Beijing Pushes for a Direct Hand in China’s Big Tech Firms
Li Yuan, The Wall Street Journal
The Chinese government is pushing some of its biggest tech companies—including Tencent, Weibo and a unit of Alibaba—to offer the state a stake in them and a direct role in corporate decisions. Wary of the increasing power of private businesses, internet regulators have discussed taking 1% stakes with social-media powers Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Weibo Corp. and with Youku Tudou, a YouTube-like video platform owned by e-commerce titan Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., according to people close to the companies.
China Abducted Grabbed American Officer As Spy Wars Flare
Ali Watkins, Politico
US official had been working out of the American consulate in the central Chinese metropolis of more than 10 million. He may not have seen the plainclothes Chinese security services coming before they jumped him. In seconds he was grabbed off the Chengdu street and thrown into a waiting van. The Chinese officials drove their captive—whom they believed to be a CIA officer—to a security facility where he was interrogated for hours, and, according to one US official, filmed confessing to unspecified acts of treachery on behalf of the US government.
United Kingdom “Concerned” As Hong Kong Denies Benedict Rogers Entry
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said he is “very concerned” after a British human rights activist was denied entry to Hong Kong. Benedict Rogers has been a vocal critic of Chinese-ruled Hong Kong’s human rights record. Mr. Johnson said he would seek an “urgent explanation” from the Hong Kong authorities and the Chinese government. Mr. Rogers told Reuters he was not given a reason for being denied entry and was escorted on a flight back to Bangkok.
Bolivian President Embarks On Reelection Campaign During Che Guevara Tribute
Karina Martín, PanAm Post
Though it isn’t constitutionally legal for him to win reelection, Bolivian President Evo Morales campaigned at events celebrating the 50th anniversary of the death of Argentine-Cuban guerrilla, Ernesto “Che” Guevara. Morales doesn’t have permission from the Constitutional Court to change the country’s constitution and run for a fourth term, but he made a circuit of campaign events nonetheless, taking advantage of every location paying homage to Che.
Diplomats Court Cuba To Act As Broker For Venezuela Transition
John Paul Rathbone, The Financial Times
When a cargo ship arrived in Cuba from Caracas this week, with supplies to help the island rebuild after Hurricane Irma, it carried a typically warm message from Nicolás Maduro, Venezuelan president. “This modest help demonstrates our nations’ civic and military union,” it read. Communist Cuba is one of socialist Venezuela’s few remaining allies. In return for subsidised oil and aid, Havana provides Caracas with doctors and intelligence operatives, a relationship that has long irked the US. “Venezuela can always count on Cubans being in the front line of militant solidarity,” Raúl Castro, Cuba’s president, said recently.
Trump Winds Up To Hit Cuba’s Economy—Twice
Melanie Zanona, The Hill
Cuba is bracing for the impact of a one-two punch from the Trump administration: stricter travel rules and an official warning about visiting the island. The US is expected to soon publish new regulations that will make it tougher for Americans to travel to Cuba. President Trump announced the rules over the summer, keeping with his campaign promise to crack down on the Communist government. But the rules will also come in the wake of a new warning issued by the State Department for Americans visiting Cuba following a series of bizarre attacks on US diplomats in Havana.
North Korea’s “Princess” Now One Of The Secretive State’s Top Policy Makers
Hyonhee Shin and Soyoung Kim, Reuters
The promotion of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s 28-year-old sister to the country’s top decision-making body is a sign he is strengthening his position by drawing his most important people closer to the center of power, experts and officials say. Kim Yo-jong was named as an alternate member of the politburo within the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea—the opaque, all-powerful party organ where top state affairs are decided, the North’s official media said on Sunday.
North Korean Smugglers Backed By Army Evade Chinese Customs Post
North Korean traders working for an army-run clothing manufacturer are successfully dodging Chinese customs controls, moving their products across the border by unguarded routes in an effort to earn cash for sanctions-hit Pyongyang, sources say. The manufacturing firm, called the 800 Trading Company, receives orders for custom-made apparel from a company in Longjing city in northeastern China’s Jilin province, a source in North Hamgyong province in North Korea told RFA.
Florida Businessman Admits To Bribery Scheme At Venezuela’s PDVSA
Nate Raymond, Reuters
The part owner of several Florida-based energy companies on Wednesday became the latest person to plead guilty as part of an ongoing US investigation into bribery at Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA. Fernando Ardila Rueda, 49, pleaded guilty in federal court in Houston to two counts, including that he violated the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in connection with a scheme to pay bribes to PDVSA employees, the US Justice Department said.
Venezuelan Regime Forces Students To Join Chavista Party To Be Eligible for Scholarships
Karina Martín, PanAm Post
Students at one university in Venezuela are being forced to attend events supporting the dictatorship if they want to receive extra funding for school. The Human Rights Observatory at the University of Los Andes said that its students have been forced to attend events for Nicolás Maduro’s official political party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), if they want to be eligible for monthly scholarships. According to the observatory, university students had to attend an event September 29 in support of the PSUV candidate for the governor of Merida in order to remain eligible and “deserving” of a monthly scholarship.
Despite Human Rights Abuses, Vietnam’s Economy Ploughs Ahead
Alistair Denness, Asian Correspondent
While Vietnam is very much still an undemocratic one-party state, Hanoi seems to have found the winning recipe. A key component underpinning that success is a respect for property rights and the rule of law… at least as far as foreign companies are concerned. Foreign companies and business interests entering the Vietnamese market have a reasonable expectation that they will be treated fairly. Unfortunately, other emerging economies in both ASEAN and South Asia are having a much harder time applying these lessons.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
October 12th, 1960: Soviet General Secretary Nikita Khrushchev theatrically brandishes a shoe in the air at the UN General Assembly rostrum while denouncing the remarks of another delegation.
October 12th, 1963: Walter Ciszek, a Jesuit missionary arrested while proselytizing undercover in the USSR, is released from the GULag.