China

China urges families to store basic supplies in case of emergency

No reason was given for the notice from the Ministry of Commerce, but it came amid ongoing coronavirus lockdowns and concerns over vegetable supplies after unusually heavy rain damaged crops.

The ministry also asked local authorities to keep supply chains running smoothly and prices stable.

State media later sought to quell concerns amid reports of panic buying.

"As soon as this news came out, all the old people near me went crazy, panic buying in the supermarket," one user wrote on the Chinese social media site Weibo.

China to create fund to help Pacific Island countries defeat COVID-19

Wang made the remarks at the first China-Pacific Island Countries Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Beijing via video link.

He said the bilateral relationship between China and the Pacific Island countries has shown a good development momentum, and the comprehensive strategic partnership has continued to deepen.

Relations between the two sides are based on mutual respect and equity, Wang said.

Chinese receive Olympic flame

In a brief ceremony inside the empty stadium that hosted the first modern Olympics in 1896, Beijing Games vice president Yu Zaiqing fired up a small red lantern from the flame lit on Sunday in ancient Olympia, site of the ancient Games.

The lantern will arrive in the Chinese capital later today, kicking off a domestic torch relay that ends with the Games opening ceremony on Feb. 4 as Beijing becomes the first city to host both Summer and Winter Olympics.

China slashes its aid to the Pacific

An assessment by Australian think tank, the Lowy Institute, showed while various Western nations were raising concerns about Chinese influence in the Pacific, Beijing was cutting back its involvement.

The Institute said Chinese aid, in the form of grants and low interest loans, peaked in 2016, at US$287 million.

Lowy's Pacific programme director, Jonathan Pryke said by 2019 that aid was down to US$169 million - its lowest level in seven years.

China pledges to stop building new coal energy plants abroad

President Xi Jinping made the announcement in his address at the United Nations General Assembly.

China has been funding coal projects in countries like Indonesia and Vietnam under a massive infrastructure project known as the Belt and Road initiative.

But it has been under pressure to end the financing, as the world tries to meet Paris climate agreement targets.

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Australia's big gamble on the US over China

It's a definitive move for a country in the Asia-Pacific region, experts say.

The security deal with the US and the UK gives Australia a huge defence upgrade from the world's most powerful military.

But it's a gift with strings attached. And there is debate over whether such a decision - made without public consultation - will play out in Australia's national interests.

As China has grown in power, it has begun to challenge US dominance in the Asia-Pacific region.

Children given daily time limit on Douyin - its version of TikTok

The rules will apply to users under 14, who have been authenticated using their real names, and who will be able to access it between 06:00 and 22:00.

Parent company Bytedance announced the app’s Youth Mode in a blog post, saying it is the first short-video company in the industry to have these limits.

It comes as China cracks down on teenagers' use of technology.

According to Douyin's user agreement there is no minimum age on the platform, but under 18s must obtain the consent of a legal guardian. On sister app TikTok the minimum age is 13.

China denounces US-UK-Australia pact as irresponsible

The deal will see the US and UK give Australia the technology to build nuclear-powered submarines for the first time.

It is being widely viewed as an effort to counter China's influence in the contested South China Sea.

The region has been a flashpoint for years and tensions there remain high.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the alliance risked "severely damaging regional peace... and intensifying the arms race".

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Unleashing reforms, Xi returns to China's 'socialist' roots

But sweeping new policy moves - from crackdowns on internet companies, for-profit education, online gaming and property market excesses - to the promulgation of Common Prosperity, show Xi's seriousness in steering China back towards its socialist roots.

Having done away with term limits in 2018, China's most powerful leader since Mao Zedong is pushing what some observers describe as a mini "revolution", curbing the excesses of capitalism and shedding negative cultural influences of the West.

Chinese social media site Weibo suspends 22 K-pop accounts

Twenty-two fan accounts have been suspended by Chinese social media site Sina Weibo for what it called "irrational star-chasing behaviour".

They include fans of Korean pop band BTS who crowdfunded on the platform to customise an aeroplane for singer Park Ji-Min's 26th birthday.

Weibo accused one fan account of "illegal fundraising" for the stunt.

In a statement, the company said it "firmly opposes such irrational star-chasing behaviour and will deal with it seriously".