Chinese Police Order Businesses to Monitor Use of Public Wi-Fi
RADIO FREE ASIA
Authorities in the northern Chinese province of Hebei are rolling out a series of measures that will require any businesses or workplaces providing public wi-fi access to install surveillance technology that records user activity online. A copy of the regulations issued by the police department in Hebei Tangshan city call on local businesses and workplaces to comply with the new requirements, which are described as “online safety protection measures,” or face fines or other sanctions. Under the rules, companies must “record and retain user registration information [including] user login and exit time, caller ID, port number, account number, IP address, domain name, and system maintenance log.”
Cuba Will Open Up to a UN Human Rights Expert for the First Time in a Decade
Mimi Whitefield, MIAMI HERALD
The first independent United Nations human rights expert to visit Cuba in a decade will travel to the island next week. UN Special Rapporteur Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, a member of the United Nation’s Human Rights Council and special rapporteur on trafficking in persons, with an emphasis on women and children, will arrive in Cuba on Monday and stay for five days, the United Nations said in a statement. Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Relations confirmed the upcoming visit Thursday and said Giammarinaro was making the trip at the invitation of the Cuban government.
EU Expands Sanctions Against North Korea
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
The European Union has increased its sanctions on North Korea because of its nuclear program and the threat it poses to the region with its recent ballistic missile testing. The EU said in a statement Thursday that it has expanded bans on EU investments, including in the conventional arms and aerospace industry. It also includes bans on providing computer services and those in the chemical, mining and refining industry. The bloc also added four North Koreans to an existing travel ban and asset freeze regime, bringing the total to 41. There was no immediate information on the identity of the four.
North Korea Rolls Out Trial of GPS Devices to Monitor Border Guards
RADIO FREE ASIA
North Korean authorities have started attaching GPS satellite tracking devices to guards on duty to intensify border security in a trial run of the technology before rolling out a full-blown plan to outfit all patrols with the gadgets. “The reason why the satellite tracking devices were introduced to the fourth company first is that the company is guarding the main path for defection and smuggling,” a source told RFA’s Korean Service. Attached to the guards’ automatic rifle straps, the satellite tracking device has enabled the battalion headquarters to improve security because it prevents guards from going AWOL from their posts along the border, as often as they have done previously, the source said.
Reporters Without Borders Picks Taiwan for Asian Bureau
Chris Horton, THE NEW YORK TIMES
Reporters Without Borders, which advocates press freedom, announced on Thursday that it would open its first Asian bureau in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, rather than in its initial choice, Hong Kong, which is increasingly under China’s sway. “Hong Kong was the place where we originally wanted to open an office in Asia,” Christophe Deloire, the group’s secretary general, said in an email, adding, “It is not so easy now to run activities from there.” Mr. Deloire said that the Paris-based organization, also known as Reporters Sans Frontières, decided against Hong Kong because of “a lack of legal certainty for our entity and activities.” He also cited the possibility that staff members would be put under surveillance. The announcement marks a reversal of fortune for both Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Trump Welcomes “Friend” China’s Xi for Talks
US President Donald Trump has welcomed Chinese Communist Party Leader Xi Jinping to his Florida resort for their first summit. Mr. Trump said the two men had “developed a friendship” as they sat for dinner at his Mar-a-Lago retreat. The American leader is expected to press his counterpart for action on North Korea, and Mr. Xi to seek assurances on Taiwan. Mr. Trump has said the summit “will be a very difficult one.” During the election campaign, he said massive trade deficits and job losses could no longer be tolerated.
Venezuelan Lawmakers Avoid Military Blockade to Start Recall of Pro-Government Justices
Antonio María Delgado, MIAMI HERALD
Venezuela’s national legislature Wednesday began the process of removing pro-government justices on the constitutional branch of the Supreme Court, after opposition lawmakers gathered before dawn to avoid a National Guard blockade. The opposition majority in the National Assembly, some of whose deputies were injured Tuesday in attacks by government agents, also approved a declaration that Venezuela is suffering a coup d’état and demanding the release of all political prisoners. It also urged the Venezuelan armed forces to listen to the people’s demands for democracy. The Assembly, controlled by the opposition majority, has accused the constitutional branch of the Supreme Court of carrying out Maduro’s plans over the past year to gradually seize more and more power.
Venezuela Adds Layers of Security
In Venezuela, part of the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela’s (PSUV’s) strategy for staying in power is targeting the country’s military, rather than civilian, leaders. In hopes of minimizing the risk of rebellion, Caracas has begun to monitor the military through the General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM)—a body heavily influenced by Cuba and no doubt operating with Havana’s help. But another aspect of the government’s survival strategy is less well known. Faced with mounting threats at home and abroad, the Venezuelan government has begun to form a new militia.