How George Michael’s Wham! Baffled Communist China and Inspired Its Youth
Simon Denyer, THE WASHINGTON POST
It was a culture shock to rival the best of them. The bouffant, coiffured hair, exuberant dancing and extravagant image of Britain’s leading pop band, and the Communist Party’s dour insistence on uniformity. When George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley undertook a historic tour of China in 1985, they may have baffled many of the locals, but they may also have had a lasting influence on a country still emerging from the trauma of the Cultural Revolution.
Police in China’s Shenzhen Detain Friends, Relatives Who Enquired After Missing Love Ones
RADIO FREE ASIA
A healthcare worker in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong is being held alongside his nephew on suspicion of subversion, their relatives told Radio Free Asia. Deng Hongcheng was among a large group of 10 activists who went missing and are believed to have been detained last month in Shenzhen, which borders the former British colony of Hong Kong.
China Jails Nine over Protests in “Democracy” Village
A court in southern China has handed out jail terms of up to 10 years to nine people from a Chinese fishing village once seen as a cradle of grassroots democracy, after finding them guilty of illegal protests and other charges. Wukan, in Guangdong province, erupted in renewed protest in September. Unrest has rumbled on since June after the arrest of a popular leader who was finally jailed in October for corruption, charges widely disputed in Wukan.
Concern over the Prolonged Jailing of Artist “El Sexto”
The Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expressed its concern over the imprisonment of the artist Danilo Maldonado, also known as “El Sexto,” for almost a month in Cuba for his artwork after the death of former president Fidel Castro. The Office of the Special Rapporteur denounced “the selective and deliberate persecution that exists in Cuba against journalists, activists, artists, human rights defenders, and opponents of the government for their expressions and positions critical of the country’s politics and institutions.”
See Who’s Asia’s No. 2 Police State After North Korea
Ralph Jennings, FORBES
We know about North Korea as Asia’s most hardcore police state. The government enslaves and kills people who dispute the policies of leader Kim Jong-un. Laos follows North Korea as the second most hardcore police state in Asia: “The Lao government is still a very secretive, authoritarian state that tolerates no challenges, real or perceived, to its authority,” says Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director with New York-based advocacy group Human Rights Watch. “There is a high intimidation factor, because the Lao government also doesn’t clearly mark where the political red lines are that will prompt them to act, so self-censorship in words and actions is increasingly the norm.”
North Korea’s Nuclear Hopes Have Surged, Defector Says
Choe Sang-Hun, THE NEW YORK TIMES
A senior North Korean official who defected to the South told reporters on Tuesday that the North viewed 2017 as the best time to advance its nuclear program because it could take advantage of leadership changes in the United States and South Korea. The official, Thae Yong-ho, was formerly North Korea’s number two diplomat in London and is the most senior North Korean official to defect in nearly two decades.
Anthony Bourdain: The Post-Election Interview
Helen Rosner, EATER.COM
In a recent Eater Upsell podcast, Anthony Bourdain defended his show, Parts Unknown, from audience accusations that it had become too much about politics. “If the army controls the entire flour supply and the bakeries, that’s already a political thing,” he said. Food is politics, is the point. More to the point, media is politics, and that includes food media. “I’m not gonna tell you who to vote for, but I do notice things and I do have opinions,” he said. “And if the guy I ate with in Russia who says, ‘No, I’m not worried about Putin killing me’ is shot to death on the front lawn of the Kremlin a few months later, I might mention that.”
China Lodges Protest Over Taiwan Content in US Defense Bill
China has lodged “stern representations” with the United States after President Barack Obama signed into law a US defense policy bill that suggests a plan to conduct high-level military exchanges with self-ruled Taiwan. Part of the $618.7 billion National Defense Authorization Act “expresses the sense of Congress that (the US Department of Defense) should conduct a program of senior military exchanges between the United States and Taiwan.”