China’s Great Firewall Is Doubling Up on VPN Regulation
Cheang Ming, CNBC
Authorities in China have tightened their grip on internet use in the country through a 14-month long campaign that will target the use of virtual private networks (VPNs) and other “illegal” internet practices. An advisory on the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology website published on Jan. 22 stated that the campaign aimed at “cleaning up” the internet would last till Mar. 31, 2018. The release also stated that the campaign would strengthen the network information security and encourage the “healthy” development of the industry.
China Likely to Stick to a Two-Child Policy
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
China acknowledged it has demographic challenges, saying its population will peak in 2030 but left little hope the country would further ease birth restrictions after lifting its one-child policy a year ago. The country’s State Council, its cabinet, unveiled a key plan detailing deep demographic changes over the next 15 years, including low birthrates and a rapidly aging population, but said it would stick to a policy of letting families have a maximum of two children. China’s total population, which stood at around 1.37 billion in 2015, will likely peak at 1.45 billion in 2030, it said.
Google Entering Cuba Is “Trojan Horse” That Could Reinforce Regime, Residents Say
Marta Dhanis, FOX NEWS
In signing a deal with the Cuban authorities last December, Google took on the challenge of improving internet access in what many consider to be one of the worst places in the world to go online. But Havana residents are taking the development with a grain of salt. Some residents contend Google is providing the communist regime with technology that will empower the secret police with detailed reports of the users’ searches and profiles, right down to their location.
Cuba Seeks “Respectful” Talks with Trump Government: Castro
Alexander Martinez, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Cuba is willing to hold “respectful dialogue” with Donald Trump, President Raúl Castro said Wednesday, following the new US leader’s warnings that he may halt the two countries’ rapprochement. “I wish to express Cuba’s desire to continue negotiating on current bilateral issues with the United States on a basis of equality, reciprocity and respect for the sovereignty and independence of our country,” Castro said. He added that he was willing “to pursue respectful dialogue and cooperation on issues of common interest with the new government of President Donald Trump.”
Fidel Castro Is More of a Presence in Death Than in Recent Life
Mimi Whitefield, THE MIAMI HERALD
Two months after the remains of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro were laid to rest, his voice and thoughts continue to resonate from beyond the grave. Castro, via events in his honor and retrospectives, still makes an almost daily appearance on the front page of Granma, the Communist Party newspaper. After the recent end of the long-standing policy of allowing Cubans to enter the US without visas, his thoughts on independence and self-determination were even included in the Cuban government’s Jan. 12 immigration declaration.
Former Hong Kong Governor Accuses UK of “Selling Its Honor” over Protests
Kevin Rawlinson, THE GUARDIAN
The UK is guilty of a dereliction of its duty to Hong Kong and is “selling its honor” to secure trade deals with China, the territory’s former governor Chris Patten has warned. He said Britain had let down pro-democracy activists who have been fighting to maintain freedoms guaranteed to Hong Kong as part of the deal to hand the territory back to China after more than a century of British rule. He said the agreement between London and Beijing committed the UK to protecting Hong Kong’s rights until 2047.
Lawyer for Prominent Crimean Tatar Activist Forcibly Detained
RADIO FREE EUROPE
A Russian lawyer who is defending a prominent Crimean Tatar activist says he was forcibly detained and taken to a Federal Security Service’s (FSB) office in Russia-controlled Crimea on January 25. Nikolai Polozov, who was seen being forced into a car by men in civilian clothes, said he was released two hours later. He said FSB officers had used psychological pressure in an effort to force him to answer questions related to the case of his client, Ilmi Umerov.
Mother Asks Trump to Help Free Son Jailed in Venezuela
The mother of a Utah man jailed in Venezuela for the last seven months has issued another tearful plea for help to free her son, this time to President Donald Trump. Laurie Holt’s reiterated this week in her new YouTube video her belief that that her son Joshua Holt is being used as a “political pawn” by Venezuela’s government. The video was posted a week after US Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah mentioned the case in a meeting with Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson.