China’s Steel Cutbacks Look Deeper Than They Are
Chuin-Wei Yap, WALL STREET JOURNAL
China’s annual economic blueprint unveiled this week touted the inroads China has made in paring back production in its bloated steel industry. A closer look suggests that much of the progress was on paper. China’s overproduction of steel remains a challenge to the country’s growth model and a global source of discontent. Steel and coal capacity cuts featured in development plans were revealed on Sunday at China’s annual National People’s Congress; officials have since highlighted them as among the government’s top priorities.
Human Rights in Hong Kong Are at a Tipping Point
Olivia Enos, FORBES
The US has long encouraged Hong Kong, an economically free and prosperous state, to let its residents exercise political and individual rights to the highest degree possible. In recent years, China has begun to meddle in the private affairs of Hong Kong citizens, further restricting its autonomy. To reaffirm America’s stance—and to address the erosion of freedom and rights in Hong Kong—Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) recently reintroduced the Hong Kong Democracy and Human Rights Act.
Repression in Cuba Comes in Many Forms
Osmel Ramirez Alvarez, THE HAVANA TIMES
Every Sunday, there is the “Los Chinos” agro-market fair in the city of Holguin in eastern Cuba. Competition and the ability to buy in bulk has resulted in lower prices than normal. However, that doesn’t exactly mean produce is cheap. In the 1980s, the government experimented with the so-called Farmers’ Free Markets (MLC), which was later shut down by Fidel himself, who couldn’t stand the idea that some Cubans were “getting rich.” In order to cure his headache, he destroyed the emerging semi-free market. Today, criminalizing the private sector continues to be a subject of debate in Parliament.
Cuba’s Raúl Castro Blasts Trump’s Mexican Wall and Trade Policy
Marc Frank, REUTERS
Cuban President Raúl Castro harshly criticized US President Donald Trump’s immigration, trade and other policies on Sunday as Trump reviews a fragile détente with Communist-run Cuba begun by his predecessor Barack Obama. In his first critical remarks directed at Trump since he took office, Castro termed his trade policies “egotistical” and his plan to build a wall along the Mexican border “irrational.” Castro’s speech to a summit of leftist leaders in Venezuela was broadcast by state-run television on Sunday evening.
North Korea Says It Was Practicing to Hit US Military Bases in Japan With Missiles
Anna Fifield, WASHINGTON POST
North Korea was practicing to strike United States military bases in Japan with its latest barrage of missiles, state media in Pyongyang reported on Tuesday. Kim Jong-un presided over Monday’s launch of the four missiles, “feasting his eyes on the trails of ballistic rockets,” the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported in a statement that analysts called a “brazen declaration” of the country’s intent to strike enemies with a nuclear weapon. “If the United States or South Korea fires even a single flame inside North Korean territory, we will demolish the origin of the invasion and provocation with a nuclear tipped missile,” the KCNA statement said.
Korean Defector Bonus: Seoul Adopts Useful Strategy to Undermine the Kim Regime
WALL STREET JOURNAL
Hours before the latest round of North Korean missile tests Monday, South Korea announced plans to increase payments to defectors from the North who can offer classified information. Seoul’s move shows welcome recognition that the key to stopping the North Korean regime is to hasten its collapse. Unfortunately, Seoul may not be able to do much more than increase cash payments because since November the government has been hobbled by the continuing impeachment scandal around Ms. Park. One casualty has been the human-rights law. Though it took effect in September, squabbling between the opposition and the government has prevented research or defector-support activities.
Rights Group Chides Vietnam for Treatment of Women, Human Rights Defenders
RADIO FREE ASIA
The Vietnam Committee on Human Rights called on the Vietnamese government on Tuesday to release all women detained for demanding human rights and revise provisions of the criminal code routinely used to imprison female activists. The Paris-based organization issued a statement to call attention to the plight of women and female human rights activists in the authoritarian country on the eve of International Women’s Day. The committee specifically wants the Vietnamese government to free all women detained for the peaceful advocacy or exercise of their human rights and to revise criminal codes used to imprison advocates.