RFA in the News (April 2012)

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April 30 “China has not stopped repatriating NK defectors: report”

Radio Free Asia, a private U.S. nonprofit radio operator, has denied recent media reports saying China has stopped sending North Korean escapees back to their impoverished country.

The broadcaster on Saturday quoted U.S. congressional sources as saying U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres told congressional officials that a recent report by the Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun claiming that China has suspended repatriation of the defectors was untrue.


April 27 “Many injured, detained in crackdown on massive protest in Dege County, Tibet”

Anywhere from three to four thousands Tibetans led by monks staged a demonstration Apr 25 in front of the Zogchen Township government and police offices in Dege County of Karze Prefecture, Sichuan Province, demanding an end to an ongoing crackdown on the local Zogchen Monastery and release of nine Tibetans detained in connection with it, reported RFA.org (Radio Free Asia, Washington) Apr 25.


April 25 “Australia: Urge Human Rights Improvements in Vietnam”

Australia should urge Vietnam to release all political prisoners and to end restrictions on the freedoms of expression, association, peaceful assembly, belief, and religion when the two sides meet for their annual bilateral human rights dialogue in Hanoi on April 26-27, 2012, Human Rights Watch said today in a 16-page memo submitted to Australia. … Activists who write pro-democracy articles and anti-government commentaries and give interviews with foreign-based radio stations such as Radio Free Asia (RFA), Voice of America (VOA), and British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) are often held for "conducting propaganda against the state."


April 24 “Blackboard slogan provokes Chinese re-education ire across Tibet’s Markham County”

The Chinese authorities have cracked down massively across Markham (Chinese: Mangkang) County in Chamdo Prefecture of Tibet Autonomous Region after a middle school girl wrote “Long Live Dalai Lama” on blackboard, reported RFA.org (Radio Free Asia, Washington) Apr 22, citing local residents.


April 23 “NLD puts off Parliament debut”

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and others from her party who were elected legislators will not make their debut in the Burmese Parliament on Monday following the failure to resolve a dispute with the authorities over an oath they should take, party officials said. “So we are not going to Naypyidaw [the capital]. We have explained that we are not able to attend tomorrow’s parliamentary session as planned before,” Ohn Kyaing, a newly elected MP from Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD), told Radio Free Asia on Sunday.


April 20 “Tibetan school shut down, teachers held, Chinese education ordered”

The Chinese authorities in Karze County of Sichuan Province have shut down a school set up by the local Tibetans to teach their children their own culture, detained two of its teachers and ordered the children to be sent to government schools where only Chinese education is provide, with Tibetan being taught only as a subsidiary language subject, reported RFA.org (Radio Free Asia, Washington) Apr 18. The school was set up in 1987 in Rongpatsa Khadrok Town with a single classroom and expanded in 2005 but ordered shut down on Apr 2, 2012.


April 19 “Myanmar oath standoff puts Suu Kyi's MP debut in doubt”

Aung San Suu Kyi's planned debut in Myanmar's parliament next week could be shelved amid a standoff between her party and the government over one word used in the swearing-in oath for new lawmakers. … Earlier on Thursday, Suu Kyi played down the standoff, expecting the government, for the good of democracy, to bow to her party's demands. "We don't mean we will not attend the parliament, we mean we will attend only after taking the oath," she said, speaking in Burmese, during her weekly address on Radio Free Asia.


April 17 “Reading the ruler and other signs from North Korea

Last week's unabashed failure of North Korea's Taepodong-2 rocket launch didn't last long enough to teach technical experts much if anything about the communist regime's engineering capabilities. … The United States does have a Korean language version of Radio Free Asia that it uses to try to get accurate information inside the nation, but that's not very effective when the electricity for most citizens works only two hours a day.


April 12 “Suu Kyi party may not take seats if lawmakers’ oath with ‘undemocratic’ aspects not changed”

Aung San Suu Kyi’s party raised the prospect of a major hitch in Myanmar’s political reforms Thursday, saying it may not take the seats it won in Parliament because the lawmakers’ oath of office has unacceptable wording. … Win Tin, a senior NLD member, told U.S.-funded Radio Free Asia that Suu Kyi had discussed the matter with Thein Sein when they met Wednesday. It wasn’t clear what step she would take regarding the oath.


April 11 “Three well-known local Tibetans still in detention”

Three Tibetans, who were detained in February by Chinese authorities in Nagchu prefecture in the Tibet Autonomous Region, are believed to still be in custody, according to a report by Radio Free Asia on Tuesday. The three detained Tibetans are well known locally. They include Ugyen Tenzin a traditional Tibetan medical doctor, who has treated local patients for more than 30 years.


April 10 “China pressures Japan on Uighur Muslims

China has piled pressures on Japan to prevent a conference by an exiled group championing the rights of Uighur Muslims, who are the subject of repressive policies by Beijing. … But Uighur leaders ruled out Japan would bow to Chinese pressures to prevent the conference. “I believe the Japanese government will not accept an interruption to the general assembly,” said WUC General Secretary Dolkun Isa, Radio Free Asia reported.


April 10 “TV Production on a radio dime

Radio Free Asia found that a relatively small amount of money can be applied creatively to develop a quality video product. Now it has an impressive studio space and a multi-disciplined staff that can create Web content for www.rfa.org. Gordon Burnett, production engineer III, and AJ Janitschek, director of program and operations support, have been working on bringing video services to RFA in Washington since their purchase of a Canon GL1 DV mini camcorder in 2000.


April 9 “Forest fire raging across four counties in Tibet”

A forest fire which started in one county in eastern Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) on Mar 10 but was largely ignored by the authorities has now engulfed four counties and shows no sign of responding to massive efforts contain or stop it. China’s official media has so far not reported on the massive catastrophe which RFA.org (Radio Free Asia, Washington) Apr 6 said started at the Chakson Tan village in Lungra township of Markham (Chinese: Mangkang) county is now raging across the neighbouring counties of Chamdo, Gojo and Dragyab in Chamdo Prefecture.


April 9 “Chinese activist disabled by prison abuse sentenced again”

A Chinese lawyer and activist who battled on behalf of residents who were losing their homes to construction for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games was sentenced to 2 years and 8 months in prison by a Beijing court on Tuesday, reportedly on charges of fraud and causing a disturbance, Reuters reported. … Upon sentencing Chen, 42, stood up in court and shouted: "Democracy and constitutional government will triumph! The dictatorship with fall!" Radio Free Asia reported.


April 7 “China said to detain returning Tibetan pilgrims”

Hundreds of Tibetans who attended an important Buddhist ceremony in January in India have been detained without charge by Chinese security officers on their return to Tibet, according to family members and friends living in exile in India, international human rights groups and officials with the Tibetan exile government. … On Tuesday, Radio Free Asia, which is financed by the United States government, reported that a large number of the detainees being held in Lhasa had been released that day, while at least 200 others being held in Lhoka, outside Lhasa, were still in custody.


April 5, 2012

Karma Dorjee, Radio Free Asia Tibetan’s deputy director was interviewed about events happening in China’s Tibetan regions and the coverage.


April 5 “Ethnic Mongolians stage land protests in China”

Ethnic Mongolians protested the arrest of 22 people following clashes with police over land rights in northern China's Inner Mongolia region, reports said on Thursday. … US-based Radio Free Asia quoted Li Yushan, a local official from the ruling Communist Party, as saying the protesters had refused a government offer to negotiate over the land rights.


April 4 “S. China Sea issue threatens ASEAN unity”

Exactly a decade ago, Cambodia played a key role in convincing ASEAN countries and China to sign the historic Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) on Nov. 4, 2002 in Phnom Penh. … “The problems must be solved through peaceful negotiations based on international law, the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and the DOC, and should go forward to the COC ,” Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh told the Radio Free Asia on Monday in Phnom Penh.


April 3 “Election Fraud Will Be Punished: EC”

Burma’s Union Election Commission (EC) has vowed to investigate and prosecute any instances of fraud uncovered during Sunday’s seminal by-elections. … EC Director-General Win Ko told Radio Free Asia’s Burmese service that anyone found guilty of fraud would face the punishment of a year in prison provided proper evidence was uncovered.


April 2 “N.Korea Sells Off Resources to Pay for Celebrations”

North Korea earned at least US$1.8 billion from exports of underground resources last year, Radio Free Asia reported last Friday. The figure is double the rough amount of $900 million it earned from resource exports the previous year and equivalent to the amount the regime is reportedly spending on the centenary of nation founder Kim Il-sung on April 15.


April 2 “Tibetan immolations, largely unnoticed, among history’s biggest waves of suicide-by-fire”

Dozens of Tibetans have set themselves on fire over the past year to protest Chinese rule, sometimes drinking kerosene to make the flames explode from within, in one of the biggest waves of political self-immolations in recent history. … In January, a 42-year-old monk named Sopa in Qinghai province drank kerosene and threw it over his body before setting himself alight. Radio Free Asia quoted a source as saying his “body exploded in pieces” before police took it away.

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