Fatal fishing boat crash isn’t first tragedy to test Xi Jinping in Taiwan Strait, but tensions make ties harder to mend

The cases have some similarities but this time it could be much more difficult to negotiate a resolution, observers say. Mainland coastguards ‘no threat’ if they stay clear of Taiwan’s land forces Both incidents happened amid a lack of communication and trust between the two sides. Like the earlier tragedy, Beijing strongly condemned Taipei’s handling of the February collision. Beijing called the crash a “vicious incident” and said Taipei should be held responsible for the deaths of the mainland Chinese. However, analysts warn that trust between Beijing and Taipei has…

Asio cleared of unlawfully luring Daniel Duggan back to Australia, agency chief Mike Burgess says

The spy agency Asio says it has been cleared by the intelligence watchdog of allegations of impropriety raised by the Australian citizen Daniel Duggan as he fights extradition to the US. Duggan, a former US marines pilot accused of training Chinese pilots to land fighter jets on aircraft carriers, had complained to the inspector general of intelligence and security (IGIS) about Asio’s role in securing his return to Australia from China. His legal team had raised concerns an “unlawful lure” – in the form of an Asio clearance for an…

State-funded film set during Indochina war attracts surprising interest

A state-funded film about a 1947 battle between French troops and Vietnamese resistance forces has attracted a surprising level of interest from theatergoers who have lined up to watch the movie and requested a wider distribution. “Dao, Pho va Piano” – or “Peach, Pho and Piano” in English (with pho referring to the famous Vietnamese noodles) – was released on Feb. 10, the first day of Tet, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year holiday. Vietnam’s government often uses the state budget to fund films about historical topics for propaganda purposes. But…

Myanmar’s Youth Leaders Fear Conscription Law

Bangkok, Thailand —  Myanmar’s youth leaders are determined to avoid the military’s conscription law that could see them fight against the very resistance they are part of. The Myanmar’s People Military Service Law, which was enacted in 2010 but activated in February, means men ages 18 to 45 and women ages 18 to 35 can be drafted into the armed forces for two years. People in certain professions, such as doctors, must serve for three years. In the case of a national emergency, the military service could be extended to…

White House race tests US-China ties, but Beijing won’t use ‘two sessions’ to air opinions on the election

When China’s political elites gather for the two sessions next week, many will be watching to see how Beijing views the US presidential election and the future of bilateral ties. But as the chances of a rematch between US President Joe Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump grow, observers say China is likely to take a cautious and neutral stance on the election during the gatherings of its legislature and top political advisory body. There is a pervasive view in China that neither candidate would be a relief for Beijing…

China removes Hong Kong affairs veteran Zhang Xiaoming from senior role at top advisory body

He remains a member of the CPPCC and the party, a source told the South China Morning Post. Zhang, 60, was a minister-level official and is below the usual retirement age of 65. He began working at the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO) in 1989 after graduating from Renmin University of China’s law school, serving as the agency’s deputy director from 2004 to 2012. He was then promoted to director of Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong, and became director of the HKMAO in 2017. In February 2020,…

China’s state media in positive economic spin mode in countdown to ‘two sessions’

In an editorial on Saturday, Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily focused on the record box office and increases in holiday spending over the Lunar New Year, saying the rises reflected the “vitality and resilience of China’s high-quality development”. “Negative elements in the international political and economic environment are rising, and domestic cyclical and structural problems are making the situation even more complex,” the editorial said. “However, our economy is generally in a sound recovery. We are still the world’s largest growth engine.” 08:36 A vanishing fairyland dream: how China Evergrande…

Chinese astronauts take a walk to fix damaged solar panel on Tiangong space station

“This is the first time that Chinese astronauts have completed the maintenance of extravehicular facilities of an orbiting spacecraft,” the agency said on Saturday. Astronauts Tang Hongbo and Jiang returned safely to the Wentian experimental lab module, it said. During the repair mission, the astronauts also inspected the station’s surface. Astronauts aboard China’s Tiangong space station repair a damaged solar panel on Saturday. Photo: CCTV The Shenzhou 17 crew conducted their first extravehicular maintenance mission on December 21, when they began the task of repairing the panels. That exercise took…

Chinese scientists produce a powerful winter-proof lithium battery

Lithium-ion batteries have been limited for use in low-temperature environments because it is “virtually impossible” to create a battery that can simultaneously have high energy density, have a wide operating temperature and be fast charging. One of the reasons is because an electrolyte – a battery component that transfers ions between electrodes – enabling all of these aspects requires contradictory properties. But such a battery could become a reality using a new electrolyte detailed in a paper published on Wednesday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature. Researchers at Zhejiang University along…

VOA Immigration Weekly Recap, Feb. 18-March 2

Editor’s note: Here is a look at immigration-related news around the U.S. this week. Questions? Tips? Comments? Email the VOA immigration team: [email protected]. Biden, Trump Make Dueling Visits to US-Mexico Border U.S. President Joe Biden and former U.S. President Donald Trump visited the U.S.-Mexico border on Thursday. While Biden urged Congress to reconsider a bipartisan immigration bill that fell apart in the Senate, Trump focused on crimes committed by migrants. Immigration is expected to be a key issue in the November presidential election, as tens of thousands of migrants have…