Regional updates: Asia

What were the main digital policy regional updates in Asia? This space brings you the main updates month by month, summarised by the observatory's curators.

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January 2020

Curated by Amrita Choudhury

Japanese education institution charged for misappropriating funds to invest in cryptocurrency

19 Jan 2020 |  Cryptocurrencies, Blockchain

The Japanese educational institute Meijo Gakuin Educational Corporation is filing a criminal complaint against the company’s former chairwoman and other associates on suspicions that funds for the Osaka University of Tourism have been misappropriated to invest in cryptocurrency. The corporation had been issued a subsidy in 2018 from Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology to be used by institutions of higher education for current expenditures, totalling approximately ¥ 130 million. The Ministry has requested an explanation of the status of subsidy funds.

Singapore opposition challenges fake news law in court

17 Jan 2020 |  Content policy, Freedom of expression

For the first time, Singapore's fake news law, the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA), has been challenged in court by the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP). The government had ordered  ordered the SDP to issue a correction notice on a Facebook post related to the displacement of white-collar workers, deeming the post fake news. The SDP insist that the post is not fake news.

China starts a programme to boost efficiency of Internet courts

16 Jan 2020 |  Jurisdiction

China's Supreme People's Court introduced a pilot programme allowing selected courts to raise their efficiency without changes to the current civil procedure law. This programme allows Internet courts to expand the scope of mediation agreements eligible for judicial confirmation, raise the threshold for small claims cases, apply the summary procedure and the sole-judge system to more cases, as well as improve the rules for online trials.

US and China sign Phase One trade deal

15 Jan 2020 |  E-commerce and trade

The United States and China signed the Phase One US-China trade deal which is expected to help de-escalate the ongoing trade war between the two countries. The agreement covers several areas, including intellectual property, technology transfer, trade in food and agriculture products, financial services, macroeconomic policies and currency, expanding trade, and dispute resolution. However, critics claim that the agreement fails to address ‘structural problems in the bilateral trade relationship’, ignores some of the trickiest aspects of the US-China trade disputes, such as subsidies for China’s state-owned enterprises, and could mean that the world is a step closer to a G2 global order.

Indian high court rules indefinite suspension of Internet services illegal

10 Jan 2020 |  Access

The Supreme Court in India has pronounced that the indefinite Internet restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir are against the Indian constitution. The court has given the government a week to review the shut-downs. The court based its decision on the interpretation of Article 19 (1) of the Indian constitution, stating that ‘Freedom of expression and carrying on trade through Internet is protected under Article 19 (1) of the constitution and can be restricted only under the reasons given in Article 19 (2) of the constitution.’ The court also ruled that repeated orders by the government to shut-down the Internet are abuse of power.

RBA doubts need for cryptocurrencies in Australia

9 Jan 2020 |  Cryptocurrencies

In their submission to the Select Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), has expressed doubts whether cryptocurrencies in their current form – such as Libra and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) – will become viable solutions in Australia, or replace government issued money. The RBA added that since Australia is served by a range of low-cost and efficient real-time payment methods, the demand for cryptocurrencies does not seem likely.

Proposal to institutionalise cryptocurrency in South Korea

9 Jan 2020 |  Cryptocurrencies

With an aim to institutionalise cryptocurrency, the South Korean Presidential Committee on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (PCFIR), a committee focused on co-ordinating regulatory policy around technology in South Korea, suggested that the government  allow financial institutions to launch cryptocurrency-related products, such as Bitcoins. The committee also recommended developing and implementing a Korean custody solution for handling crypto-assets.

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