and investment in the Chinese special administrative region. "Hong Kong is now connected to mainland China and the whole international world, and there will be no isolation, no quarantine and no restrictions on experiencing ... enjoying the hustle and bustle of Asia's world city," he added. Officials from the city's tourism, trade and aviation departments also attended the launch. […]

    • China to fully resume travel with Hong Kong, Macau on Feb 6
      on February 3, 2023 at 5:53 am

      HONG KONG - China said on Friday (Feb 3) that cross border travel between the mainland, Hong Kong and Macau would fully resume from Feb 6, dropping existing quotas and scrapping a mandatory Covid-19 test that was required before travelling. Group tours between China and its two special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau would resume, while the number of customs checkpoints open will return to pre-pandemic levels, China's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office said in a statement on its website. Even after China reopened its borders to the world on Jan 8, a quota system and Covid testing requirement remained for travellers between the mainland and Hong Kong. The three border checkpoints that have not yet reopened will do so from Feb 6, Hong Kong's leader John Lee said at a press conference on Friday. Hong Kong will also scrap a Covid vaccination requirement to enter Hong Kong for all arrivals, including non-Hong Kong residents, Lee added. […]

    • Xiaomi demands payout from supplier after car designs leaked
      on February 3, 2023 at 4:07 am

      SHANGHAI — China's Xiaomi said on Thursday (Feb 2) it had imposed a one million yuan (S$194,000) penalty on a supplier after it leaked early design drafts of an upcoming car model. On its official Weibo page, a spokesperson wrote Xiaomi had "dealt seriously" with a Beijing-based moulding technology company which on Jan 22 publicly revealed images of an upcoming car's front and rear bumpers, violating a confidentiality agreement. Xiaomi did not disclose the name of the company and Reuters could not identify it. As punishment, the smartphone-turned-car maker said it would impose "economic compensation" of one million yuan on the supplier. The spokesperson added it had instructed the supplier to strengthen its information security management, and develop plans to upgrade its confidentiality measures. Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun also circulated the note on his personal Weibo page. […]

    • US secures deal on Philippines bases to complete arc around China
      on February 2, 2023 at 1:16 pm

      Washington now has more access to Philippines military bases facing the South China Sea and Taiwan. […]

    • How US Marines are being reshaped for China threat
      on February 1, 2023 at 12:34 am

      Critics say a plan to dump all the Marines' battle tanks to prepare for a Pacific war makes little sense. […]

    • China says Covid-19 situation at 'low level' after CNY holiday
      on January 31, 2023 at 1:03 am

      BEIJING - China said on Monday (Jan 30) that the Covid-19 situation in the country was at a "low level", and that fever clinic visits due to the coronavirus during the Lunar New Year dropped about 40 per cent from before the week-long holiday "The overall epidemic situation in the country has entered a low level, and the epidemic situation in various places has maintained a steady downward trend," National Health Commission spokesperson Mi Feng told a media briefing on Monday. Travel domestically as well as in and out of China during the holiday period rose sharply as millions boarded planes, trains, buses and highways after Beijing abruptly dismantled an almost three-year zero-Covid policy in early December. Passenger trips during the annual travel rush period reached 892 million between Jan 7 and Jan 29, up 56 per cent from 2022, a transport ministry official told reporters, but down 46.9per cent from the same period in 2019. […]

    • Covid in China: Officials say current wave is 'coming to an end'
      on January 30, 2023 at 3:19 pm

      Authorities say the death toll has peaked, and there's been no case spike during Lunar New Year. […]

    • Sichuan health authorities allow unmarried people to legally have children
      on January 30, 2023 at 10:17 am

      BEIJING — Health authorities in China's southwestern province of Sichuan will allow unmarried individuals to raise a family and enjoy benefits reserved for married couples, in the latest effort to bolster a falling birth rate. The government dictates that only married women are legally allowed to give birth, but with marriage and birth rates having fallen to record lows in recent years, provincial authorities revamped a 2019 rule to cover singles who want to have children. From Feb 15, married couples and any individuals who want offspring will be allowed to register with the government in China's fifth most populous province, with no ceiling on the number of children they can register for. The measure aims to "promote long-term and balanced population development," Sichuan's health commission said in a statement on its website. Until now, the commission had allowed only married couples who wanted to have up to two children to register with local authorities. […]

    • $11.8m in cold, hard cash: Chinese company gives employees hefty bonuses using 'mountain of money'
      by Wong Dao En on January 30, 2023 at 8:45 am

      We've heard of companies rewarding employees with massive bonuses, but giving out the money in cold, hard cash? In China, employees recently took turns to go on stage and collect their year-end bonus from a two-metre-tall 'mountain' containing 61 million yuan (S$11.8 million) worth of banknotes. This was the scene of a viral video posted on Jan 17, which has been circulating around Chinese social media. According to South China Morning Post, 40 employees from a crane manufacturing company in Henan were handed a minimum of one million yuan each in cash at the company's annual party. As for the three top-performing sales managers? Each of them walked away with a whopping five million yuan. […]

    • China approves 2 domestically developed Covid-19 drugs
      on January 30, 2023 at 1:04 am

      BEIJING - China has approved two domestically developed oral medicines for Covid-19 patients with mild symptoms, the National Medical Products Administration said on Sunday (Jan 29). The drugs, used for treating adult patients with mild to moderate Covid-19 infections, have been developed by Simcere Pharmaceutical Group and a unit of Shanghai Junshi Biosciences Co Ltd, the administration said in a statement on its website. China abandoned its stringent "zero Covid" policy in early December after protests against it, allowing people to travel and the virus to spread rapidly throughout the country, boosting demand for Covid treatments. ALSO READ: In China, no easy way to get Pfizer's Covid-19 drug Paxlovid […]

    • China domestic tourism picks up over Lunar New Year as Covid-19 curbs end
      on January 28, 2023 at 1:23 am

      BEIJING - Almost a quarter more domestic Chinese tourism trips have been made during this year's Lunar New Year holiday, while cross-border travel more than doubled in the first six days of the week-long break following the end of strict Covid-19 curbs. A total of 308 million tourism trips within China have been made during the current holiday period, up 23.1 per cent from 2022's Lunar New Year break and marking a recovery to 88.6 per cent of the number in 2019, data from the culture and tourism ministry showed on Friday (Jan 27). China in December began dismantling its stringent zero-Covid measures after nearly three years that saw intermittent citywide lockdowns, slower economic growth and a disrupted tourism and hospitality sector. Revenue generated from domestic tourism during this year's holiday stands at 375.84 billion yuan (S$73 billion), or 73.1 per cent of that in 2019, according to the tourism ministry data. […]

    • Ukraine: US sanctions Chinese firm helping Russia's Wagner Group
      on January 27, 2023 at 6:21 am

      Spacety China allegedly supplied satellite imagery of Ukraine to support Wagner's combat operations. […]

    • LVMH: Luxury giant's sales soar despite China losses
      on January 27, 2023 at 5:34 am

      LVMH - owner of brands including Moët and Louis Vuitton - saw strong sales despite losses in China. […]

    • Ji Chaoqun: Chinese engineer jailed for eight years for spying in US
      on January 26, 2023 at 6:20 am

      Ji Chaoqun was linked to Chinese efforts to get a hold of advanced US aviation and aerospace secrets. […]

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