Asian Insider Aug 20: China in Hong Kong; Duterte and Manga in Japan hotels

Asian Insider brings you insights into a fast-changing region from our network of correspondents.

In today's bulletin: What will China do next in Hong Kong?, Tokyo relaxes export curbs on goods for Seoul, Duterte vows to protect Philippine waters and more.

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Headlines in the past few hours have drawn attention to China's role in Hong Kong. Twitter and Facebook said they've dismantled a state-backed information operation in mainland China that sought to undermine protests in Hong Kong. Twitter said it had proactively suspended 200,000 accounts. Facebook said it removed accounts and pages after a tip from Twitter. Meanwhile, concern is growing in the business community in Hong Kong, after the sudden resignation of Cathay Pacific CEO Rupert Hogg, with questions about who will face China's wrath next. Alongside, e-commerce platforms like Taobao have been selling anti-protest merchandise, such as miniature figurines of Hong Kong police officers in riot gear and bumper stickers with nationalist messages. What could all this lead up to? Read some of our latest reports here:

Twitter, Facebook accuse China of using fake accounts to undermine Hong Kong protests

After Cathay Pacific, which Hong Kong firm is next to face Beijing's wrath?

Anti-protest merchandise for sale online as China ramps up propaganda

Why China needs Hong Kong to stay the same

China plans to make Shenzhen a 'better place' than Hong Kong


Just ahead of a crucial meeting between the foreign ministers of Japan and South Korea, Tokyo approved shipments of a high-tech material to South Korea's Samsung. This was the second time Tokyo has done so after imposing export curbs last month. The meeting between Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and his South Korean counterpart, Kang Kyung-wha, will take place in Beijing on Wednesday. Will this mean a truce?

Go deeper:

Japan allows further exports of high-tech material to South Korea: Sources

Japan Inc backs PM Abe's tough trade stance on South Korea amid row: Poll

Trade feud with South Korea threatens Japan's heating fuel supplies


After much criticism over Manila's handing of the unannounced passage of Chinese warships through the country's 12-mile territorial sea, President Rodrigo Duterte has said Philippines will insist that foreign ships seek clearance first, before passing through its waters. The President is due to embark on his fifth visit to China next week. Read our Philippine Correspondent Raul Dancel's report here:

Duterte seeks to end unannounced passage of Chinese warships - 'in unfriendly manner' if need be


The Muslim preacher in Malaysia who made racially charged comments during a lecture that stoked much criticism has been barred from delivering public talks in every state in Malaysia. Zakir Naik, who is wanted in India on corruption charges, has apologised. Read more on him here:

Muslim preacher Zakir Naik apologises, says he isn't racist

Muslim preacher Zakir Naik crossed the line when he touched on racial politics: Mahathir


Tourism in Japan is surging ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. And Japanese hotels are turning to manga to provide a quintessentially Japanese experience. So don't be surprised to find scenes from manga on your bed sheet and carpets in the room.

Hotels in Japan turn to uniquely Japanese elements to woo tourists


MOON PROBE: India's Chandrayaan 2 spacecraft entered lunar orbit earlier today, executing one of the trickiest manoeuvres on its historic mission to the Moon. The mission sent its first pictures of the Earth, earlier this month. If the rest of the mission goes to plan, the Indian probe will land on the lunar South Pole on Sept 7.

HUAWEI: The Chinese firm has dismissed Washington's three-month delay to a ban on US firms selling to the Chinese tech giant. Huawei said the decision would not change the fact it had been "treated unjustly". The company's statement was a response to the US Commerce Department's suspension of rules prohibiting the sale of components and services to the telecoms titan and on purchase of equipment from it, for a second time.

PRISON RIOTS: Indonesian authorities were hunting for more than 250 inmates who escaped a Papua prison set ablaze during violent riots, as fresh protests broke out in the restive region. The prison break happened on Monday as several cities in Indonesia's easternmost territory - where an insurgency against Jakarta's rule has simmered for decades - saw rioting and protests triggered by the detention of dozens of Papuan students.

That's it for today. Thanks for reading and see you tomorrow,


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