This week’s meeting in Beijing of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which will inaugurate a new slate of leaders, has not exactly brought a golden dawn of free expression. In addition to cracking down on all forms of media, China’s creatively paranoid security forces are on the lookout for threats such as taxi passengers carrying pingpong balls that they might slip through windows to deliver subversive messages.
North Koreans are increasingly able to access global media and other information, loosening the communist regime’s grip on their knowledge and potentially bringing far-reaching changes to the so-called hermit kingdom.
North Korea’s soccer team was reprimanded this month on its return to Pyongyang for losing all three of its World Cup matches and “betraying the trust” of Kim Jong Un, son of leader Kim Jong Il, Radio Free Asia said, citing unidentified people.
Twenty-three retired Chinese Communist Party officials, led by Mao Zedong ’s former secretary, challenged the government to improve press freedom days before meeting to discuss the nation’s new leadership.
Vietnam’s state-run media said an American diplomat created a "public disturbance" and punched a bystander in the face this week, escalating a diplomatic dispute after the U.S. protested his treatment.