China Jails Over Anthem, Japanese Military Moves, And Malaysian Underdogs

South and East Asian News Roundup 18/10/2018


Asia has been pretty interesting on the human rights front lately, then again when hasn’t it been. A few news items this week are mainly coming from China, Japan, and Malaysia. China is in some hot water with arresting a celebrity under “national anthem” violations, Malaysia just elected a pardoned politician who is close to succeeding the Prime Minister seat, and Japan is strutting their military prowess to assert their ability to counter China and North Korea’s buildup of military resources.


China Jails For Anthem “Disrespect”

A popular Youtube personality in China had come under some trouble when posting a video apparently “disrespecting” the national anthem of China. Yang Kaili is a 20-year-old live streamer with 44 million followers who played the national anthem on her stream following some dancing and singing along as she usually does on her streams. She was mimicking a conductor as the song was playing and showing what Chinese authorities considered “insulting the integrity of the national anthem during a live broadcast.” The stream was originally broadcasted on Oct. 7 and Yang was arrested under a new national anthem law imposed last October. The law states any violation to be punishable by up to 15 days in detention, Yang, however, served for only five days in detention. Upon her release, she apologized on her live stream and stated she’d be taking a break for reflection and pursue more patriotic education, as well as look more into regulations regarding the national anthem law. Some reports have shown this national anthem law punishment is to be changed to a 3-year sentence rather than being up to 15 days.


Malaysia Has Unlikely Underdog in Parliament

In Malaysia, a politician was elected by special election to take a seat in parliament after recently being released from prison for sodomy charges. Anwar Ibrahim was charged with sodomy for what he claims are “political motivations” after being imprisoned in 2015 with a pardon from the king in May. He will be sworn into office on Oct. 15. This seat is important since Ibrahim was the former Deputy Prime Minister and is one step closer now to succeeding the current Prime Minister.


Japan Grows Military to Keep China At Bay

In Japan, the government has been slowly growing its military forces as they are facing buildups of military prowess in North Korea and China. The Japanese have had Constitutional restrictions following World War II, with the US playing a large role in providing a defense for Japan while Japanese forces are kept to a minimum. Those restrictions, however, are becoming less and less adhered to as the Japanese military is regarded by most as the fifth most powerful military in the world. The Japanese have been running military exercises for the last two months in regions as far as the Indian Ocean. Analysts have stated that the continuing counterbalance of Japan’s military strength is paramount in keeping China uncertain of its future plans to dominate the region.


Asia is a large continent and the news is always changing. A continent as diverse as ever, Asia burns just as bright as the West. Tune in next week for our next news roundup on the region.

You can read more from Amos Joseph on Think Liberty here.


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