An aerial view of the city of Sansha on Woody Island in the disputed Paracel chain in the South China Sea. Weddings, sea plane trips, fishing and scuba-diving are all planned for the island. Photograph: AFP/GettyImages

Weddings, fishing and scuba diving will all be available on islands in geopolitical hotspot

A screengrab from the advertisement for Qiaobi detergent which has prompted widespread criticism.

Firm initially blamed foreign media after advert sparked allegations of racism

A student puts a red scarf on a statue of Chairman Mao Zedong in the Chinese Heroes Statues Plaza at Jianchuan Museum Cluster in Anren, Sichuan Province: Monday is the 50th anniversary of the start of his  brutal political movement, but  no official commemorations are planned. Photograph: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

Chairman Mao Zedong’s ideological purism shook China and scarred its people

Ken Tsang (centre)  arriving at Kowloon City Magistrates Court for his trial over charges of assaulting police officers in Hong Kong. His supporters held up yellow umbrellas, the symbol of Hong Kong’s democracy movement. Photograph: Alex Hofford/PA

Ken Tsang, allegedly beaten by police in 2014, faces up to two-year sentence on Monday

A screengrab from the advertisement for Qiaobi detergent which has prompted widespread criticism.

Advertisement for Qiaobi washing detergent sparks multiple complaints about racism

President Barack Obama takes the stage during a public appearance in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on Wednesday. Mr Obama highlighted human rights issues during his three-day visit, in particular the fact that activists had been blocked from meeting him. Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times.

Beijing responds sharply to Obama’s lifting of a long-standing arms ban on Vietnam

 The Gyeondyo-bar, which translates to “hang in there”:  South Korea was neck-and-neck with Ireland in 2015 in the alcohol consumption stakes, according to World Health Organisation data, with an average of 10.9 litres per capita per annum.  Photograph: Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters

‘Hang in there’ bar contains raisin tree fruit juice to soothe ‘hardships of employees’

Philippine  president-elect Rodrigo Duterte: He has said  he wants a limit of three children per family and called some senior clerics “sons of whores” for enriching themselves at the expense of the poor.  Photograph: Manman Dejeto/AFP/Getty

Rodrigo Duterte says he will allow burial of Ferdinand Marcos in heroes cemetery

Hong Kong: a delegation of 15 Irish companies led by Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons visited Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong

Winning a relatively small part of market will boost job creation and regional development

New Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen waves to  supporters at her presidential inauguration in Taipei on Friday. Photograph: Ashley Pon/Getty Images

Region watching closely to see how relations in China will turn out

 A US  EP-3 spy plane flying over an unknown location. Two Chinese J-11 fighter jets carried out what the Pentagon described as an “unsafe” interception of a US EP-3 spy plane in international airspace over the South China Sea. Photograph: EPA/US department of defence

China’s media responds angrily to ‘blatant provocations against maritime interests’

Pro-democracy activists carry pictures of the visiting chairman of the standing committee of China’s National People’s Congress, Zhang Dejiang, along with detained Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaob and his wife Liu Xia, in Hong Kong on Wednesday. Photograph: Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images

Zhang Dejiang’s visit is first by a Chinese official since pro-democracy protests in 2014

“Little red books” of quotations of the late Chairman Mao Zedong at a market in Beijing. Photograph:  Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images

Fifty years on, newspaper editorials admit ‘grave mistake’ but emphasise looking ahead

 Tiananmen Square  in Beijing. China offers a reliable and stable market, as well as abundant jobs for Europeans, said foreign minister Wang Yi.

EU parliament says China must reform its economy and reduce state influence

Crowds at the St Patrick’s Festival Parade in Dublin. A delegation of 15 companies will visit Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong as part of a sales mission to tap China’s rapidly expanding outbound tourism market. Photograph: Alan Betson

Number of Chinese visitors reached 45,000 in 2015, says Tourism Ireland’s Niall Gibbons

A vendor eats noodles next to a poster of Chairman Mao Zedong at a market in Beijing. The Communist Party uses the official formulation that Mao was “70 per cent wrong and 30 per cent right”. Photograph: Nicolas Asfouri/AFP/Getty Images

Fifty years ago, Chairman Mao sought to wipe out all traces of China’s past

New  Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte:  some believe that his bark may be worse than his bite. Photograph:  Ritchie B Tongo/EPA

The 71-year-old champions minorities’ rights but fears of return to bad old days remain

Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons has said the aim is to increase the number of Chinese visitors to the island of Ireland to 50,000 per year by 2017

Goal is to increase number of Chinese visitors to 50,000 next year

Commander Lucy D’Orsi meeting Queen Elizabeth II during a Buckingham Palace garden party, when the police officer described difficulties organising the state visit of Chinese premier Xi Jinping in October. Photograph: : UK TV pool /PA Wire

Beijing says relations with UK not damaged by queen’s reference to ‘rude’ officials

The Queen talks to Pastor Kofi Banful and Jayne Banful in the garden of Buckingham Palace at the first royal garden party of the year. Photograph: John Stillwell/PA Wire

Queen overheard telling police commander about Chinese premier Xi Jinping’s visit

NuTonomy: to begin testing self-driving cab service this year

MIT spin-out hopes to bring driverless cabs to Singapore to reduce traffic

Parade participants beat drums as they march on the Kim Il Sung Square on Tuesday  in Pyongyang, North Korea. Photograph: Wong Maye-E/AP

Congress linked expansion of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal to economic growth

 Rodrigo  Duterte: often likened to Donald Trump, he ran a controversial campaign in which he joked about raping a missionary and backed extrajudicial killings to keep crime under control.  Photograph: Erik De Castro/Reuters

Exit polls indicate the mayor got 13.7m votes with competitors coming in at 8m and under

Exports to the European Union, China’s largest trade partner, climbed 1.3 per cent year on year in the first four months

Debt levels and broader global economic anxieties weigh on sentiment

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during the first congress of the country’s ruling Workers’ Party in 36 years.

Kim tells Workers’ Party congress years that North Korea won’t take a strike-first attitude

Rupert Wingfield-Hayes was detained in North Korea on Friday as he was about to leave the country. Photograph: BBC

Irish producer Maria Byrne among group accused of calling leader Kim Jong-un ‘corpulent’

An aerial view shows buildings at a hydroelectric power station hit by landslide in the Fujian Province of China. Photograph: Reuters

Torrential rainfall causes landslide in Fujian province on Sunday morning

Supporters of  Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte queue for campaign shirts ahead of the  election being held on May 9th. Photograph: Erik De Castro/Reuters

Divisions among opposition may hand presidency to man known as the Punisher

The video is a frantic montage of action sequences, with special forces troops taking out targets, soldiers dodging tripwires and loading their magazines.

People’s Liberation Army’s macho video part of strategy in period of huge restructuring

Two fake Apple iPhone 6s, which run the Android operating system with an iOS look-alike interface, selling at RMB 580 ($91) each, are seen in a photo illustration taken in Shenzhen, China September 21, 2015. REUTERS/Staff/Illustration/File photo

Setback highlights how hard it can be to do business in the planet’s second-largest economy

Philippine presidential candidate  Rodrigo  Duterte speaks during a campaign rally in  Manila on  April 23rd. Photograph:  Ezra Acayan/Reuters

Rodrigo Duterte supports public executions, extra-judicial killings – and gay rights

A video has emerged showing a wrecking crew attacking villagers with batons on the island of Hainan, China. Photograph: People’s Daily/Youtube

Local government official resigns after footage emerges of baton assaults on residents

Before his death on April 12th, Wei Zexi accused Baidu of promoting false medical information online.

Wei Zexi (21) sought treatment for rare form of cancer on China’s equivalent of Google

Grandfather Zhen Qingchun, who has  seven grandsons, aged 11 to 20: “Our situation is very common. The parents go away to work, the older generation takes care of them. You have to make money, and you usually can’t take your children with you.”  Photograph: Clifford Coonan

Migrant working patterns leave more than 60 million rural children without parents

A paramilitary police officer outside   the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Amnesty  has urged China  to scrap a new law  which it says is aimed at further smothering civil society. Photograph: Fred Dufour/Getty Images

Police get sweeping powers to monitor overseas not-for-profit organisations

Chinese president Xi Jinping at the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia, in Beijing. Photograph: Kenzaburo Fukuhara/AFP/Getty Images

Chinese president urges ally North Korea to rein in nuclear ambitions

State-owned Chongqing Iron and Steel Co was the worst performing of China’s big steel mills last year. Photograph: China Photos/Getty Images

Some 1.8 million workers in state-owned steel and coal sectors will lose jobs in China

Chinese dissident Harry Wu speaking to reporters  during a human rights news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. File photo from 2000: AFP/Getty Images

Veteran activist, who was jailed for 19 years, campaigned against ‘laogai’ labour camps

Huge crowds attend the press days of the Beijing auto show, particularly at the premium exhibits like Audi (above). The attendances will only increase as the public starts to attend.

SUVs are the hottest offering on the Chinese car market where premium brands are magnets for the new middle class

Last year, Chongqing’s gross domestic product rose by 10.7 per cent, much faster than the 25-year low of 6.9 per cent recorded nationally across China. Photograph: Stephane De Sakutin/AFP/Getty Images

This vast metropolis, as big as Austria, is finally laying the spectre of Bo Xilai to rest

Greenpeace activists protesting at a power plant in Beijing.  Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund and Save the Children are among the few foreign non-profits permitted to operate in China. Photograph: Frederic J Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Controversial Bill will give Chinese police more power to restrict overseas charities

Twins peak: under the one-child policy of population control, now relaxed, there was widespread use of fertility treatment to encourage multiple births as the policy applied to one birth. Photograph: Frederic J Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Small village of Banshang has produced 16 sets of twins in the past half century

 North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un during the inspection of an underwater test-fire of a strategic submarine ballistic missile. Afterwards, he urged scientists to step up the North’s nuclear programme so it could launch attacks on the US and South Korea, whenever it wanted. Photograph:  AFP/KCNA/AFP/Getty Images

Kim Jong-un claims country now capable of ‘hitting heads of S Korean puppet forces’

 Taiwan’s outgoing president Ma Ying-jeou speaks to attendees during the “South China Sea issues and peace initiative” seminar in Taipei, Taiwan, earlier this month.  China has maritime claims over almost all of the South China Sea, but nearly all of its neighbours also have claims. Photograph:  Ritchie  Tongo/EPA

Some 20 maritime atomic facilities could be up and running by decade’s end, report says

President Xi Jinping is enormously popular in China because of his high-profile anti-corruption campaign and the perception of him as a powerful leader. Photograph: Jason Lee/Reuters

Xi Jinping underlines strength of leadership by taking on new role in world’s largest army

A woman walks by China’s anti-espionage ‘Dangerous Love’ poster campaign. Photograph: Ng Han Guan/AP

Anti-espionage campaign depicts civil servant ‘Little Li’ being wooed by handsome spy

Changzhou Foreign Languages School in Jiangsu province: a total of 493 students at the school have developed blood abnormalities and diseases such as dermatitis, eczema and bronchitis. Some have even been diagnosed with leukaemia and lymphoma.

Diseases including cancer widespread at Jiangsu school at site of former chemical plants

China banned EU beef imports over mad cow disease, or BSE, 16 years ago, but last year it was announced that the ban was being lifted for Irish beef.

Agriculture commissioner Phil Hogan says Chinese vets are auditing Ireland and five other countries

Marie, Louis and Layla Carroll at the opening of the Film Ireland festival in Hong Kong.

John Carney’s Sing Street strikes a chord as part of Hong Kong and Macau Irish Festival

China’s finance minister Lou Jiwei called Donald Trump an ‘irrational type’ in an interview criticising the Republican presidential frontrunner’s calls for a trade war with China. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Lou Jiwei says rhetoric in a presidential campaign should not be taken too seriously

A Central Committee meeting to mark the 104th birthday of North Korea’s founder Kim Il-sung: the missile was launched in his honour. Photograph: Korean Central News Agency/ Reuters

North Korea tried to launch Musudan ballistic missile to mark birthday of Kim Il-sung

Scale-models of terracotta warriors are pictured on sale at the exhibition Power in Death - The Terracotta Army of the First Emperor of China at the Museum of Ethnology in Hamburg. Photograph: Reuters

Lively trade in stolen cultural artefacts driving a boom in graverobbing

Labourers work on the scaffolding of a construction site at an industrial zone in Beijing, China, April 14, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

GDP expanded 6.7% in first three months of the year to 15.9 trillion yuan (€2.18 trillion)

Golf was outlawed in China in 2015, as part of  a crack down on corrupton. Photograph: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Outlawed in 2015, China now says there is ‘no right or wrong’ about the playing of golf

     Kevin Spacey, who plays fictional president Francis Underwood in “House of Cards”:  “They tell me House of Cards is a huge success in China, that the government like it a lot and that for the man in the street Underwood is seen as a man who fights corruption,” he told reporters at the launch of a new series in Paris.  Photograph: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Communist leadership keen on exploits of shifty US president played by Kevin Spacey

Hu Mingliang (left)  and his partner Sun Wenlin leave a courthouse after the Changsha Furong District people’s court ruled against the couple in Changsha, Hunan province, China. Photograph: EPA

Dozens turn out in Hunan to support couple in what is first case of its kind in China

Professor Stephen Hawking onstage during the New Space Exploration Initiative “Breakthrough Starshot” Announcement at One World Observatory in New York City. Photograph: Getty

Physicist treated like a rock star on China’s Twitter-style social network

China’s president Xi Jinping has initiated a moral crusade that has seen TV items involving LGBT content taken off the air. Photograph: Jason Lee/Reuters

Man surnamed Liu was born a woman and is suing for compensation and apology

Crew members of Japanese submarine Oyashio (left) work on the deck while Japanese destroyers  dock at a port of the former US naval base in Subic bay, north of Manila, in the   Philippines.  China has an ongoing row with Tokyo over the ownership of islands in the region. Photograph: Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images

Beijing says G7 should focus on economy, not on tensions in East and South China Seas

 A woman carries clothes in buckets after washing them in a canal next to the Zhang He River near Handan, Hebei Province in 2013.  Photograph: New York Times

Contaminants include heavy metals and toxic organic pollutions

Joshua Wong, who at 19 years of age is not eligible to vote in Hong Kong’s limited elections for another two years, was the public face of the Occupy Central movement. Photograph: Isaac Lawrence/AFP/Getty Images

Move by Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow expected to ramp up campaign for democracy

An internet cafe in Beijing. Data shows that nearly 29 per cent of China’s 650 million internet users used a Virtual Private Network to get online during the last three months of 2015. Photograph: Sim Chi Yin/The New York Times

More publications banned after Panama Papers link leadership to secret offshore firms

The files link nine of the country’s most prominent families, including a relative of president Xi Jinping,  to secret offshore companies, mostly based in the British Virgin Islands. Photograph: Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

Offshore account revelations go unpublished in media, online discussion banned

The families of some of China’s  communist party leaders including President Xi Jinping (above) have used offshore tax havens to conceal their fortunes, the Panama Papers have revelaed. Photograph: Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

State media still largely ignoring the investigations into families of senior party leaders

China condemns papers as western conspiracy and censors reports of offshore deals

China has condemned the Panama Papers investigation as a Western conspiracy and its censors have restricted access to coverage of the leaked documents, which show offshore dealings by the families of president Xi Jinping (above)  and other Communist Party leaders. Photograph: Filip Singer/EPA

Censors in China restrict access to coverage of the leaked cache of files

Executive producer of Ten Years Andrew Choi (C) after winning the Best Film award at the Hong Kong Film Awards  on April 3rd. Photograph:  Reuters

Dystopian film set in 2025, and critical of Beijing rule, angers some in mainland China

A Baifu pet cemetery worker  decorates a new pet tomb ahead of the Qingming festival on the outskirts of Beijing. Millions honoured their ancestors on Sunday as part of tomb sweeping day. Photograph:   Jason Lee/Reuters

Offerings to the dead on first day of Qingming holiday include effigies of iPhones

People perform Tai Chi on the Bund in front of the financial district of Pudong in Shanghai, China, March 25, 2016. REUTERS/Aly Song

Former Treasury Holdings alumni Richard Barrett and Cormac Doddy are crowdfunding a Shanghai-based online start-up that taps int(...)

Life in the fast lane: “Some of the ‘fuerdai’ have a crush on the life of luxury ... they drive Bentley, Maserati, Porsche and so on”

The children of Chinese government officials and business tycoons are flaunting their parents’ huge wealth, getting into trouble a(...)

The Communist Party is obsessed with clamping down on ‘online rumour mongering’, as it sees it as the primary channel for anti-government dissent.

The caution adds to growing fears China is planning even tougher online restrictions

Chinese manufacturing activity expanded in March for the first time in nine months, official data showed on April 1, while a private survey indicated the smallest decline for more than a year in positive signals for the world’s second-largest economy. (Photograph:  ASTR / China OUTSTR/AFP/Getty Images)

China purchasing managers’ index reaches highest level since August

China’s president Xi Jinping has overseen a moral crusade in his country. Photograph: Filip Singer/EPA

Director Wang Chao plays down theme after ‘Seek McCartney’ gets censor’s approval

Standard & Poor’s, the ratings agency, has cut its outlook on China’s government credit to ‘negative’ from ‘stable’ as it believes rebalancing of the world’s second largest economy would take place more slowly than expected.

S&P believes rebalancing the economy will take longer than expected

Myanmar’s new foreign minister Aung San Suu Kyi and generals attending a presidency ceremony in Naypyitaw. Photograph: Ye Aung Thu/EPA

Nobel Peace Prize winner has vowed to rule ‘from above’

A job fair  at Shandong University in  China. Slower economic growth in China, worsening producer price deflation and a generally chillier global environment has prompted the Manila-based Asian Development Bank to cut its growth forecasts for developing economies in Asia.

Asian Development Bank says India slowing but still a bright spot as China growth stalls

Chen Man and his lawyer will seek compensation of 9,660,000 yuan (€1.328 million) from the Hainan Higher People’s Court.

The painter was arrested in 1992 after his landlord was found dead in a burned down house

People crossing the street in Beijing. China’s urban population is forecast to reach nearly 940 million by 2030, compared with 670 million in 2010.  Photograph: Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images

Over 60 million migrant workers left offspring at home in urbanisation wave

Police escort a man accused of attacking and murdering a young girl with a cleaver on a street in Taipei, Taiwan. Photograph:  Aden Hsu/AFP Photo

Suspect was attacked and beaten by an angry crowd as police led him away

Graduates of Tsinghua University. Photograph: China Photos/Getty Images

Tsinghua University mistook Oliver Rothschild for a member of the banking dynasty

Chinese People’s Liberation Army: China has ordered its military to end all paid services within the next three years as it seeks to focus on modernising its armed forces and eliminating corruption. Photograph:  How Hwee Young/EPA

End sought to paid work from military hospitals and hotels in anti-corruption drive

Sean O’Sullivan: is a key figure in a revolution in the manufacturing start-up scene, with capital, investors and entrepreneurs flowing into a city of nearly 15 million people

This boomtown in southern China is fulfilling the state’s goal of transforming China into an innovative centre

 Chinese president Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Friday. Last month, the president visited the three main state propaganda organs and urged them to stick closely to party lines in their reporting. Photograph:  Lintao Zhang/Pool/Getty Images

Post on state-backed website accused president of building a cult of personality

A demonstrator holds  up a missing person notice for Lee Bo, one of five Hong Kong booksellers from the same Mighty Current publishing house to go missing. Photograph: Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images

Lee Bo insists he was not abducted after his wife reported him missing in recent months

Attendees look at the Maserati Levante on the first day of the 86th Geneva International Motor Show in Geneva, Switzerland.  Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Italian car-maker launches flagship store on Tmall with 100 Maserati SUV Levante vehicles

German president Joachim Gauck has said people can never be happy under a “dictatorship” during his first trip to China. Photograph: Wolfgang Kumm/EPA

Former East German rights activist says people can never be happy in a dictatorship

In China you can leave your villa in Provence, meet friends at Manhattan Plaza shopping mall, and walk past buildings called Venice or Milan, hardly reflective of Chinese national culture, according to critics. Photograph: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

In China you can meet friends at ‘Manhattan Plaza’ and walk past ‘Venice’ and ‘Milan’

Vaccine scandal: Food and drug safety is an key issue in China and public confidence in domestic products has been badly undermined. Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Sale of improperly stored or expired vaccines sparks widespread anger and fear

A rocket is launched during a demonstration of North Korea’s new rocket launching system in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). Photograph: Reuters/KCNA

KCNA hails ‘perfect accuracy’ of system day after North Korea fires missiles into sea

Aung San Suu Kyi will be the only woman in the cabinet of the new Myanmar government, led by the National League for Democracy. Photograph: Nyein Chan Naing/EPA/File photo

Nobel laureate barred from presidency, but will take on four ministerial roles

Student protester Joshua Wong (centre), who became the poster boy of the Occupy Central movement, with other members of pro-democracy campaign group Scholarism at a press conference in Hong Kong. Photograph:  Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images

Teenage activist plans a new party and will contest seats in polls in September

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg braves Beijing’s smog as he runs past Tiananmen Gate. Facebook has been blocked in China since 2009 but Mr Zuckerberg has been lobbying hard to get the social networking site into the potentially lucrative market.  Photograph: Facebook/AFP/Getty Images

Facebook founder making progress with Chinese propaganda chief, state media reports

Richard Branson: Virgin chief tweeted:  “Really sorry to hear about an alleged incident on flight VS250. We do not tolerate abuse and @virginatlantic are investigating.”  Photograph: EPA

Passenger says flight attendants did nothing to help her

A promotional ad for Trump toilets, made by bathroom fixture company in Shenzhen, southern China. “It is a common foreign name. Donald Trump is only one of many Trumps throughout the world,” said Zhong Jianwei, general manager of Shenzhen Trump Industrial.

Bathroom firm, which has no links to Donald Trump, claims one billion users

A man watches a TV screen showing a file footage of the missile launch conducted by North Korea, at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea. Photograph: AP

Launch to heighten tension in stand-off over country’s weapons programme

President Xi Jinping at the closing ceremony of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference  in Beijing: the open article published online called for his resignation. Photograph: Jason Lee/Reuters

Jia Jia disappeared after publication of open letter calling for President Xi Jinping to quit

The ramparts of the Great Wall of China are illuminated  in green at Badaling near the capital Beijing.

Students from St Colmcille’s school perform Irish dances to mark the event

Otto Warmbier is taken to North Korea’s top court in Pyongyang, North Korea, in this photo released by Kyodo. Photograph: Reuters

Otto Warmbier sentenced to hard labour over ‘severe and pre-planned’ crime

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang gesturing during a press conference after the closing session of the National People’s Congress in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Photograph: Getty Images

Premier claims country wants harmonious co-existence with its neighbours

Donald Trump speaking during a town hall event at the Tampa Convention Centre in Tampa, Florida, on Monday. “His job was basically to act as a clown to attract more voters’ attention to the GOP,” said China’s Global Times newspaper.  Photograph: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

‘Rich and narcissistic’ Trump shows institutional failures in US, says ‘Global Times’

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