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Michelle Obama backs free speech on China visit

Michelle Obama has told students in China that freedom of speech and unfettered access to information make countries stronger and should be universal rights.

The US First Lady was speaking at Peking University in Beijing during a trip aimed at promoting educational exchanges between the US and China, which has some of the world's tightest restrictions on the internet.

US First Lady Michelle Obama speaking at Peking University in Beijing.
US First Lady Michelle Obama speaking at Peking University in Beijing. Credit: RTV

Mrs Obama said the free flow of information is crucial "because that's how we discover truth, that's how we learn what's really happening in our communities, our country and our world".

She said it makes countries stronger "when the voices and opinions of all their citizens can be heard."

China blocks many foreign news services and social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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Michelle Obama arrives in China for official visit

Michelle Obama has arrived in China for an official visit with her two daughters for a week-long visit to three Chinese cities.

Accompanied by China's First Lady Madam Peng, she visited a school in Beijing and observed a lesson in robotics.

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The First Lady & Madam Peng stop by a robotics class at a high school in Beijing. #PowerOfEducation #FLOTUSinChina http://t.co/M2N4KawkHV

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Chinese internet giant Alibaba to start US IPO

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd says it has decided to begin the process for an initial public offering (IPO) in the United States, ending months of speculation about where the Chinese e-commerce giant would go public.

Read more: PM meets owner of China's version of Amazon

Chinese internet giant Alibaba to start US IPO.
Chinese internet giant Alibaba to start US IPO. Credit: Reuters

Alibaba's planned US listing is the most anticipated IPO since Facebook Inc raised $16 billion in 2012. Alibaba's decision to go to the United States is a blow to the Hong Kong stock exchange, which was initially the company's preferred venue for the IPO.

Alibaba controls about 80% of China's e-commerce.

Person shot dead by police in China knife attack

Police shot dead one person in a knife attack in China's Hunan province today, state media

said, after a dispute between two vendors from the restive far western region of Xinjiang.

Read: 'At least three dead' in China knife attack involving bread vendor

The Changsha Evening News, in the central city of Changsha where the incident occurred, reported the details on its Twitter-like microblog Sina Weibo.

Read: Knife attack in China: 'Bodies seen outside school'

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Knife attack in China: 'Bodies seen outside school'

Knife-wielding assailants attacked civilians on a street outside a school in the central Chinese city of Changsha this morning, according to state news agency Xinhua.

Xinhua said its reporters saw at least one body lying on the ground at the scene and photos on microblogs showed at least four bodies on a street outside a school and police taking a suspect into custody. The authenticity of the photos could not be immediately confirmed.

Read: 'Knife-wielding attackers target civilians' in China

A general view of Changsha, Hunan, China Credit: Reuters

Xinhua did not make clear who was responsible for the attack in the city, capital of Hunan province.

The incident happened just two weeks after a deadly stabbing attack at a Chinese train station in the southwestern city of Kunming which killed 29 people and injured about 140.

China pledges to continue search for missing plane

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said as long as there remains a "glimmer of hope" China will not stop the search for the missing Malaysian Airlines jet.

China's Premier Li Keqiang during a news conference today. Credit: Reuters

"This is an international and large-scale search operation involving many countries," he said. "The Chinese government has asked the relevant party to enhance coordination, investigate the cause, locate the missing plane as quickly as possible and properly handle all related matters."

Read: Vietnam jet 'finds no wreckage' at China satellite site

It is the sixth day of the search for the flight, which went missing flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and China has dispatched multiple aircraft, ships and satellite in the multinational search mission.

Chinese teachers flown in to improve maths in England

Chinese maths teachers are to be flown to England in a bid to boost the country's standards in the subject.

Up to 60 English-speaking teachers from cities such as Shanghai will be taking part in a new exchange programme Credit: PA

Up to 60 English-speaking teachers will take part in a new exchange programme that will also see English maths teachers working in schools in China, the Department for Education said.

Ministers have previously said that England can learn from Asian nations which have topped international league tables in key subjects.

Recent international tests put Shanghai, along with a number of other Asian nations, at the top for maths skills.

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