China censors Trump and boosts propaganda ahead of vital trade summit

Beijing (CNN)It’s headline news in the rest of the world, but in China, US President Donald Trump’s threat to sharply raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods has barely registered a mention on the news agenda. China’s strictly-controlled state media still has not reported the detail of the tweets, nor the stern remarks by top US trade negotiators accusing their Chinese counterparts of “reneging” on previously agreed measures. Instead, TV, newspapers and online media sites are suddenly full of good news about the Chinese economy, potentially steeling citizens for any bad news ahead of Trump’s tariff deadline on Friday. While Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang obliquely acknowledged Trump’s online posts at a press briefing Monday, government censors were busy …

China overplayed its hand with Trump on trade, and it could cost them dearly

Hong Kong (CNN)China and the United States were moving towards an agreement to end a months-long trade war when, suddenly, it all fell apart this week. “The escalation of trade friction is not in the interests of the people of the two countries and the people of the world,” the Chinese Commerce Ministry said in a statement Wednesday. On Twitter, Trump accused Beijing of attempting to run out the clock on his administration in the assumption it will be dealing with a Democratic administration after 2020. Speaking at a rally in Florida later Wednesday, Trump said the new tariffs were because China “broke the deal.” “You see the tariffs we’re doing?” the President asked his supporters. “Because they broke the …

China’s recycling ban has sent America’s plastic to Malaysia. Now they don’t want it — so what next?

Seremban, Malaysia (CNN)Dozens of laborers and factory operators sit hand-cuffed in rows on the pavement at an industrial park in Malaysia. Malaysia is cracking down on opportunists who are trying to cash-in on China’s decision last year to ban plastic waste imports. Since July 2018, officials have shut down at least 148 unlicensed plastic recycling factories — but have only pressed charges against a handful of suspects. Much of the waste comes from countries outside Malaysia, including the US, which angers Yeo who says wealthy nations shouldn’t be using her country as a trash dump. “I will take care of my own rubbish,” she says. “You should take care of yours.” ‘No magical land of recycling’ The rise of illegal …

Running among the ruins: seeing Cambodia at a trot

A dawn jog around the magnificent temples of Angkor is the perfect way to meet an ancient country with deep roots Temple Run is a relentlessly addictive computer game. The concept is simple enough. Youve stolen a cursed idol from an ancient crumbling temple and now you have to run for your life to escape the evil monkeys gnashing at your heels. The temple run I am doing, however, is much slower, far less frantic and it only features a handful of snoozing macaques. But it is so infinitely more life-affirming. The temples Im jogging round are the colossal remains of the city of Anantara hotel in Siem Reap. I am, in fact, the only entrant which handily means Im …

Vietnam’s history holds lessons for Trump and Kim ahead of summit, PM says

Hanoi, Vietnam (CNN)Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said his country will “spare no effort” to host a successful summit between North Korea and the United States because in the end, it would be less costly than a war. The country is expected to reap some economic and public relations benefits by hosting the diplomatic event, and it is openly embracing its role as host. North Korean, US and Vietnamese flag displays can be seen throughout the city, and its vendors are selling shirts emblazoned with Kim and Trump’s faces in addition to their usual fare. Nguyen said Vietnam’s war-torn history is an important motivator in hosting the event: “Vietnam is doing her best to successfully organize the second US-DPRK …

Tsai Ing-wen: The unconventional president staring down Beijing

Taipei, Taiwan (CNN)On the surface, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen isn’t a natural politician. Such is life for Taiwan’s first female president. Caught between an aggressive Beijing on one side and an unofficial ally in Washington on the other, Tsai has to maintain a delicate balance. Her reticence to ingratiate herself to the public has allowed detractors to paint her as a detached politician, someone who doesn’t understand the average Taiwan citizen. Tsai says any perceived aloofness is due to her keen focus on government affairs and international relations. But it’s a situation she acknowledges. “When I became the president, I seemed to be someone rather isolated and [the public] felt that there is a distance of some sort between me …

From a golden gun to a bear hug … Saudi Prince’s Asia tour tells the West: You may shun me, but I’m not alone

(CNN)It’s hard to think of anywhere else in the world right now where Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman would get such a warm welcome. That reception would be unthinkable in the US or Europe, where bin Salman’s reputation has been severely damaged following the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last year. Bin Salman has denied any connection to the killing. In the wake of that scandal, the young prince badly needed some good PR — and so he headed East. It was a smart move. China is already Saudi Arabia’s biggest trading partner, and across Asia this week political, religious and ideological differences proved no barrier to doing business. No …

War on e-cigarettes: Hong Kong intends to jail vaping offenders. But will it make people quit?

(CNN)Robert Chan lit his first cigarette aged 18. He quickly became hooked, smoking 15 a day for more than a decade. “I wanted to stop smoking but I wasn’t quite ready to quit nicotine yet,” he says. “I saw this as a bridging device to do something less harmful than cigarettes … There’s no ash, no smell and my lungs and breathing feel better when I use it.” But today that industry is facing a battle. While many smokers are embracing alternative devices in an attempt to quit cigarettes, governments around the world are divided. This month, the Hong Kong government announced plans to push ahead with a controversial blanket ban on all e-cigarettes and heat-not-burn products. Under the sweeping …

Will smash hit ‘The Wandering Earth’ change China’s film industry?

(CNN)Millions of moviegoers watched breathlessly over the Lunar New Year week as Beijing and Shanghai were destroyed for the first time in modern Chinese film history. Director Guo Fan says “The Wandering Earth” has been so popular because it has human emotions at its core. “I made the lead role (played by Wu Jing) in memory of my father,” Guo told CNN. “It tells the story of a typical Chinese father’s love. It’s always forbearing and without too many words, but it’s so powerful. That’s my understanding of a father’s love.” In another sign of its unique appeal, authorities allowed the creators to portray the destruction of Beijing and Shanghai — the first time a Chinese-made film has been allowed …

From Hollywood to Saudi Arabia, Leonardo DiCaprio to Paris Hilton: The scandal that enveloped the world

(CNN)Billions of dollars in allegedly misappropriated funds. Millions spent on luxury handbags and jewelry. One hit movie, two mediocre comedies, a swanky New York condo, a $250 million yacht and a Picasso. Leonardo DiCaprio, Paris Hilton, Miranda Kerr and Lindsay Lohan. In early 2009 Najib, weeks into his premiership, ordered the creation of a state investment fund initially worth $1.2 billion, which would later be renamed 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB. Its stated purpose was to lead “market-driven initiatives to assist the government in propelling Malaysia towards becoming a developed nation that is highly competitive, sustainable and inclusive.” Instead, according to US prosecutors, 1MDB was used as a slush fund by Najib, Low and other high-ranking officials at the fund, …

China’s far side of the moon mission is just the start of its space ambitions

Hong Kong (CNN)As you read this, a spindly-looking silver robot with a satellite dish for a head is exploring places never seen up close before by humans. The front page of Friday’s China Daily, a state-run newspaper, featured a large photo of scientists at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center reacting to the touchdown, alongside one of the first images sent back by Chang’e 4 of the moon’s far side. Reacting on Twitter, NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine called it a “first for humanity and an impressive accomplishment!” China was late to the space race — it didn’t send its first satellite into orbit until 1970, by which time the US had already landed an astronaut on the moon — but it …