China Shuts Down Beijing in Wake of Recent Attacks
As China gears up for its big economic meeting of Communist party officials this weekend, it's tightening security in the capital. There have been two security incidents in the country in as many weeks. Last week a car crashed into crowded Tiananmen Square, and this week authorities in China are investigating explosions near a communist party building in Shanxi province, west of Beijing. China's state news agency reports homemade bombs killed one person and injured eight others. Japan's public broadcaster NHK is also following the stories. Here are two reports.

BeijingReporter:
Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun has ordered officials to quash acts of terrorism in the planning stage. The Ministry's website said Guo inspected police boxes and subway stations in the capital on Monday. The website reported that Guo urges police officers increase their visibility so citizens will feel safer. Guo said China faces a tough fight against terrorism, he called for extra vigilance. Last week a sport utility vehicle veered into crowd of tourists then crashed, and burst into flames. The three passengers were killed along with two bystanders. Chinese authorities arrested five people in connection with the incident. All are believe to be the members of Uyghur ethnic minority group. The third plenary session of Communist Party central committee is due to start on Saturday.

Reporter:
Police are ordering bus operators to check the identification of passengers when they sell tickets for Beijing. The operators will also have to examine carry-on baggage more carefully.

Security officer:
Starting today you are required to show your ID to go Beijing.

Reporter:
The ruling communist party will open meeting in the city on Saturday to discuss economic policies and other issues. People from all over China are expected to come to the capital during the meeting to complain to the central government about corrupt local government officials. The security clamp down comes after explosions on Wednesday near a Communist Party building in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province. One person died and eight others were injured. The explosives were packed with nails and ball bearings. Reports say this indicates that the explosions were premeditated crime by someone with the grudge against the Party and the government.
 
 

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Chinese Tourists Flocking to Japan Despite Tense Relations

SenkakuRelations between Japan and China are more than a little rocky at the moment. What's getting all the attention is a territorial dispute over a group of tiny, uninhabited islands south of Okinawa. Both countries claim them. The dispute has hurt Japanese travel to China. But as Japan public broadcaster NHK reports, Chinese don't seem to be deterred from visiting Japan.

 

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Reporter:
The centuries old Forbidden City is a popular site in Beijing, but take a look around and you hardly see any Japanese visitors. Travel agency owner, Sun Bo, says it's been this way for almost a year.

Sun Bo:
It's so bad, business is down 80 to 90 percent. I'm making no money at all. My business is almost in the red.

Reporter:
Sun works with a major firm in Japan to bring Japanese groups to China. But as relations remain tense between the countries, fewer Japanese are choosing to come. On the other hand, Chinese businesses arranging tours to Japan have seen a rebound in business. In the past two months, Japan's embassy in Beijing has issued 10 percent more tourist visas compared to the same time last year.

Chinese Tourist:
Political relations between China and Japan are not so good. But that has no impact at the grassroots level.

Reporter:
And it's not just for holidays. Japan is still attracting many young Chinese wanting to stay for an extended time. Last month, Liu Muyan began a year of studies at this school in Nagano. It's part of an exchange program set up by the Japanese government several years ago to promote mutual understanding between the countries.

Liu Muyan:
I'm sure that I can become a bridge that links the people of Japan and China.

Japanese Student:
I was expecting him to be anti-Japanese, but he is seeker to learn all he can about Japan. And his Japanese is good. This experience taught me not to be misled what other say.

Reporter:
This expert says people like Liu are exactly what Japan and China need.

Satoshi Amako: The scale of misunderstanding may grow time goes by, but exchanges are taking place between people from the two countries on a daily bases. Those people deserve our attention. I think they should have more prominence.

Reporter:
So while the governments of Japan and China continue to seek ways to mend ties, some regular people are already forging ahead. Improving relations and understanding to strengthen ties.

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Pakistan is reeling from a horrific suicide bombing. More than 80 people were killed and more than a hundred others were injured after an Episcopalian church was attacked. Here's Japan's public broadcaster NHK.

 

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Reporter:
Two suicide bombers blew themselves up among hundreds of worshippers in a church in Peshawar. Sectarian violence between majority Sunni and minority Shi'a groups has been rampant. But attacks against Christians have been rare in the predominant Muslim country. A local Islamic extremist group has claimed responsibility. They said all non-Muslim groups are targets and the attack was to retaliate against US drone strikes in Pakistan. Christians called for an end to the violence. They protested across the country including the capital, Islamabad, and in Karachi in the south.

 
 

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China's Wheelchair Bomber Shines Light on Injustice, Disability Rights

 
 

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State-Owned Bank of China Cuts All Ties with North Korea
DPRK TradeIn the latest evidence of deteriorating relations between China and North Korea, the state-owned Bank of China has stopped dealing with North Korea's Foreign Exchange Bank. This is in accordance with US financial sanctions imposed last March. The US will not deal with any financial institution that does business with North Korea. On this past week's episode of LinkAsia, we aired a piece from Japan's public broadcaster, NHK, who covered the story on May 7.

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Reporter:
Reuters News Agency says the state-owned Chinese bank notified North Korea's foreign trade bank that it was stopping all transactions. US officials hit the North Korean bank with sanctions in March banning any exchanges with US firms or individuals. They accused the bank of helping to finance Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program. Officials at Bank of China gave no reason why they were closing the North Korean account, and state run media have not reported on the story.
 
 

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Bird Flu Strikes China, Japanese Media Investigates
(LinkAsia: April 5, 2013)
Thuy Vu:
While much of Asia is looking anxiously at the two Koreas, China, Pyongyang's only friend, seems more worried about what's going on at home. There's been an outbreak of a new strain of bird flu in eastern China. Although the number of infections is still small, public health officials in China are on high alert, and the US-based Centers for Disease Control are trying to find a vaccine. Here's Japan's public broadcaster, NHK.

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NHK World NEWSLINE
Airdate: April 5, 2013

Reporter:
The latest bird flu infections emerged in Shanghai. Two men who died from the virus in the city developed fevers, coughs and other symptoms in February. In March, a woman in Anhui province came down with the flu. Four more cases were also confirmed in Jiangsu province. Two more cases were confirmed in Zhejiang province this week. Officials say one of the patients has died. Another five cases were announced on Thursday in Shanghai and Zhejiang. Three deaths have been confirmed. The 44-year-old woman infected in Anhui province worked on processing birds for human consumption.The manager of the market where she works said health officials visited the market, disinfected, and tested workers blood.

Market Manager:
She was very healthy. I don't know much about what has happened to her.

Reporter:
One of the victims in Shanghai reportedly sold pork. But local health officials say they are still investigating the infection route.

Xu Jianguang:
We've asked health institutions to file daily reports on patients who've developed pneumonia of unknown origin.

Reporter:
Following the recent infection, the government ordered health officials across the country to check patients who've developed pneumonia from unknown origins. It also ordered swift and accurate information disclosure. A doctor specializing in infectious diseases said that the central government should show responsibility and take prompt measures.

Jiang Suchun:
It has been expanding to several provinces. We should watch closely how the situation develops. The infection is expected to expand further. The important thing is we make use of our past experience in our assessment of the situation. We should provide doctors with the information we have. In addition, it's vital that we educate chicken farmers and other people on how to deal with birds. And how to prevent infection.

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Thuy Vu:
In Japan, a housing story of another kind. Authorities have eased restrictions on people visiting a town near the stricken Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant. Here's NHK.

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NHK World NEWSLINE
Airdate: April 1, 2013

Reporter:
All 21,000 former residents of Namie are still unable to live within the town limits. More than two years have passed since a massive earthquake and tsunami set off a crisis at the nuclear plant. People who have homes in low radiation zones are now allowed to visit them during daylight hours. More than 80 percent of the former residents will be able to take advantage of the new rules. Michio Tanaka and his wife now live in another city in Fukushima prefecture. They spent their Monday visit cleaning their home.

Michio Tanaka:
I hope the government will speed up its efforts so all of us can live in the town together again.

Reporter:
Town officials say they hope to complete decontamination work, restore infrastructure, and make some parts of the town habitable within four years.
 
 

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Japanese Ambassador's Car Attacked in Beijing
(LinkAsia: August 31, 2012)
Yul Kwon:
Staying in Beijing, a diplomatic incident between Asia's top two powers. A few days ago, the Chinese capital was the scene of a minor attack involving Japan's Ambassador to China. This came after weeks of rising tensions over territorial disputes in the East China Sea. There've been anti-Japanese demonstrations all over China, and anti-Chinese demonstrations in Tokyo. But both governments are trying to calm things down. Japanese broadcaster NHK has this story.

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NHK World NEWSLINE
Airdate: August 27, 2012

Reporter:
Two vehicles forced the ambassador's car to a stop on Monday evening. A man ripped the Japanese flag from the hood of the car, then fled. An embassy worker took photos. The embassy gave them to the Beijing Public Security Bureau. Japanese officials demanded that police investigate and arrest those responsible. Security Bureau officials responded by saying they'll work with other departments to look into the incident. Chinese officials say they regret what occurred, and they say they won't let it happen again.

Ambassador Uichiro Niwa made his first public comments since the incident. He said it's important to ensure the safety of Japanese nationals and those working for Japanese firms in China.

Man on the Street 1:
I support what happened, because it was a passionate, patriotic act aimed at protecting China's national interests.

Woman on the Street 1:
I can't agree with such an action. The act wasn't rational. I think they should think about how they would feel if the same thing happened to a Chinese ambassador.

Yul Kwon:
Chinese police say they have some suspects in custody and may charge them with damaging property.
 
 

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Gu Kailai Sentencing: Contrasting CCTV and Sina Weibo

 
 

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