thenewslens_intl

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How Western Fake News Took Over China’s Social Media

In February, Wikipedia editors voted to ban the British tabloid the <i>Daily Mail</i> and its website as sources of reference in its entries. The decision was based on the news group’s “poor fact checking, sensationalism, and flat-out fabrication,” which rendered its content “generally unreliable.”<p>While …

Journalism

Video Game Taps China’s Disaffected Urban Youth

People today seem to have nostalgia for villages that no longer exist, as ever increasing numbers of us move to cities. The release of the American, indie, farming game Stardew Valley (recently released in Chinese) shows that sentiment expressed in computerized form.<p>In this virtual setting, the …

Taiwan

Foot Massage Pushes All the Right Buttons

An ancient form of therapy enjoying a second wind, foot massage has been around for over 2,000 years old. What’s also called foot reflexology is described in classical medical texts, yet fits in well with modern concepts like slow travel and slow living (ideas better known in Taiwan as LOHAS, an …

Massage

Reactionary Islamism in Indonesia

How memes mobilize emotions and people<p>At the end of 2016, two large demonstrations organized by reactionary Muslim groups took place in Jakarta. The protesters called for the arrest of the Christian Governor of Jakarta, Basuki Purnama, an ethnic Chinese man commonly referred to as Ahok, whom they …

Indonesia

Political Indoctrination in Chinese Colleges

In a system where ministers are incentivized to report only good news, China’s Minister of Education public censure of failures in ideological and political education (思想政治教育; IPE) at Chinese universities came as a surprise (FRI, March 12). A campaign has been underway to intensify IPE since a …

China

China’s Unloading of FX Reserves, Spillbacks, and Quantitative Tightening

China’s economic strength often is referred to $3 trillion in foreign currency reserves. Piled up since the 90s with the start of the new economic policy, the composition of this wealth is made up by 70 percent (or $2.3 trillion) in U.S. dollar assets. Yet, if China were planning for a sell-out, …

Economics

PODCAST: Is Taiwan Adrift in a Sea of Trash?

<i>“I’m going down with the ship, we all are, so we might as well get involved. I am not going to sit around and watch this earth go up in flames.”</i><p>In this episode of The News Lens Radio, we are joined by two environmentalists waging a war on plastic and marine pollution in Taiwan.<p>Many visitors to …

Taiwan

Hong Kong's Umbrella Payback in Slow Motion

No one knew exactly what to expect from central government officials in Beijing when Hong Kong’s Occupy protest movement erupted on Sep. 28, 2014, and went on to blockade major city thoroughfares for 79 days. The last of the encampments were not cleared until mid-December.<p>Since Hong Kong’s …

Hong Kong

From Caracas to Taipei: The Strange World of Ignacio Huang

With Venezuela in the midst of economic and social meltdown, “El Peor Hombre de Mundo (The Worst Man in the World)” might seem about as far removed from the average Caraquenian experience as imaginable. Released at the end of 2016, this corny comedy depicts the travails of a serial philanderer on a …

Venezuela

Lives of Resilience: Reimagining Taiwan’s Comfort Women

When one women’s rights advocacy group sought to commemorate the estimated 2,000 Taiwanese women forced into sexual servitude by Japanese forces during World War II, they chose to do so with a museum that celebrates the lives of the survivors.<p>In December 2016, the Taipei Women’s Rescue Foundation …

Japan

ASIA NEWS BITES: Islamist Power on Display in Jakarta Election; China’s Muslim Baby Name Blitz; Indian Uranium Concerns; Trump's Korea Gaffe

In Indonesia’s capital, voters oust renowned Christian politician in show of Islamist power – The Washington Post<p>A Chinese court on Thursday jailed a former deputy head of the country's Taiwan Affairs Office for 15 years, for taking bribes and abusing his position, the state broadcaster said. – …

China

Donald Trump Can’t Count on China to Keep North Korea in Check

During the past week, tensions surrounding North Korea’s nuclear weapons program appear to have increased the prospect of war on the Korean peninsula.<p>Such fears are heightened by the fact that the precise details of the Trump administration's policy towards North Korea are still something of a …

North Korea

Are Major Auditors Helping Chinese Firms Get Away with Fraud?

Stock prices of China Huishan Dairy Holdings, a firm that operates on the mainland but is listed in Hong Kong, crashed by over 90 percent on March 24 after investment research company Muddy Waters Research said the company is worth next to nothing. Huishan was claimed to have made fraudulent …

China

Q&A: The Startup that Wants to Enable ‘Superhero Citizens’ in Taipei

It’s 2017. Almost everyone has a mobile device in their hands when walking down the streets. But is there a way to boost citizen engagement through technology and make a difference in where we live?<p>Ham Karami believes so.<p>Coming to Taipei two years ago from Toronto, Canada, the 26-year-old is the …

Open Data

INTERVIEW: ‘It’s Not About Mr Lee' - Wife of Taiwanese Activist Detained in China Speaks Out

Lee Ching-yu (李凈瑜), wife of the Taiwanese human rights activist detained in China, knows all about the human suffering that comes at the hand of despotic regimes. As a researcher, she has spent years reading secret documents from Taiwan’s murderous Martial Law period.<p>Now, as her husband Lee …

China

Taiwan’s Truth and Reconciliation Committee: The Geopolitics of Transitional Justice in a Contested State

On May 20, 2016, Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), the chair of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), was inaugurated as the president of the Republic of China (ROC) on Taiwan. During her inauguration speech, she announced that she planned to set up a truth and reconciliation commission (TRC) inside the …

Taiwan

Thailand Tells Internet Users to Unfollow Junta Critics on Social Media — Or Face Consequences

Thailand’s Ministry of Digital Economy and Society is telling Thai citizens to unfriend and unfollow three government critics, lest they are accused of violating the 2007 Computer Crimes Act.<p>In a public statement dated April 12, 2017, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (MDES) urged Thai …

South-east Asia

Rumbling of Reform in China’s Fiscal Foundations

Fiscal reforms were to be the lynchpin of the ambitious, comprehensive program announced at the Third Plenum of the Chinese Communist Party’s 18th Party Congress in November 2013. This was underlined by the decision to bring back the hard-charging reformer Lou Jiwei (樓繼偉) to head the Finance …

China

Chinese Activist who Failed to Gain Asylum in Taiwan Faces Legitimate Threat

The Chinese activist and former political prisoner who failed in his bid to gain political asylum in Taiwan faces a legitimate threat in China, according to a leading Chinese dissident.<p>Zhang Xiangzhong (張向忠), 48, went missing from a tour group in Taiwan on April 12 and was taken into the custody of …

China

Airline’s Indigenous Name Bungle Reveals Taiwanese ‘Ignorance’

A Taiwanese man who was told not to use his indigenous name when booking a flight believes the airline has not learned from its mistake.<p>Nagao Kunaw (陳睿哲), a graduate student, was told by ground staff from Uni Airlines on April 16 that he should use his Chinese name to book flights.<p>After the …

Airlines

Singaporean Clemency Appeal Rejected, Execution Scheduled for Friday

The execution of a Singaporean charged with drug trafficking has been scheduled for April 21, just four days after the man's appeal for clemency was rejected by the president of Singapore.<p>Jeffrey Marquez Abineno, 52, on Nov. 28, 2014 was convicted by the Singapore High Court for trafficking 45.26 …

Death Penalty

Cambodia is Losing its Buddhist Monks to Modernization

Rocked by scandals, rapid modernization and a changing society, membership in Cambodia's Buddhist monkhood is on the decline.<p>According to <i>Southeast Asia Globe</i> writer Euan Black, though 95 percent of Cambodians still identify as Buddhist, the image of the country’s saffron-robed monks has taken a hit …

Buddhism

Students Hold Anti-Gay Banner at Chinese University

A photo of two female students holding a banner declaring that their university campus is no place for homosexuality has angered China’s LGBT community.<p>“Protect Chinese traditional mores, defend core socialist values, resist corrosion from decadent Western thoughts, and keep homosexuality far from …

LGBTQ

Here's How to Get the Taiwan Economy Back on Course

The Taiwan economy has undergone a sea change over the past four decades. From the first seed team sent to the United States to learn integrated circuit (IC) technology in 1976, to the dense network of small personal computer (PC) component suppliers developed in the 1980s, to companies that …

Innovation

Who’s Behind the Disappearance of a Pastor in Malaysia?

Eight weeks after the Feb.13 abduction of 62-year old Malaysian-Chinese Christian preacher Raymond Koh Keng Joo — in broad daylight on a busy outskirts of a Kuala Lumpur street — Malaysia’s police still claim cluelessness of his whereabouts. That’s in spite of nabbing a suspect six weeks ago who …

Taiwan

Cross-Strait Relations and Taiwan’s Five Bids for the World University Summer Games

Since Taiwan joined the International University Sports Federation (FISU), the governing body of the Summer and Winter World University Games, in 1987, its capital city Taipei and largest trade port Kaohsiung have respectively activated bids to host the Summer World University Games (SWUG) five …

Taiwan

Welcome to Thailand, Kingdom of Fear (and Favor)

How is the new monarch of Thailand, Maha Vajiralongkorn, ruling his kingdom since the death of his father, the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej?<p>Fear.<p>The overwhelming success of Bhumibol’s reign has evidently become an entrapment for Vajiralongkorn, who has failed to follow in the footsteps of his …

Thailand

The Spies Who Mapped Great Swathes of South Asia by Foot

For more than a century, the British were able to boast that the sun never set on their enormous empire.<p>But in the mid-19th century, colonists ruling over the Indian subcontinent became painfully aware they had little-idea what their portion of the empire actually entailed, from the number of …

History

Foreign Disciples Flock to Shanghai Tattoo Master

Daniel Whitford is deep in concentration as he hunches over a sheet of silicone practice skin at Zhen Cang Tattoo. Sporting a black baseball cap, the American apprentice holds his focus as he inks a tattoo he designed himself. Each precise stroke is followed by the dab of a cloth. His teacher and …

China

INFOGRAPHIC: America’s Best and Worst Airlines

Videos of a passenger being forcibly removed from a United Airlines aircraft grabbed international headlines over the past week, and the incident has led to wide discussions on the legality of overbooked flights and how to avoid getting bumped off a flight.<p>United States Department of Transportation …

Airlines