Human Rights Lawyer Jailed, Attack In Afganistan, & IP Law Woes

South & East Asia News Roundup 27/12/2018


Merry Christmas everyone! In this weeks Asia news, we’re looking at a couple interesting things going on in China and Afghanistan. In Afghanistan there’s an attack on a government building in Kabul so far with 47 confirmed killed. In China there’s a new bid for a law on intellectual property amidst the trade war with the US and there’s a human rights lawyer who was on trial the day after Christmas.

Attack on Government Building in Afghanistan

With the withdrawal of US troops from Syria and plans to withdraw from Afghanistan, internal turmoil has seen a rise in Afghanistan. A seven-hour assault on a government building in Kabul took place on Monday where 47 were killed with 25 injured. A police officer and four attackers were among the dead after the standoff at the National Authority for Disabled People and Martyrs’ Families in Kabul, according to Najib Danish, an Interior Ministry spokesman. The attack began Monday afternoon with the detonation of a vehicle bomb at the gates to the building, Danish said. Three gunmen then stormed the building, where hundreds were working.

Two police officers were wounded, the official said. At least 350 workers were evacuated and the number of casualties could rise, according to Danish. Local authorities had earlier said the gunmen took hostages in the building.

New IP Law in China

With the continuing trade war between the Us and China, the Chinese government has drafted a new law to be used in protecting intellectual property of foreign companies doing business in China. With the law being submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s rubber-stamp parliament, The proposed law would prohibit forced technology transfer from foreign firms to their Chinese partners, a major grievance of Trump and other critics. Although this law promises the protection of companies from unfair treatment from Chinese officials, there have been continuing accusations of Chinese officials treating companies unjustly which the Chinese have denied.

Beijing Puts Human Rights On Trial

A high-profile Chinese human rights lawyer, detained more than three years ago, faced trial Wednesday. He was the latest prominent detainee sent to court by the ruling Communist Party over the Christmas period. Wang Quanzhang was taken into custody in July 2015, one of more than 200 lawyers and activists detained as part of a mass crackdown on human rights defenders across China. China took this opportunity to put Wang on trial during the Christmas season as the international and diplomatic community is quite absent to avoid the possible media attention they might draw. With human rights activist Wu Gan sentenced to eight years in prison in 2017 (also around Christmas) and Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo also sentenced around Christmas of 2009, Wang has suffered torture and mistreatment during his three years in detainment awaiting his trial. A statement from the Tianjin 2nd Intermediate People’s Court on Wednesday afternoon said the trial had concluded and a verdict would be released “at a chosen date.”

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


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