RFA in the News (August 2011)

2011-09-02
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EPOCH TIMES

Aug. 31 “Teenage victim of China’s rail crash pleads for help”

A teenaged girl who lost one of her legs, and both her parents, in the high-speed rail collision in Wenzhou City, says she desperately needs help and has nowhere to turn to. Nineteen-year-old Zhao Simin, a college freshman from Fuzhou posted an SOS on the Internet. … Zhao’s name is on the official Ministry of Railways list of people who were injured in the train collision, according to an Aug. 25 Radio Free Asia (RFA) report.

KOREA HERALD

Aug. 30 “EU delegation to visit N.K. next month”

An EU delegation will visit North Korea next month, a U.S.-funded radio station reported Tuesday, confirming the annual visit which had been cancelled last year after the North’s provocations on Seoul.
The European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with the Korean Peninsula, led by Christian Ehler, is scheduled to visit the communist state on Oct. 19 for parliamentarian-level talks, Radio Free Asia reported, quoting an EU official. The composition of the delegation is yet to be fixed, Marcel Roijen told RFA, adding it will be the first visit to Pyongyang by the incumbent European Union, which was formed at the end of 2009.

GLOBAL POST – THE RICEBOWL BLOG (Also in TORONTO STAR)

Aug. 30 “Why are H&M clothing stitchers fainting in Cambodia?

Poor ventiliation? Malnutrition? Or a bizarre "psychological phenomnenon" that only affects Cambodian factory workers? All have been blamed for a rash of mass faintings in two different garment factories that supply H&M stores with cheap and chic clothing. Last week, 200 garment workers keeled over inside a provincial Cambodian factory, according to Radio Free Asia.

POLLSTAR – THE CONCERT HOTWIRE

Aug. 29 “Girls rule”

Girls Generation, the Korean girl group that closed Summer Sonic’s Tokyo event this year with a 30-minute performance, became the highest-earning foreign artist in Japan following the release of its self-titled album in June.

… A Chinese businessman who often visits Pyongyang told U.S.-based Radio Free Asia that a well-to-do housewife asked him to bring back a Girls Generation CD for her daughter.

EPOCH TIMES

Aug. 28 “Chinese regime considers legalizing illegal detentions”

For years the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been abducting troublesome lawyers, dissidents, and activists, and detaining them in secret locations without notifying a soul. It is an extralegal process, decried by international observers and carried out secretly inside China.

… While the regime claims that the amendments are part of positive legal reforms, rights groups fear that authorities will be endorsing an illegal practice already in use by police, Radio Free Asia reported.

ASIA PULSE (Also in YONHAP, THAI NEWS AGENCY)

Aug. 24 “Official says over 200 North Koreans still working in Libya”

More than 200 North Koreans are still working in Libya, an official said Wednesday, despite ongoing violence between rebels and forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

“Some 200 North Koreans are working in Libya as doctors, nurses and construction workers, and it appears that they haven't returned home yet,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

The North Koreans are mostly working in deserts and other remote areas, which have not been directly affected by the six-month-long conflict, U.S. broadcaster Radio Free Asia said Tuesday, quoting an unidentified official at the South Korean embassy in Libya. The embassy was temporarily moved to Tunisia in May amid escalating danger.

CHOSUN ILBO

Aug. 24 “N.Korea on U.S. terror list after all”

The U.S. State Department belatedly added a section on North Korea to its annual “Country Reports on Terrorism 2010,” Radio Free Asia reported on Tuesday. When the report came out last Thursday, there was no mention of the North. The absence of North Korea from the earlier version prompted speculation that it reflects an improvement in relations between Washington and Pyongyang after a bilateral meeting in New York in July and Washington's recent decision to give relief aid to North Korean flood victims. But the State Department on Monday said the section was "omitted by accident," RFA said.

IRRAWADDY

Aug. 24 “UN envoy meets Suu Kyi, visits Insein Prison”

The UN’s Special Rapporteur to Burma, Tomas Ojea Quintana, held talks with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi at her home in Rangoon on Wednesday after a visit to Insein Prison where a number of political prisoners are currently held.

… During Quintana's meeting with government house speakers, he said that it is necessary to amend the current constitution in accordance with human rights, according to a report by the US-based Radio Free Asia (RFA), quoting Dr. Aye Maung, the chairman of the Guarantees, Pledges and Undertakings Vetting Committee for the Upper House. … According to the RFA report, Quintana also said that the new government has made “some progress,” but that political activists who are currently being detained in prisons across Burma should be released in the interests of national reconciliation in the country,.

KOREA HERALD

Aug.22 “Park Geun-hye hints at warmer ties with N.K.”

Korea should seek to rebuild trust with North Korea, while maintaining an unyielding stance on national security, said Rep. Park Geun-hye the highest-polled presidential hopeful, in a contribution to a journal.
Park contributed a 2,500-word paper titled “The New Korea: Building trust between Seoul and Pyongyang” to Foreign Affairs, a leading U.S. academic journal, according to Radio Free Asia, an international broadcasting agency on Friday.

IRRAWADDY

Aug. 19 “A glance inside the Burmese army”

Instances of disagreement and discontent among second-tier generals in the Burmese army have surfaced increasingly in the past few months.

… Since around 2009, foreign broadcasting stations such as the Voice of America, the British Broadcasting Corporation, Radio Free Asia and Democratic Voice of Burma have highlighted the economic situation of families within the army. Consequently, officers and soldiers from army units in Yemon, Inndagaw and Hmawbi areas, which are under control of the Rangoon Command, stood up and called for better living conditions.

CHOSUN ILBO (Also in ASIA ONE, NEW AMERICA MEDIA)

Aug. 18 “Dictators can’t stop the desire for fun”

The Beatles were a huge hit among teens in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in the 1960s. The communists tried to stamp out what they saw as "capitalist viruses," but youngsters hummed to tunes aired on Voice of America radio programs or traded pirated copies of LPs with their favorite songs from the other side of the iron curtain.

… A few days ago, Radio Free Asia reported that there is a fad in North Korea for children of high-ranking North Korean government officials to dance to songs performed by South Korean pop singers.

DEMOCRATIC VOICE OF BURMA (Also in AUSTRALIAN)

Aug. 17 “Government drops DVB ‘killer media’ slogan”

The New Light of Myanmar newspaper and other state-run publications in Burma have stopped a long-running propaganda campaign against the Democratic Voice of Burma and other foreign or exiled media, which they daily described as “killer broadcasts designed to cause troubles.” The slogans appeared on the back page of the New Light of Myanmar, which acts as a government mouthpiece, alongside other similarly authoritarian propaganda warnings.

… The paper stated that DVB, along with US-based Radio Free Asia (RFA), was “generating public outrage.” … The removal of the slogans comes shortly after the government’s first-ever press conference last week, and a somewhat successful attempt to soften its draconian image.

PHNOM PENH POST

Aug. 17 “Staying in touch with the world”

In the past, people would get their news through so-called “traditional media” sources such as newspapers, magazines and radio stations, but the emerging digital medium of online news is beginning to compete with those sources.

… News websites are a tool for spreading information and a way for emerging media companies to compete with traditional media sources. There are many news websites that focus on Cambodia, such as The Phnom Penh Post, Cambodia Express News (CEN), Koh Santepheap, Radio Free Asia, DAP News and many others.

ASIA NEWS

Aug. 17 “Vietnamese lawyer who defended Catholics and rights activists suspended”

A famous Vietnamese lawyer and human rights activist will no longer be able to practice his profession after he was found “guilty” of defending high profile dissidents, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported. The Dac Lac Provincial Bar Association (central Vietnam) on 12 August suspended Huynh Van Dong, 33, in response to a June request by a provincial court to disbar the lawyer for “disrespecting the law.”

NEW TANG DYNASTY TELEVISION

Aug. 16 “Taiwan rejects Xinhua office bid”

Taiwan has rejected Xinhua News Agency—the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party—from setting up an office on the island, Radio Free Asia reported.
Xinhua applied for an office in Taipei’s 101 tower three months ago. The island’s Mainland Affairs Council, or MAC, turned it down, saying it’s against the regulations. Currently, only individual reporters from the Mainland are allowed to be stationed in Taiwan.

REUTERS

Aug. 12 “Riot erupts in southwest China town: reports”

Thousands of Chinese took to the streets of a southwestern town on Thursday, with some smashing police vehicles in the latest protest by citizens angered by the rough handling of local officials, according to news reports.

Radio Free Asia, a news service based in Washington D.C., reported the clash in Qianxi broke out after officials tried to confiscate an electric-powered bicycle, injuring the female owner.

CNN BLOG (Also in ALLVOICES)

Aug. 9 “Artist Ai Weiwei back on Twitter, defiantly attacking China over jailed friends

Ai Weiwei is back, and he's not taking any prisoners.

His Twitter missives, however, which began Monday night after a lengthy hiatus, may land the controversial contemporary artist back in a Chinese prison. In one tweet, he directly accused the government of illegally detaining innocent people who had connections to him.

… When he was released, he seemed subdued, telling a Radio Free Asia reporter outside his Beijing home, "I can't talk about anything."

YONHAP (Also in ASIA PULSE)

Aug. 6 “N. Korean visitors to U.S. up over 50 pct in H1: report”

The number of North Koreans who visited the United States in the first half of the year jumped by more than 50 percent on-year, a U.S. report claimed Saturday. Radio Free Asia (RFA), citing data from the Department of Homeland Security, said 139 North Korean nationals entered the country during a six month period this year, up from 89 tallied in the same period last year.

KOREA HERALD

Aug. 4 “N.Koreans allegedly reaching outside world via Internet”

More North Koreans are apparently surfing the Web to find out about their country's ties with South Korea and the US, and other issues affecting them, according to the US-funded Radio Free Asia (RFA).

Questions have been raised over the surfers' identities as the autocratic communist state has severely restricted Internet access for fear that it could be used as a conduit to share their democratic aspirations.

EPOCH TIMES

Aug. 4 “Excessive force by China’s street police triggers outburst”

After a one-legged street vendor was strangled to death by “urban management officers” in broad daylight in a small city in Guizhou Province last week, mayhem erupted.

… Liu Wei, a human rights lawyer, is recorded by Radio Free Asia (RFA) as saying: “The incident has grown bigger and bigger. It is out of control now. There were constantly sounds of gunshots at the scene, and tear gas is everywhere. It’s reported that anti-riot police tossed smoke grenades to disperse the crowd, and fired on them. Many people were injured or even killed. Now the streets are blocked by police. … Cleaning cars are cleaning the blood off the road.”

CHRISTIAN POST (Also in COMPASS DIRECT NEWS)

Aug. 2 “House church alliance leader in China sentenced to labor camp”

Authorities this week sentenced Shi Enhao, deputy leader of the Chinese House Church Alliance (CHCA), to two years of “re-education through labor” – a sentence that requires no trial or conviction, according to the China Aid Association (CAA).

…“Before the petition, the suppression of Shouwang church members focused on preventing them from gathering for outdoor worship … Now it seems the authorities want to demonize Shouwang church,” Fu said in an interview with Radio Free Asia shortly after the petition was submitted.

HUFFINGTON POST

Aug. 2 “Jack Healey: Former Burmese child soldier to speak in Congress”

… His name is Hein Min Aung, and he’s a former Burmese child soldier, a young man brave enough to fly halfway around the world at the invitation of Human Rights Action Center to speak in Congress about his experience in the government army of the country of Burma.

… HRAC is hosting Mr. Aung in Washington, and preparing him for an informational briefing in the House of Representatives, as well as one for staffers on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Mr. Aung has already done an interview with Voice of America, BBC Burma and Radio Free Asia, and plans to do one with the Democratic Voice of Burma.

TIBET POST INTERNATIONAL (Also in PHAYUL)

Aug. 2 “Tibetans oppose visit by China-appointed Panchen Lama”

A visit to Tibet’s Amdo region by the Chinese-appointed Panchen Lama has been postponed due to widespread opposition from both the lay and monastic communities in the area.

Radio Free Asia quoted a source in the area: “Chinese authorities ordered Tibetan staff at the Sangchu (in Chinese, Xiahe) county offices to be ready to welcome him joyously, and offer scarves and prostrations,” he said.

STRAITS TIMES

Aug. 2 “China blames Pakistan-trained Uighurs for Xinjiang attacks; Accusation is 'very unusual' given strong Beijing-Islamabad ties”

China yesterday accused Pakistan-trained Uighur terrorists of being behind bloody attacks in Xinjiang, a rare accusation given the strong ties between Beijing and Islamabad.

… Also, Xinjiang is second only to Tibet in the pecking order of Chinese sensitivities. Analysts note that the Dalai Lama, during the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader's recent trip to the US, visited Radio Free Asia, which broadcasts to people in the two regions. This added to Chinese nervousness.

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