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The Weekly Brief

Just a quick update in case you missed it.

Released on 19.01.2024

‘If I don’t have a dream, what on Earth is the point of living?’

New Malden in southwest London is one of the largest Korean enclaves in all of Europe. It has all the trappings of Koreatowns the world over: a high concentration of Korean restaurants, businesses tailored to Korean speakers, and even non-Korean “tourists” from other parts of the city, looking for something a little different. Ethnic enclaves like New Malden are full of immigrants who left their home country for one reason or another to try to make it in a new country.

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Prosecution Witness Says Jimmy Lai Encouraged Protests in Hong Kong

The first prosecution witness to testify in a landmark national security case against Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai said on Wednesday he had been instructed by Lai to call people to join protests in 2019 and draw the attention of Western democracies. The witness, Cheung Kim-hung, said Lai believed a proposed law that would allow people in Hong Kong to be sent to China to face trial in courts controlled by the Communist Party would be used to crackdown on the territory's democracy and freedoms.

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Hungary is becoming Europe’s electric vehicle hub – by courting Chinese carmakers

Chinese electric vehicle maker BYD’s investment in a major manufacturing base in Hungary has sparked concerns about a “China threat” at the heart of Europe. More likely, it marks a green tipping point for the European car market and a smart strategy by Hungary to become an EV hub. Europe has long produced the world’s most sought-after luxury cars, but has been slow to make the transition to EVs. Meanwhile, China has become the new powerhouse in the green transition in the automobile sector, just as it has led the world in the shift to renewable energy. Last year, BYD surpassed Tesla to become the world’s bestselling EV producer.

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US urges China to free Uyghur activist Ilham Tohti after 10 years in detention

The United States Government is calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Uyghur activist Ilham Tohti, who has been imprisoned for ten years for speaking out against the Chinese government’s treatment of ethnic minorities. The State Department has condemned China’s actions in the Xinjiang region, including genocide and crimes against humanity, and is urging for the release of Tohti and others who have been arbitrarily detained.

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Number of N. Korean defectors triples in 2023, Seoul says

The number of North Korean defectors making it to the South tripled last year to 196 after a run of pandemic-linked lows, Seoul said Thursday, with more elite diplomats and students seeking to escape. Tens of thousands of North Koreans have fled to South Korea since the peninsula was divided by war in the 1950s, with most going overland to neighbouring China first, then entering a third country such as Thailand before finally making it to the South. The number of successful escapes dropped significantly from 2020 after the North sealed its borders.

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North Korea is teaming up with China and Russia to violate human rights

Even as the US, ROK and Japan bolster cooperation, another trilateral alliance is conspiring to undermine global order.In the last couple of years, the U.S., South Korea and Japan have made great strides in pushing forward trilateral cooperation, and the summit between the countries’ leaders at Camp David last year reflected their shared commitment to democracy and freedom. In stark contrast, the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war has led to a very different kind of trilateral collaboration between China, Russia and North Korea, one based on the blatant violation of human rights.

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Omar Leads Push to Block Over $650 Million in Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia, UAE

Rare footage obtained by BBC Korean shows North Korea publicly sentencing two teenage boys to 12 years of hard labour for watching K-dramas. The footage, which appears to have been filmed in 2022, shows two 16-year-old boys handcuffed in front of hundreds of students at an outdoor stadium. It also shows uniformed officers reprimanding the boys for not "deeply reflecting on their mistakes". South Korean entertainment, including TV, is banned in the North.

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