China

China to launch Wikipedia rival in 2018

Officials said more than 20,000 people had been hired to work on the project, which will feature 300,000 entries at about 1,000 words each.

Unlike Wikipedia, it will be created by selected scholars from state-run universities rather than being openly editable by volunteers.

Wikipedia is available in China, but some of its content it blocked.

The Encyclopaedia of China "is not a book, but a Great Wall of culture", Yang Muzhi, the editor-in-chief of the project, who chairs the Book and Periodicals Distribution Association of China, said in an update earlier in April.

China criticizes North Korea, praises US on nuclear issue

A day after North Korea's Vice Foreign Minister said Pyongyang would test missiles weekly and use nuclear weapons if threatened, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said Beijing was "gravely concerned" about North Korea's recent nuclear and missile activities.

In the same press conference, spokesman Lu Kang praised recent US statements on the North Korean issue.

China fears North Korea-US conflict 'at any moment'

Foreign Minister Wang Yi said if war occurred there could be no winner.

Mr Wang's comments come as the US voices increasing concern at North Korea's development of nuclear weapons and deploys a Navy carrier group off the Korean peninsula.

China, North Korea's only backer, fears conflict could cause the regime to collapse and problems on its border.

Mr Wang said: "One has the feeling that a conflict could break out at any moment.

“I think that all relevant parties should be highly vigilant with regards to this situation."

Beijing bans property ads promising high returns and good feng shui

The sites had until Wednesday to remove ads promising high returns and even good feng shui, state media said.

Beijing's surging home prices have made it unaffordable for many, and led to high debt levels.

Authorities have issued new restrictions this year, calling the property market an economic risk.

Philippines' Duterte sends troops to unoccupied islands

"The unoccupied, which are ours, let's live on it," Mr Duterte told reporters during a visit to a military base in Palawan.

The move is expected to anger China, which claims several contested shoals, islets and reefs in the territory.

China has been constructing artificial islands in the area for years.

While the Philippines occupies nine features in the South China Sea, including a World War Two-era transport ship, Beijing claims almost all of the territory. It is unlikely to welcome an increased military presence from the Philippines.

'Serious' hack attacks from China targeting UK firms

The gang behind the attacks has compromised technology service firms and plans to use them as a proxy for attacks, security firms have said.

The group, dubbed APT10, is using custom-made malware and spear phishing to gain access to target companies.

The National Cyber Security Centre and cyber units at PwC and BAE Systems collaborated to identify the group.

"Operating alone, none of us would have joined the dots to uncover this new campaign of indirect attacks," said Richard Horne, cyber security partner at PwC.

 

Known victims

China bans Muslim beards and veils

China is intensifying its crackdown against what it deems religious extremism in the far-west province of Xinjiang, which is home to 10 million Muslims.

The latest measures -- outlined in a sweeping new anti-extremism legislation -- take effect Saturday and come on the heels of a series of steps to increase surveillance in the region that include the surrender of passports and mandatory GPS trackers in cars.

China Uighurs: Xinjiang ban on long beards and veils

The measures include prohibiting "abnormally" long beards, the wearing of veils in public places and refusing to watch state television.

Xinjiang is the homeland of the Uighurs, a traditionally Muslim group who say they face discrimination.

Recent years have seen bloody clashes in the region.

The Chinese government blames the violence on Islamist militants and separatists.

But rights groups say the unrest is more a reaction to repressive policies, and argue that the new measures may end up pushing some Uighurs into extremism.

Students must swim before they graduate, says China university

Tsinghua University, known as the Harvard of the East, has ruled that the nation's top minds must also prove themselves in the pool.

The news made waves on Chinese social media, with some questioning the move in a country struggling with drought.

But the university said swimming was a key survival skill.

President of Tsinghua University, Qiu Yong, said the exercise was made compulsory for all students because it also improved physical fitness.

Sydney academic stopped from leaving China

Dr Chongyi Feng, a China studies academic at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), was halted at Guangzhou airport.

Australian Justice Minister Michael Keenan said officials had contacted relatives of Dr Feng, who is an Australian permanent resident but a Chinese citizen.

It comes as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang concluded a five-day Australian visit.

The Australian Broadcasting Corp reported Dr Feng was stopped from boarding flights in Guangzhou on Friday and Saturday.