The DailyBrief

Wednesday August 16, 2017

Look away, Dixieland: If US President Donald Trump thought he could divert attention from the appalling events in Virginia by slapping China, he was mistaken, William Pesek writes. Much like his conspicuously slow disavowal of racist protesters who terrorized the city, Trump’s decision to direct Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to probe America’s deficit with China is too little, too late. While it does make for great optics for the reality-TV president, China has changed so much since the 2001 window through which Trump is peering that the economic merits of such a move are questionable.

Cast into disarray: Pakistan celebrated its 70th Independence Day amid rising political polarization as ruling and opposition political parties joust over the supremacy of parliament and proposed plans to curb the powers of the influential military and judiciary, FM Shakil writes. The ruling Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz, or PML(N), has been cast into disarray since the Supreme Court disqualified prime minister Nawaz Sharif on asset concealment charges, setting the country’s rival parties on a collision course. Will the military eventually step in?

Eye on China: Heralding deeper and stronger bilateral cooperation in the South China Sea, the United States is sending an aircraft carrier to Vietnam next year, the first such US visit since the end of the Vietnam War over four decades ago. Helen Clark writes. Hanoi’s willingness to host an American naval vessel signals a possible shift in the strategic balance in the South China Sea. Vietnam is striving to diversify its defense relations with an eye on China’s island-building and militarization of nearby sea features. In recent months, Vietnam has deepened its defense cooperation with India and Japan, both strong US regional allies.

Cybersecurity violations probe: WeChat, Weibo and search engine Baidu, China’s top social-media marketing platforms, are being investigated by the Cyberspace Administration of China for allegedly spreading content related to “terrorism, fake rumors and pornography,” which may have violated the country’s cybersecurity law, Yiling Pan writes. Setting off the investigation were reports and complaints by Chinese online users who claim there was illegal content circulating on the sites.

Top pimp sentenced: After a three-year trial, the man known as the king of China’s sex industry has been sentenced to life in prison for bribery and running the “Dongguan sauna,” a notorious prostitution operation, Ben Kwok writes. In addition to his life term, Liang Yaohui, a former member of the National People’s Congress who once made the rich people’s list, will have all of his properties seized.

Asia Times app: Asia Times has launched an app for both iOS- and Android-based devices that will deliver the publication’s regular daily news, commentary, blogs and live coverage while also bringing readers added functionality. Asia Times Staff report that the app, launched on July 25, includes content notification, share and save functions and is free to download from both the Apple Store and Google Play.