China to Establish New Economic Zone Near Beijing
China announced Saturday that it is going to establish a special economic area in a province neighboring Beijing as part of a plan to integrate the capital with its surrounding areas. The government says the Xiongan New Area in Hebei Province will have national significance like the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, China’s first free-market economic zone set up in 1980 as the country was beginning economic reforms, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. The creation of the new area is a “major historic and strategic choice,” Xinhua said, citing a circular issued by the Communist Party’s central committee and China’s Cabinet.
China Jails Tiananmen Protest Veteran for Four Years After Grave Visit
RADIO FREE ASIA
A court in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan on Friday handed down a four-year jail term to a veteran rights activist detained after visiting the grave of a 1989 Tiananmen massacre victim in 2015, finding him guilty of a public order offense. The Wuhou District People’s Court in Sichuan’s capital Chengdu jailed Chen Yunfei after convicting him of “picking quarrels and stirring up trouble,” a charge that is increasingly used to target peaceful dissent and criticism of the ruling Chinese Communist Party.
China Bans Veils and “Abnormal” Beards in Western Province of Xinjiang
Saphora Smith, NBC NEWS
China has banned wearing veils as part of a major crackdown on what it sees as religious extremism in the western province of Xinjiang. The measure, which came into effect Saturday, also bans “abnormal” beards and names, as well as other “extremist signs.” Forcing others to wear veils is also forbidden. Xinjiang, China’s westernmost region, is home to the Uighurs, a Muslim group which claims to face discrimination from the Han Chinese. It is unclear what other forms of dress, if any, are outlawed under the legislation which was passed by the Xinjiang People’s Congress last week. The policy is seen to discriminate against Muslims.
How North Korea Got Its People Back in Kim Jong-nam Standoff
Ben Otto and Yantoultra Ngui, WALL STREET JOURNAL
Malaysia allowed three North Koreans who were suspects in the killing of Kim Jong-nam, the half brother of North Korea’s dictator, to leave the country after giving statements in connection with the attack, police said. At least two of the men flew from Kuala Lumpur Thursday night on the same plane as the body of Mr. Kim, which Malaysia agreed to send to North Korea in exchange for Malaysian diplomats who had been trapped in Pyongyang. The exchange ended a weekslong diplomatic standoff while leaving Malaysian investigators with only two suspects in custody, neither of them North Korean. Malaysia had identified eight North Korean suspects in the killing of dictator Kim Jong-un’s half-brother, which South Korean officials said was orchestrated by Pyongyang. North Korea denies any connection to the killing.
New Hope for Solving Disappearance of US Student in China
Jenny Lee and Eunjung Cho, VOA
As his parents wait for word of their son, who went missing in China more than a decade ago, there is a renewed push in Congress to search for him as suggestions emerge that he may be held against his will in North Korea. Eight senators co-sponsored a resolution to reinvigorate the investigation into the case of David Sneddon, expressing concern over his disappearance in 2004 and likely abduction by the North Korean regime. The resolution calls upon the State Department and the intelligence community to enlist the help of governments in the Asia-Pacific region—China, South Korea and Japan—and to “consider all plausible explanations for David’s disappearance, including the possibility of abduction by the Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”
Tibet Supporters Converge on Capitol Hill to Lobby Congress
More than 130 people from 23 states converged on Capitol Hill to lobby for Tibet the week before Chinese Communist Party Leader Xi Jinping is scheduled to meet with President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago retreat in Florida on April 6. Bhuchung Tsering of the International Campaign for Tibet in Washington, which organized Tibet Lobby Day, said, “Looking at the meeting of Communist Party Leader Xi of China and President Trump, we want to send a message to President Trump, through Congress and to Trump directly, that there is traditional bipartisan support for dialog with China on Tibet,” he said, adding “Secretary [of State Rex] Tillerson says he is committed to promoting dialogue on Tibet and receiving the Dalai Lama.”
Trump: US Will Deal With North Korea With or Without China
Olivia Beavers, THE HILL
President Donald Trump said he will deal with the increasingly aggressive North Korean state with or without the help of the Chinese government. “China has great influence over North Korea. And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won’t,” Trump told the Financial Times in an exclusive Sunday interview. “Well if China is not going to solve North Korea, we will. That is all I am telling you,” Trump said it would be mutually beneficial for China to help stop North Korea. Trump, who repeatedly said he wants to renegotiate US trade deals with China, declined to say which topic he would first discuss with the president of China. But he said trade is the incentive he plans to use to strike a deal with China, emphasizing “it is all about trade.”
Venezuela Opposition Turns Ire on Supreme Court Judges
Andrew Cawthorne and Girish Gupta, REUTERS
Venezuela’s opposition lawmakers said on Sunday they will push for the removal of Supreme Court judges whom they accuse of acting on behalf of the ruling Socialists after the top tribunal briefly assumed control of congress last week. While the move by the opposition-led congress would only be symbolic because it remains powerless, it could add to pressure on unpopular President Maduro as he tries to defuse the furor over what critics saw as a lurch into dictatorship. Even the country’s attorney general, a longtime government ally, said the decision was unconstitutional in a rare public rebuke from Maduro’s ranks. On Saturday, at the request of the government, the Supreme Court eliminated the offending ruling.