Student protesters boycott classes and occupy the campus of the Chinese University of Hong Kong on Sept. 22. (Mitsusada Enyo)
Hong Kong protesters to hold referendum on government proposal
HONG KONG--Organizers of student-led demonstrations demanding democratic reform in Hong Kong said they will hold a civil referendum Oct. 26 to decide whether to accept the government’s proposal to end the protests, now in their fourth week.
Hong Kong police use tear gas to disperse pro-democracy protesters on Oct. 17. (Ryosuke Ishibashi)
U.N. rights watchdog calls for open elections in Hong Kong
GENEVA--The United Nations Human Rights Committee called Oct. 23 on China to ensure universal suffrage in Hong Kong, stressing that included the right to stand for election as well as the right to vote.
Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, attends the National People's Congress in Beijing in March. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
China unveils steps to improve judiciary
BEIJING--China's ruling Communist Party announced steps Oct. 23 to improve judicial independence and check political interference in the courts to boost legal justice and alleviate social tensions. Yet, observers say it has failed to produce meaningful legal checks on the ruling party itself.
Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei in Beijing (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Three major nations absent as China launches World Bank rival in Asia
SHANGHAI--Australia, Indonesia and South Korea skipped the launch of a China-backed Asian infrastructure bank on Oct. 24 as the United States said it had concerns about the new rival to Western-dominated multilateral lenders.
Chinese Finance Minister Lou Jiwei in Beijing (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Beijing to host headquarters of China-led global bank
SINGAPORE--Investor countries in the planned Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) have agreed to set up its headquarters in Beijing, according to sources involved in negotiations.
Hong Kong government officials, from right, the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau Undersecretary Lau Kong-wah, Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Secretary Raymond Tam, Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam, Justice Secretary Rimsky Yuen and Chief Executive's Office Director Edward Yau Tang-wah, sit opposite to the student leaders from the Hong Kong Federation of Students, from fifth left to far left, General Secretary Eason Chung, Deputy Secretary-General Lester Shum, Secretary-General Alex Chow, Council Members Nathan Law and Yvonne Leung during a photo call before their talks in Hong Kong on Oct. 21. (AP Photo)
Hong Kong students, officials talk but remain far apart on demand for greater election say
HONG KONG--Student leaders and government officials in Hong Kong held talks on Oct. 21 to end pro-democracy protests now in their fourth week even as the city's Beijing-backed leader reaffirmed his unwillingness to compromise on the activists' key demand.
A construction site of a large condominium complex in Hubei province (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
China's economic growth slows to 7.3 percent in Q3, near 6-year low
BEIJING--China's economic growth cooled to 7.3 percent between July and September from a year earlier, the weakest expansion since the global financial crisis and reinforcing expectations that Beijing will need to roll out more stimulus to avert a sharper slowdown.
Protesters protect themselves with gear made from plastic bottles at a barricade in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong on Oct. 20. (AP Photo)
Hong Kong leader says 'external forces' involved in pro-democracy uprising
HONG KONG--The top official here has claimed that "external forces" are participating in student-led pro-democracy protests that have occupied parts of this financial capital for more than three weeks, but provided no evidence to back his accusation.
Tensions rise between police and pro-democracy activists at a crossing in Hong Kong on Oct. 18. (Ryosuke Ishibashi/ The Asahi Shimbun)
Hong Kong street clashes erupt despite imminent talks
HONG KONG--Violent clashes erupted in Hong Kong early on Oct. 19 for a second night, deepening a sense of impasse between a government with limited options and a pro-democracy movement increasingly willing to confront police.
A cartoon by Wang Liming that satirizes an order from Chinese authorities to display portraits of central leaders in Tibetan Buddhist temples (From Twitter)
Political cartoonist fearful of returning to China asks Japan for visa extension
BEIJING--A popular Chinese political cartoonist has asked the Japanese government to extend his visa after authorities in China abruptly closed his social media accounts, sparking fears for his safety.
A pro-democracy protester is arrested by riot police after police moved in the area occupied  by the pro-democracy protesters in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong on Oct. 17. (AP photo)
Hong Kong police clear protesters, barricades at key site
HONG KONG--Hundreds of Hong Kong police staged their biggest and boldest raid yet on a pro-democracy protest camp before dawn Oct. 17, charging down student-led activists who have held a key intersection in one of the main protest zones for more than three weeks.
In this photo taken Sept. 20, 2014, Chinese artist Li Dapeng talks to reporters in front of one of his works depicting a typical Chinese scene featuring figures with grotesque pig heads at his studio in the Songzhuang art district in eastern Beijing. (AP Photo)
Chinese art colony's free-speech illusion shatters
BEIJING--Just a few weeks ago, oil painters in eastern Beijing's Songzhuang art district had welcomed foreign reporters into their studios and shown off works tackling such touchy subjects as China's prisons and Communist Party politics. Over lunch, they candidly lamented the state of free speech in China while chewing on chicken and downing glasses of beer.
A Japan Coast Guard vessel, top, cracks down on coral poaching by Chinese fishermen off the coast of the Ogasawara chain's Chichijima island on Oct. 5. (Provided by Yokohama Coast Guard Office)
Coast Guard to ramp up surveillance of Chinese coral poachers near Ogasawaras
The Japan Coast Guard is dispatching a large patrol vessel to Tokyo's remote Ogasawara island chain to deter Chinese fishermen from poaching lucrative red coral.
Chinese Ambassador to Japan Cheng Yonghua (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Chinese ambassador says Beijing pleased with Abe’s efforts to improve ties
China's ambassador to Japan said Oct. 15 that Beijing is taking a positive view of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s efforts to mend the strained bilateral relations between the two nations.
Hundreds of people converge outside a police station after a clash between protesters and police near an occupied area in Hong Kong on Oct. 15. (Mitsusada Enyo/ The Asahi Shimbun)
Hong Kong police use pepper spray on protesters, anger simmers over beating
HONG KONG--Hong Kong police used pepper spray on Oct. 16 to stop pro-democracy protesters from blocking a major road near the office of the city's embattled leader amid public anger over the police beating of a protester a day earlier.
Demonstrators block the underpass with concrete slabs taken from drainage ditches at the main roads outside government headquarters in Hong Kong's Admiralty on Oct. 15, 2014. (AP Photo)
Hong Kong tycoon calls for protests to end after tension over police beating
HONG KONG--Hong Kong's most prominent tycoon, Li Ka-shing, on Oct. 15 urged protesters who have occupied parts of the city since late last month to go home, after police mounted their toughest action against the democracy activists in more than a week.
Ichiro Aisawa, chairman of the Lower House Committee on Rules and Administration (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
Japanese, Chinese parliamentary exchanges set to resume
BEIJING--Parliamentarians from Japan and China agreed Oct. 13 to resume exchange programs for the first time in two years as part of efforts to mend soured diplomatic relations.
Police officers on Oct. 14 remove bamboo barriers set up by protesters to block off main roads in the central business district in Hong Kong. (AP Photo)
Traffic flows back into HK business district after police remove protest barriers
HONG KONG--Police reopened one of the city's main thoroughfares to traffic on Oct. 14 after clearing barricades erected by democracy protesters who have occupied streets in the heart of the Chinese-ruled city for two weeks.
Pro-democracy protesters gather at a main road while police officers remove some barricades used by protesters who have been occupying main roads in the Asian financial center for more than two weeks in Hong Kong on Oct. 13. (AP Photo)
Scuffles break out in Hong Kong as anti-protest groups tear down barricades
HONG KONG--Hundreds of unidentified people, some wearing masks, tore down protest barriers in the heart of Hong Kong's business district on Oct. 13, scuffling with protesters who have occupied the streets for the past two weeks.
Protesters set up tents in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong on Oct. 12. (Kim Soonhi/ The Asahi Shimbun)
Hong Kong's leader warns protesters as tent city sprouts up
HONG KONG--Hong Kong's embattled leader, Leung Chun-ying, vowed on Oct. 12 to stay in office, warning students demanding his resignation that their pro-democracy movement was out of control.

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