China

Nine people arrested in China over Changsha building collapse

Police said the building's owner was detained, along with three others responsible for its construction.

Another five were charged with writing a false safety report for the building, which collapsed on Friday.

The cause of the disaster has not been confirmed by authorities.

On Saturday President Xi Jinping called for a search "at all cost" and ordered an investigation into the collapse in the city's Wangcheng District.

Six people have been rescued, but dozens are still trapped inside or unaccounted for, according to Changsha Mayor Zheng Jianxin.

Concerns voiced on security pact between China and Solomons

In a meeting on Friday, US National Security Council Indo-Pacific coordinator Kurt Campbell conveyed Washington DC's concerns with the treaty.

Campbell told Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare the United States respected the right of nations to make sovereign decisions but warned if steps are taken by China to establish a de facto permanent military presence in the country the United States would have significant concerns and respond accordingly.

Sogavare adamant security deal with China won't undermine regional security

In parliament on Wednesday, Manasseh Sogavare confirmed the controversial security agreement with China had been signed despite strong opposition to the deal from the other side of the house.

The pact, a draft of which was first leaked online last month, raised domestic and regional anxieties about Beijing's increasing influence in the South Pacific.

It's feared it could open the door to China's military presence in Honiara - a claim rejected both by China and Solomon Islands.

China and Solomon Islands sign security pact

China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin announced the agreement in Beijing, saying it would involve China cooperating with Honiara on maintaining social order, protecting people's safety, aid, combating natural disasters and helping safeguard national security.

Solomon Islands Foreign Affairs Minister Jeremiah Manele confirmed the signing of the pact to the ABC in a text message.

He said Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare would make a formal announcement in the coming days.

Solomon Islands security deal with China 'quite unfortunate' - Helen Clark

A draft security alliance between China and the Solomon Islands has prompted fear of a possible Chinese military base in the islands.

But Clark says the Pacific must stay together and any outside deals with security will always be alarming.

"There's been a history in the South Pacific that we help each other out and so I think anyone else coming in, signing a defence and security pact, this is going to raise many, many, many eyebrows. I personally think it's quite unfortunate because the Pacific family likes to work together."

Australian spy chiefs meet with Solomon Islands PM over China deal

Late Wednesday, Sogavare's office issued a statement revealing he'd hosted a "positive" meeting with a special envoy sent by the Australian government.

Sogavare's office said the men discussed "Australia's core security concerns" about the security agreement, which Australia fears could lay the legal groundwork for a Chinese military presence in Solomon Islands.

Agreement with China not in national interest says Solomon's opposition leader

The unverified document lays down a framework which could permit Beijing to deploy forces to protect the safety of Chinese personnel and major projects in Solomon Islands.

Wale said that any sensible person would recognize that Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare's actions on this matter are threatening national unity.

"How is such a decision in the best interest of the nation?" the opposition leader questioned.

He said that these actions show a disregard for the public's views and are causing the public to lose trust in the government.

China claims arrests of human traffickers in chained woman case

Three people have been arrested in connection with the case.

A video of the mother-of-eight sparked massive anger online when it emerged two weeks ago.

Officials first dismissed trafficking claims, but outraged netizens had kept up pressure, with some making daily calls for investigation.

Many of them also raised suspicions about kidnapping and abuse.

Even the hype around the Beijing Olympics has failed to distract people from the issue - a Weibo topic on the woman's plight has received more than 3bn views since the news first emerged.

Chinese woman stuck in lockdown with blind date

A woman, only identified as Ms Wang, posted on Chinese social media platform WeChat last week that she had got locked down with her date after visiting his house for a meal.

In the post, she said that she had recently returned to the city of Zhengzhou from Guangzhou ahead of the Lunar New Year.

"I'm getting quite old, so my parents arranged more than 10 blind dates for me," she said in this post. She wrote that her fifth date had said "he was good at cooking, and invited me to his house so he could cook a meal".

Concern over Xi'an residents' midnight quarantine

Xi'an is at the epicentre of China's current Covid outbreak, and authorities have enacted drastic measures.

All 13 million residents are confined to their homes and cannot leave to buy food or supplies.

Authorities are hoping to eliminate the outbreak before Lunar New Year and the Winter Olympics in Beijing next month.

The situation in Xi'an has led to heightened tensions, with many taking to social media in recent days to complain.