US’ show of strength to China, what to expect from Prabowo, PLA marriage in spotlight: SCMP’s 7 highlights of the week

US’ show of strength to China, what to expect from Prabowo, PLA marriage in spotlight: SCMP’s 7 highlights of the week

We have selected seven stories from this week’s news across Hong Kong, mainland China, the wider Asia region and beyond that resonated with our readers and shed light on topical issues. If you would like to see more of our reporting, please consider subscribing.

1. US to deploy 5 aircraft carriers in western Pacific in show of strength to China

The US is likely to deploy nearly half of its aircraft carriers in the western Pacific this year, in a signal of deterrence against the increasing military activity in the region by China and North Korea, analysts said.

2. TikTok CEO’s grilling on China ties could ‘undermine’ US image: Singapore envoy

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew testifies during a US congressional hearing in Washington on January 31. Photo: AP

Weeks after Singaporeans were left fuming from an American lawmaker’s grilling of TikTok’s CEO over his nationality and links to China’s Communist Party, the island nation’s top envoy in Washington has suggested the line of questioning went too far and could tarnish perceptions of the US.

3. Mainland Chinese make only day trips to Hong Kong as city loses allure

Hong Kong has lost some of its glamour for mainland travellers amid heightened competition from other Chinese cities over prices and number of attractions, industry commentators have said, as many visitors make only day trips to the financial hub during the Lunar New Year holiday.

4. ‘Very popular’ Joko Widodo to continue political dynasty with Prabowo win

President-elect Prabowo Subianto on February 14, 2024. Photo: AFP

Widodo, who will hand the presidency over to Prabowo on October 20, is barred by the constitution from a third term, but his influence will still be in play through his son, Gibran Rakabuming Raka, Indonesia’s vice-president-elect, making his clan the new guard in the world’s third-largest democracy, analysts said.

5. China’s cashless-society shift is keeping foreign tourists from opening wallets

Travelling to multiple Chinese cities late last year, Derek Cheung, an investor from Singapore, found himself having trouble making simple, everyday payments in China’s increasingly cashless society.

“Frankly, I see it as a challenge that comes with being a foreign tourist,” Cheung lamented. “China’s payment methods cater largely to locals.”

6. Thailand could face class-action suits over weed U-turn: ‘lawyers are ready’

Mary Jane is one of several large retail cannabis stores operated by OG Canna in popular tourist destinations in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo: Todd Ruiz

Thailand’s cannabis industry is lawyering up as the cabinet weighs a bill to roll back legal weed, which industry insiders say is propelled by political calculation rather than sound public health policy.

7. Army protection law sees China jail man who slept with wife of PLA soldier

A court in China has jailed a man for 10 months after he admitted to having slept and cohabited with the wife of a soldier currently serving in the People’s Liberation Army. Photo: SCMP composite/Sohu

A man in China has been sentenced to 10 months in prison for destroying a “military marriage” by dating and cohabiting with the wife of a serving People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldier.



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