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Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

Asiaweek Time Asia Now Asiaweek story

OCTOBER 1, 1999 VOL. 25 NO. 39

Accusations fly in Hong Kong's media wars
Friends Turned Foes
Never Too Early

Paper Wars
A new battle is raging between Hong Kong's two biggest media groups. On one side, Jimmy Lai Chee-ying's Next Media International Holdings; on the other, archrival Oriental Press Group, in whose publications tycoon Li Ka-shing's companies are heavy advertisers. Lai's Apple Daily, a primary platform for the Democratic Party, regularly takes on the Li family - and the Hong Kong government. Now Apple may be paying the price, in the form of ad withdrawals and boycotts by top local companies. Meanwhile, Oriental's simmering antagonism toward the Democrats has boiled over into regular allegations of nepotism and extra-marital shenanigans - some raw material for which is said to be provided by younger, more radical members of the increasingly divided party. Lai, who plays well to the international media, may be fighting back; his people have been talking to journalists about Apple's ad losses. Other sources say associates of Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa may have had a role. The battle extends beyond the papers, though. Lai's new direct marketing venture, adMart, goes head to head with Li enterprises such as Park 'n Shop supermarket chain and electrical appliances retailer Fortress.  

Friends Turned Foes
Mud is flying in the family feud between Taiwan's ruling Kuomintang and wayward son James Soong Chu-yu. The party was expected to disown him on September 22, but got sidetracked by the massive earthquake (see THENATIONS, page 19). The KMT turned its back on the former governor of Taiwan province when he declared himself an independent candidate for next March's presidential election. Top officials - including President Lee Teng-hui - say they recently discovered he misused public funds while in office to curry favor with voters. Soong denies the allegations. He even took to the airwaves with charts and figures explaining the provincial government's spending. The popular maverick doesn't seem to need his old boss's approval anyway. His hands-on governing style won him grassroots popularity and he now regularly leads in the polls with about 30% of voter support  

Never Too Early
Thailand's next general election could be as much as 12 months away, but politicians are already gearing up. Finance Minister Tarrin Nimmanhaeminda and Commerce Minister Supachai Panitchpakdi surprised observers last week by appearing at a Democrat Party rally together. They are apparently more concerned about their party's re-election chances than their marked policy differences. And well they should be. In Bangkok, the new Thai Rak Thai party, headed by telecom billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra, is benefiting from growing unease over the Democrats' erratic economic performance. The northeast could prove tough too. The New Aspiration Party of former Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh and Korn Dabbaransi's Chart Pattana Party dominate there. The Democrats are also fighting the Thai tendency to get bored with incumbents. Expect the politicking to take its toll on the running of the country. Tarrin's reform efforts are losing steam and he seems to be papering over a bad debt situation at the state-owned Krung Thai Bank. The fallout from that controversy could hit the government's reputation.

This edition's table of contents | Asiaweek home



U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

Thai party announces first coalition partner


COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state


COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness

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