RFA in the News (April 2009)

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April 29 “Fifth of North Korean defectors want to go to US: poll”

Despite relentless anti-US propaganda in North Korea, nearly one-fifth of defectors aspire to move to the United States, a survey said Wednesday.

“It is a very surprising result that despite lifelong, unrelenting exposure to anti-US propaganda, young people want to come to Disneyland,” said economist Marcus Noland.

He said the findings showed that foreign media such as US government-backed Radio Free Asia were gradually penetrating North Korea.


April 24 “Concern that detained Tibetan journalist is being tortured”

Reporters Without Borders is concerned about the physical safety of journalists and website editors who have been arrested in the past few months in Tibet and neighbouring Tibetan regions.

According to a researcher at India’s Norbu Lingka Institute, Chinese officials threatened reprisals against residents who continue to listen to international radio stations or visit websites such as the Radio Free Asia one.


April 24 “Bosworth Will Tour Nuke-talk Partners”

U.S. special envoy on North Korea Stephen Bosworth will tour countries participating in the six-way nuclear talks in a near future.

Radio Free Asia quoted a senior U.S. State Department official as saying that Bosworth will head to those countries when the U.S. government decides that the timing is appropriate.


April 23 “Child slaves still working in China’s brick kilns”
“Guo Jiyong, the son of Zhang Aihua,” travelled “to Zhengzhou to sell snacks, and to deliver lunchboxes to construction sites. He was stuffed into a sack by three men, thrown into the back of a truck, and taken off to the brick kilns to be sold,” Wang Changyi told Radio Free Asia.


April 22 “The Khmer Rouge trial is inadequate”

… With the objective to put the accused before the victims or their families and the media for each to explain his or her actions, and the ultimate goal to "achieve justice, promote peacebuilding, encourage reconciliation, and begin healing," as Radio Free Asia Web site says, the U.N.-backed Khmer Rouge Tribunal ought to help put a much-needed end to Cambodia's dark history and unleash a "national reconciliation" process.


April 17 “Uyghur man sentenced to 10 years for talking to friends about protest”
On 28 February 2008 the People’s Intermediate Court in Turpan sentenced Ekberjan Jamal, 24 and a member of the region's mostly Muslim Uyghur minority, to ten years in prison for alleged separatism and leaking state secrets.

Radio Free Asia’s Uyghur service received the tape of the phone conversation and used it in its broadcast.


April 16 “USA allocates $1 million for Tibet Consulate at US embassy in China”

The United States of America has allocated $1,000,000 US dollars for a Tibet section of its Embassy in Beijing.

Radio Free Asia and Voice of America Tibetan language broadcasts into Tibet, the main media source of information not controlled by the Chinese government.


April 16 “U.S. positively reviewing scientists' visit to N. Korea: report

The U.S. government is positively considering approving a North Korea visit by a group of American scientists following Pyongyang's invitation to discuss ways of boosting academic exchanges, a report said Thursday.

North Korea had sent its scientists and technicians to Syracuse University in New York for joint research projects since 2001, but the program was suspended after the last such visit in 2005, said Radio Free Asia, a Washington-based station.


April 8 “Dissident seeks residence”

During Khmer Krom activist Tim Sakhorn's temporary visit to Cambodia, rights groups say they will lobby the government and UN in a bid to head off his return to Vietnam next week.

Despite being allowed to return to Cambodia after nearly two years of detention in Vietnam, former Buddhist monk Tim Sakhorn faces an uphill battle to extend his stay beyond the Khmer New Year

… But in a Monday interview with Radio Free Asia, Tim Sakhorn said that he had been "forced" to live in Vietnam and said he wanted to return home to Cambodia.


April 7 “Cyber-skirmish at the top of the world”
For the past decade or more, China has been engaged in a game of whack-a-mole to control the burgeoning channels of digital communication between Tibetan dissidents inside Tibet and in the Tibetan diaspora.

…Tibetan radio broadcasts by Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Asia (RFA) and Voice of Tibet were jammed. A campaign against satellite dishes was intensified to limit the audience of VOA's direct-to-dish Tibet TV service. In order to cut off cell-phone based talk, text, and images, China reportedly limited service and tore down cell phone towers.


April 3 “A professor’s comments on mental illness draw ire in China”

China’s petitioners face obstacles and abuse in their often quixotic quests for justice. Hounded by bounty hunters from home, they can end up in detention centers and mental hospitals, offered release only if they promise to stop petitioning.

… Petitioner groups have been up in arms about Sun’s comments too. On Wednesday, around 40 petitioners who live in Beijing went to Peking University to air their grievances with Sun, but they were turned away by campus security, according to Radio Free Asia, the U.S.-funded news service. Another group of petitioners in Shanghai are preparing to file a defamation suit against Sun, RFA said.


April 2 “Roads? Where we’re going we do need roads”

I'd read a little last year about Chinese-Cambodian relations: The China Beat wrote about the historical context, and Radio Free Asia neatly summarised some of the contemporary problems brought on by this influx of money.

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