Performers participate at the  Chinese new year night parade  in Hong Kong.  Photograph: Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images

While heavy propaganda dimension turns some viewers off dancing robots delight

North Korea’s rocket launch at an undisclosed location  on Sunday. South Korea, Japan and the United States said the “satellite” launch was a cover for testing ballistic missile technology that could be used to deliver a nuclear weapon. Photograph:  AFP Photo/KCNA via KNS

Beijing angry as Seoul and Tokyo show renewed interest in US missile defence system

Chinese children in Beijing wait for their train to set off  to their home town for the spring festival, or lunar new year. The auspicious Year of the Monkey begins on February 8th. Photograph: Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images

Beijing Letter: Hundreds of millions have made their way home to celebrate lunar new year

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un watches a long-range rocket launch in North Korea on Sunday. Photograph: Reuters/Kyodo

Regional neighbours react with alarm after launch of missile with range of 10,000km

Tom Connolly: “There is a heightened sense of care, warmth and genuine interest in the customer here that I believe Europe could learn a lot from.”

Wild GeeseTom Connolly, Eclipse, Hong Kong

A worker makes lanterns at a factory ahead of the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year. Photograph: REUTERS/China Daily

Chinese New Year is a big holiday for eating out and splashing the cash

George Soros: famously broke the Bank of England.  Photograph: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg

Chinese media lines up behind government to soothe fears about economy

Myanmar’s National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi arrives for the opening of the new parliament in Naypyitaw. Lawmakers  will form Myanmar’s ruling party, with enough seats to choose the first democratically elected government since the military took power in 1962. Photograph: Soe Zeya Tun/Reuters

Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD will have to share power with the military-backed ruling USDP

Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi after attending the first day of a new parliament session in Naypyitaw, Myanmar on Monday. Photograph: Hein Htet/EPA

After 50 years of military rule the shift to democracy has been a slow process

National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi leaves after the last day of the parliament’s lower house regular session. Photograph: Ye Aung/AFP/Getty Images

Aung San Suu Kyi’s party has enough seats to form administration after landslide win

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi (right) prepares to shake hands with US secretary of state John Kerry  at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing,  January 27th, 2016. Photograph: Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images

US secretary of state urges further action to stop N Korea developing its nuclear weapons

Wang Baoan took over as head of the National Bureau of Statistics in April last year, having earlier been deputy finance minister. Photograph: Reuters

Wang Baoan under investigation by Communist Party’s anti-graft watchdog

File photograph of Peter Dahlin, a human rights worker from Sweden, in Beijing in April 2014. Photograph: Jonah Kessel/The New York Times

Dahlin had been detained on subversion charges and made confession on state TV

A worker controls a tapping of a blast furnace at Europe’s largest steel factory of Germany’s industrial conglomerate ThyssenKrupp AG in the western German city of Duisburg. Photograph: REUTERS/Ina Fassbender

One EU lobby group foresees 3.5 million jobs losses if status is granted

Electricity can be generated using machines that run on biogas produced from processing palm oil mill effluent.

Company is owned by Irish and Singaporean investors

Placards showing missing bookseller Lee Bo (left) and his associate Gui Minhai (right)  outside the China liaison office in Hong Kong. Photograph: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

EU steps up rhetoric against China after nationals paraded on television

Travelling during the annual spring migration in Beijing, China, when people return to their hometowns to celebrate new year on February 8th: heralding the Year of the Monkey. Photograph: How Hwee Young/EPA

Hopes that monkey year will boost birth rates in country with new two-child policy

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is pictured during a visit to a museum earlier this week. His country, which recently spiked tensions in Asia with a nuclear weapons test, says it has arrested a US college student for allegedly conducting a “hostile act” against the communist country. Photograph:  Reuters/KCNA.

Otto Frederick Warmbier reportedly detained days before controversial nuclear test

Chimneys of a power plant on the outskirts of Beijing. Last year, China issued its first smog red alert and closed schools, and there was serious criticism of the government for not doing enough to combat smog. Photograph: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

Eighty per cent of 366 major cities still fail to meet national air quality standards

Screen grab taken from Chinese state broadcaster CCTV shows Gui Minhai, a Swedish national and co-owner of publisher Mighty Current in Hong Kong, speaking in an interview broadcast on January 17th, 2016. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Journalist advocacy group RSF says footage of EU nationals is propaganda

Peter Dahlin, Swedish co-founder of the NGO Chinese Urgent Action Working Group, in a video released by China Central Television. Dahlin became the first foreigner to make what rights activists say was a coerced confession on state TV on charges relating to subversion.  Photograph: CCTV/AP Video

Political agenda clear as confessions recall tactics of self-criticism common in Mao era

 Women work in a clothes factory in Huaibei, Anhui province, China. China said its GDP expanded by 6.9 per cent in 2015, the slowest growth in 25 years. Photograph:  EPA

Fears as Chinese growth slows to rates not seen for 25 years

Saudi deputy crown prince and defence minister Mohammed bin Salman  welcomes China’s president Xi Jinping  in Riyadh on Tuesday. Photograph: Reuters/Saudi Press Agency

President’s tour to include regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran as well as stop in Egypt

Investors look at computer screens showing stock information at a brokerage house in Fuyang, Anhui province

After years of double-expansion, China is now getting used to more moderate growth

Stephen Schwarzman, chief executive of Blackstone: “The calibre of this first class of Schwarzman Scholars is truly exceptional”. Photograph:  Sasha Maslov/The New York Times

Blackstone chief's programme is full of alpha humans of "exceptional" standard

 Jurassic World: made by  US film studio Legendary Entertainment

China is expected to become the world’s biggest film market within two years

Tsai Ing-wen (R), of  Taiwan’s main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), has won in  Taiwan’s presidential election. Photograph:  Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images.

Beijing warns new president Tsai Ing-wen against ‘hallucination’ of seeking breakaway

A man hands out flags to gathered Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters as polls closed in Taipei on Saturday. Photograph: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

Tsai Ing-wen becomes island’s first woman president amid flag-waving controversy

Democratic Progressive Party  chairperson and presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen  during a final campaign rally, in Taipei, Taiwan. Photograph: Pichi Chuang/Reuters

Tsai Ing-wen expected to unseat President Ma Ying-jeou in Saturday’s election

People gather outside a Starbucks coffee shop close to where the Jakarta attacks happened. Photograph: Getty

Site of suicide blast a ‘selfie shrine’ with street vendors selling snacks

A basket vendor in Kunming, Yunnan province passes by red lanterns serving as decorations to celebrate the Chinese new year. Photograph: Reuters

The Chinese government is trying to sell the idea of slower, consumption and services-based growth

People, including unarmed police officers, flee from the scene after a gun battle broke out following an explosion in Jakarta, Indonesia on Thursday which killed seven people. Photograph: AP

The brazenness of the suicide attack indicates a new level of militancy in Indonesia

People photograph the scene of a bomb blast at a police post on a traffic island on J1 Thamrin, in Jakarta, Indonesia,  January 14th,  2016. Photograph: Roni Bintang/EPA

Indonesia sees first co-ordinated assault by team of suicide bombers and gunmen

Paramilitary guards stand in front of the gates of Sweden’s embassy in Beijing. Photograph: Getty Images

Peter Dahlin taken custody as part of a wider crackdown on activists

Macau’s Casino Lisboa which is attached to Hotel Lisboa where police detained 96 suspected prostitutes and arrested six people. An alleged ring is suspected of controlling 100 rooms in the hotel, earning €46 million over two years, collected from around 2,400 sex workers.

Trial of Alan Ho follows raid a year ago on casino hotel in the former Portuguese colony

A handout picture provided by the South Korean Air Force on Monday shows a US B-52 strategic bomber flying over South Korea with fighter jets from the two countries, in a show of force following North Korea’s nuclear test. Photograph: EPA/South Korean Air Force

Five of six regional powers involved in long-stalled negotiations will take part

Novice soldiers run along a road during a test of military skills in Heihe in northeastern China’s Heilongjiang province. Photograph: Chinatopix via AP

Reshuffle of People’s Liberation Army units underlines command by Communist Party

 Investors observe the stock market at an exchange hall  in Beijing, China. Photograph: ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images

Authorities stop circuit-breaker mechanism after it fails to stop slumps

China has the world’s biggest population of internet users

Propaganda efforts must push the ruling party in its online efforts says China

An aerial view of Pattaya beach, where the body of a 50-year-old Irish man was found on Monday. Photograph: Getty Images

Man’s body showed signs of injury when found floating at beach resort in Pattaya

The statue reportedly cost nearly three billion yuan (€427,000). Photograph: Reuters

Local media said officials claimed the 36.6-metre structure was ‘not approved’

Metersbonwe has more than 4,000 shops in China between its two main brands, Me&City and Meters/bonwe

Zhou Chengjian of clothing chain Metersbonwe investigated for insider trading

South Korean protesters attend an anti-North Korea rally on Thursday in Seoul, South Korea. Photograph: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Regional tensions mount after H-bomb claims as South Korea looks to US and China

A man walks past an electronic board displaying the benchmark Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong on Thursday. With official economic growth in China still running at just below 7 per cent, the markets are slow to embrace government moves to shift the economy from an export-led one to a consumer and services-led one. Photograph: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

Authorities stop circuit-breaker mechanism after it fails to halt slumps

Chinese traders got an unexpected and unwelcome extended new year break after shares tumbled. Photograph: Reuters

Shares fell more than 7% in 30 minutes, but policy response not welcomed

A printout showing Lee Bo and four other missing colleagues is displayed in Hong Kong. Photograph: Bobby Yip/Reuters.

Britain’s foreign secretary stresses Hong Kong has its own judicial system

A picture taken from North Korean TV and released by South Korean news agency Yonhap showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un signing a document of a hydrogen bomb test in Pyongyang. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Pyongyang has bolstered unease with its latest claims to have nuclear weaponry

In this photograph released by North Korea’s official news agency people in Pyongyang celebrate the success of what the secretive state claimed was its first hydrogen bomb test.  Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

White House casts doubt over claims of successful testing of weapon by Pyongyang

 Enron Corp headquarters in Houston in 2002. Photograph: Pat Sullivan/AP Photo

Andrew Fastow made Enron look healthy before it crashed and now advises how to spot fraud

A huge statue of Chairman Mao Zedong under construction in Tongxu county in Kaifeng, central China’s Henan province. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Communist leader remains an icon despite disastrous Great Leap Forward

Posters of books about China’s politics including - some featuring Chinese president Xi Jinping -  are displayed in the staircase leading to a bookshop in Hong Kong.  Photograph: Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

Lee Bo’s wife says she received fax from him but fears for safety of five missing men remain

Among the sites currently blocked in China are Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, the New York Times and Bloomberg

Conference hears simultaneous calls for more online freedom and better governance

The ARJ-21 was cleared to fly in China at the end of 2014

Aircraft has domestic approval but lacks international certification

Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying at  a press conference  on Monday. He said he and his government were “highly concerned” about the case of the missing booksellers. Photograph:  Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

Democracy activist Agnes Chow slams ‘political suppression’ by Beijing in viral video

Lisboa Casino in Macau: gaming sector revenue in the former Portuguese colony fell in November by 32.3 per cent to €1.87 billion. Photograph: Jerome Favre/Bloomberg

Beijing crackdown seeks to transform casino hub into place with wider appeal

Ursula Gauthier, the Beijing-based correspondent for French news magazine L’Obs, looks on during an interview in her apartment in Beijing on Monday. Photograph: Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images

Ursula Gauthier to return to Paris after Chinese government refuses to renew her visa

In October, the US Navy sent the USS Lassen, a guided-missile destroyer, on patrol within  12 nautical miles of Subi Reef in the Spratly archipelago. China responded by accusing Washington of having a “cold war mentality”. Photograph: Evan Kenny/EPA/US Navy

World review of the year: Fears of more US tension in 2016 on maritime ambitions

Guo Guangchang: the Fosun chairman  is just the latest in a series of senior business figures to fall foul of a widening dragnet into corruption and abuse of power.  Photograph: Getty Images

Chinese authorities are on a mission to clean up financial markets

Zhou Qunfei: billionaire comes from a farming background

Eight of the top 10 richest self-made women in the world are from China

A Roewe E50 electric car is parked next to a street as a bicycle travels past, amid heavy smog, after the city issued its first ever “red alert” for air pollution in Beijing, China last week. Photograph: REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

China set to overtake US as biggest electric car market

Members of the Moranbong Band of North Korea leaving Beijing International Airport after their concert in the Chinese capital was abruptly cancelled.  Photograph: Reuters/Kyodo

China snubs North Korean pop group’s show after Kim’s hydrogen bomb boast

Police push away journalists and supporters of human rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang near the Beijing No 2 Intermediate People’s Court  on Monday. Photograph: Fred DufourAFP/Getty Images

Diplomats also jostled as they try to gain entry to the three-hour trial in Beijing

Pu Zhiqiang (centre), whose clients have included  artist Ai Weiwei, has already been detained for 19 months. Photograph: Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images

Attorney who has represented dissidents faces eight years for ‘provoking trouble’

Guo Guangchang, the co-founder and chairman of China’s biggest private investment conglomerate, has not been seen since Thursday afternoon. Photograph: Reuters

Head of China’s biggest investment describes himself as the ‘Chinese Warren Buffet’

The US ambassador to China Max Baucus: “We remain concerned over the crackdown on human rights lawyers and others who seek peacefully to contribute their views to the public discourse on the future of China.” Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Max Baucus urges Beijing to see rights lawyers as partners, not enemies

Some 20 students from University College Cork will join the programme. Photograph: Gavin Browne

Researchers will study crypto-currencies and future investor technologies

Soldiers march past  the Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar, in the restive Xinjiang province, in China, in July 2014. China has increased security in many parts of Xinjiang. Photograph: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Chinese-language war chant urges Muslims to pick up arms and sacrifice themselves

A couple wear masks  in a shopping district of Beijing amid heavy smog after the city issued its first ever red alert for air pollution. Photograph: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

Schools closed until Thursday and measures put in place to improve air quality

Chinese cash: The country has been loosening its grip on management of the yuan for a while. Photograph: REUTERS/Lee Jae-won

China loosens its tight grip on management of its own currency

“Ireland offers great opportunities for inward investment as a gateway into Europe and the US Asia-Pac companies,” says  Andrew O’Callaghan

Asia-Pacific CEOs less confident after financial market volatility

Xu Ming (44), who reportedly died of heart problems at a prison in Wuhan in central Hubei province, China. His family told local media he had no history of such issues. Photograph: Reuters/ China Daily

Bo Xilai’s associate, tycoon Xu Ming, was key witness in his high-profile trial

China’s climate change special representative Xie Zhenhua speaks at a news conference in Beijing in November. Photograph: Reuters

China aims to cut emissions in the power sector by 60 per cent within five years

A view of Heimahe, a village near Qinghai Lake. Qinghai Lake is the largest salt lake in China. Photograph: Xiao Lu Chu/Getty Images

The Qinghai lake area is crucial to keeping China’s ecology alive

Clifford Coonan and his family have to wear masks to protect themselves during heavy smog in Beijing.

COP21: The climate and me: An Irishman in China on face-masks, no-drive days and cancelled football matches

Northern Ireland Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment Jonathan Bell: leading a 13 company-strong trade mission to China

NI seeks to build on UK’s growing influence in China following Xi visit

Alibaba chairman Jack Ma, rumoured to be in the market for the ‘South China Morning Post’. Photograph:  Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Hong Kong newspaper confirms offer from unnamed buyer

The International Monetary Fund’s executive board, which represents the fund’s 188 member nations, decided the yuan meets the standard of being “freely usable” and will join the dollar, euro, pound and yen in its special drawing rights basket, the organisation said on Monday. Photograph: Jason Lee/Reuters

Move is seen as supporting China’s financial reforms

Participants arrive for the national public service examination, in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, China, on Sunday. Photograph: Reuters

Appeal of ‘Iron Rice Bowl’ may be waning as lure of private sector grows

Reorganising: The cuts of around 300,000 troops will reduce the ranks of the PLA to around two million members –  down from 6.27 million at the time of the 1949 revolution. Photograph: STR/AFP/Getty Images

Demobilisation of 300,000 troops comes as disputes continue in South China Sea

 Qinghai Lake in China:  environmental researchers are asking  whether the lake is getting bigger due to more rainfall or because the glaciers at the roof of the world are melting faster – a dire foreboding of climate change. Photograph: China Photos/Getty Images

Tibet plateau will be high on climate conference agenda as it is the source of Asia’s water

Chinese journalist Gao Yu has suffered heart problems during her detention. Photograph: Filip Singer/EPA

Gao Yu (71), winner of Press Freedom award, earlier had sentence reduced to five years

Chinese president Xi Jinping: has launched a major crackdown on official corruption Photograph:  Noel Celis/Pool Photo via AP

College leaders ‘named and shamed’ for hedonism and fancy cars

China’s outbound direct investment to Africa totalled €1.12 billion in the first half of this year

Falling commodity prices and weak global demand hit Chinese spending

A woman looks at handbags on sale at a shop in Beijing:  Growth in China’s industrial production, a measure of output at factories, workshops and mines, fell to a six-month low in October. Photograph: Wang Zhaowang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images

Report by Conference Board and Nielsen is downright dark in its assessment

This combination of undated images taken from Islamic State’s online magazine Dabiq purports to show Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad (48) from Oslo, Norway and Fan Jinghui (50) from Beijing, China. IS had demanded ransoms for the two men. Photograph: Dabiq via AP

Islamist terror group also executes Norwegian citizen Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad

A file photograph of armed paramilitary policemen running in formation during a gathering to mobilise security operations in Urumqi, in China’s resitive Xinjiang province, on June 29th, 2013. Photograph: Reuters

Suspects killed in raid following manhunt after attack on colliery in which 50 died

A  man blocks a line of tanks  after Chinese forces crushed a pro-democracy demonstration in Tiananmen Square on June 5th, 1989. Photograph: Jeff Widener/AP

Any commemoration to be low-key as Hu Yaobang remains divisive figure

Vladimir Putin and Narendra Modi: Russia has been hit by sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine while India has not performed as brightly as expected. Photograph: Ahmad Masood/Reuters

The closure of fund by Goldman Sachs is a sign fortunes could be changing

Alibaba founder Jack Ma: “Singles Day has shown the power of China’s consumers.” Photograph: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

The sales event created by Alibaba’s Jack Ma could become a global phemonenon

China’s president Xi Jinping: “Terrorism has become the most serious and pressing security challenge for us.” Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Xi wants end of West’s ‘double standards’ on China’s fight against terrorism in Xinjiang

China’s president Xi Jinping: his government has taken a hard line on human rights and dissent. Photograph: Joseph Nair/EPA

Forced confessions remain a key part of the criminal justice system, rights group says

Time of change: an Aung San Suu Kyi T-shirt is printed in Rangoon. Photograph: Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty

Test will be how the generals who run the country react to Aung San Suu Kyi’s victory

A  woman wearing a mask is reflected in a glass panel on a smoggy day in Beijing on Wednesday.  Beijing’s environmental protection bureau warned of poor air quality that could continue in the coming days. Photograph: How Hwee Young/EPA

Blamed for dire pollution, coal makes up two-thirds of China’s energy consumption

Alibaba founder and chairman Jack Ma and actor Daniel Craig pick some ‘Singles Day’ winners.

James Bond and Frank Underwood help sell the event, an invention of Jack Ma

Miss Canada Anastasia Lin. Photograph: Miss World Canada

Anastasia Lin alleges Beijing is delaying her visa for pageant for views on Falun Gong

Supporters of Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi celebrate as they look at the official election results outside the National League of Democracy headquarters in Rangoon. Photograph: Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images

No guarantees junta will hand over power despite landslide win for opposition

Jameson: one of the Irish whiskey companies taking part in the Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Fair

Hong Kong residents love their whiskey, offering opportunity for Irish distillers

Singapore: named the most successful economy in the world by the Legatum Prosperity Index. Photograph:   REUTERS/Edgar Su

Prosperity Index shows Norway wins in overall rankings,with Ireland 10th

Supporters of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) celebrate in Mandalay. Photograph: Hkun Lat/AP

Nobel laureate faces difficult task in balancing expectations following emphatic victory

Presidents    Ma Ying-jeou of Taiwan (left) and  Xi Jinping of China  in Singapore. Photograph: Edgar Su/Reuters

Talks in Singapore, the first between the states in seven decades, could signal new era

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