RFA in the News (August 2013)

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Aug. 31 “China responds to anti-mine protests with political education

The Chinese authorities in Dzatoe (Chinese: Zaduo) County of Yulshul (Yushu) Prefecture, Qinghai Province, have launched a three-month political education drive for all the county, township, and village-level Tibetan leaders, reported Radio Free Asia (RFA, Washington) Aug 30. The authorities have also warned all the Tibetan residents of the county with “serious consequences” in case they restart their protest against the allegedly illegal Chinese mining work in their area.


Aug. 30 “N. Korea retracts invitation for U.S. envoy on detained American man

Without explanation, North Korea abruptly canceled its invitation Friday for a U.S. special envoy to visit Pyongyang, bewildering American and South Korean officials who apparently expected the release this week of an American man detained in the communist nation. … Related to the sudden cancellation of the envoy's visit, relatives of Bae's family expressed disappointment over the turn of events, Radio Free Asia reported. The media outlet said the detainee's sister living in Washington state expressed hope that despite the setback negotiations will soon resume to secure Bae's release.


Aug. 29 “Forget Smartphones: N. Korea has a Designer Clothes Industry

Radio Free Asia reports that North Korea’s First Lady Ri Sol Ju’s acute fashion sense has created a huge demand among Pyongyang elites for counterfeit designer clothing. North Korean tailors are now copying designer brands from China, Japan, and the U.S., including Burberry and Chanel.


Aug. 27 “China confirms raid on alleged terror cell

China confirmed Wednesday that police conducted a raid last week on an alleged terrorist cell in the restive northwestern region of Xinjiang, although details about the death toll and identities of those killed in the bloody incident remain sketchy. … Citing Xinjiang police and government sources, U.S. government-funded station Radio Free Asia said 22 members of the region’s native Uighur (WEE'-gur) ethnic group were killed in the raid and their bodies were buried in the desert without their relatives being notified.


Aug. 27 “Tibetans challenge Chinese mining exploitation of occupied territory

Tibetan protesters have announced that they will take their challenge against Chinese mining operations in the northwestern province of Qinghai all the way to Beijing with a petition demanding an end to environmentally destructive diamond mining activity, according to Radio Free Asia.


Aug. 26 “Over News of Clash, a Shroud of Silence in Xinjiang

… It is here, in the shadow of a towering statue of Mao Zedong, that Uighur assailants fatally stabbed three Chinese pedestrians on the same day as the police shootings in Hanerik, according to Radio Free Asia, a news service financed by the United States government that employs Uighur reporters. … According to several accounts, including local Uighur officials who spoke to Radio Free Asia, the authorities sealed the mosque on June 21, but congregants forced their way in the following Friday. … Abdulhekim Weliyop, chairman of Hotan County’s People’s Congress, confirmed some details with Radio Free Asia. “Yes, a terrible tragedy happened,” he said.


Aug. 23 “N.Korean Population Estimated at 24.7 Million

The North Korean population stands at 24.7 million, Radio Free Asia reported on Thursday quoting data from the Population Reference Bureau, a U.S. non-profit organization. According to the PRB, life expectancy in the North increased from 63 years in 2010 to 69 this year. The huge infant mortality rate dropped slightly from 32 per 1,000 in 2011 to 27 this year.


Aug. 21 “Why is China so Afraid of a Small Protest?

A minor protest in Anhui Province has grabbed the central government's attention in China.

According to Radio Free Asia, on August 10, two thousand protestors laid siege to government offices in Xuancheng City in Anhui’s Jixi County, in the Jingzhou Township. The crowds overturned cars, smashed the windows of a government office, and assaulted government officials.


Aug. 21 “‘Rogues’ edit PM’s speech

“This is a violation of the law by a slew of rogues who are always causing non-stop [trouble] at a time when Cambodian people need to stay calm so they can live normal lives,” the statement says, adding people should maintain public order while they wait for official election results. The statement also takes a swipe at independent broadcaster Radio Free Asia for allegedly airing the sound bite. But Chun Chanboth, deputy director of Radio Free Asia Khmer, said the station had not broadcast the sound bite as it appears on Facebook.


Aug. 21 “U.S. travel agency launches N. Korean beer tour package”

A U.S. travel agency launched a tour package to allow people to savor quality North Korean beer that has been gaining considerable attention in recent months, a media report said Wednesday.

According to Washington-based Radio Free Asia (RFA), Uri Tours unveiled an eight-day-long program that would permit people to tour three microbreweries in Pyongyang. The first tour will leave for the communist country on Sept. 4.


Aug. 20 “Chinese attorneys demand closing of 'Black Jail'
Chinese human rights attorneys have demanded the immediate release of China's "Black Jail" detainees, reported Radio Free Asia (RFA) on Aug. 20. According to the report, Tung Bao, Lieu Shao Yuan, and other human rights lawyers requested the government to punish and take down the black jail and its personnel on Aug. 19.


Aug. 19 “Vietnamese court frees jailed student activist

An appeals court in Vietnam freed a 21-year-old student activist serving a six-year jail term for alleged subversion, Radio Free Asia reported. Nguyen Phuong Uyen, sentenced in May for distributing anti-government leaflets, was freed after the court ruling Friday.

SING TAO DAILY (Chinese-language Canadian site)

Aug. 18Pro-democracy activists called on a fair and open trial of Bo Xilai
According to Radio Free Asia, Wang Xizhe recently talked about his view on the upcoming trial of Bo Xilai that both Chinese in Mainland China and Chinese overseas require a fair, just and open trial on Bo Xilai. This view, he said, is not common among supporters of Bo, but also Bo's political opponents.


Aug. 17 “One feared dead, many injured as China attacked Tibetan mine protesters”

One person is feared to have committed suicide, at least eight men and women were taken away, and 15 others hospitalized after hundreds of China’s paramilitary People’s Armed Police Force, as well as police, attacked on Aug 16 a large crowd of local Tibetans staging a peaceful protest in Qinghai Province’s Dzatoe (Chinese: Zaduo) County, Yulshul (Yushu) Prefecture, to block the start of mining work at three places, reported Radio Free Asia (RFA, Washington) Aug 17.


Aug. 16 “Wikipedia China Editor Grounded Until 2016

Chinese authorities have barred Wikipedia China editor Huang Zhisong from leaving the country until 2016, according to Radio Free Asia, after Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales commented that he would not censor his site in order to enter China.


Aug. 16 “U.N. Requests More Funding for North Korea Aid

The United Nations says its humanitarian aid work in North Korea is seriously underfunded, calling on donors to contribute $98 million to help pay for food and sanitation projects in the country. … Underscoring some of those concerns, Radio Free Asia reported Wednesday that North Korean military officers had “pocketed and sold off” South Korean donations of milk powder originally intended for babies in the country. The RFA report, which cited North Korean sources, said the milk powder, originally donated by South Korean aid groups, was being sold on local markets earlier this year, where it fetched a high premium.


Aug. 16 “China slaughtering Tibetan herds indiscriminately with eye on mining

The Chinese authorities have been slaughtering Tibetan livestock indiscriminately in an apparent preparation for a future smooth start of mining operation in Ngamring (Chinese: Angren) County of Shigatse (Rikaze, or Xigaze) prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), reported Radio Free Asia (RFA, Washington) Aug 14,citing witnesses. The Chinese are said to carry out the slaughters on the pretext that the animals were infected with disease.


Aug. 15 “The Mekong Dams Dispute: 4 Trends to Watch

Finding a way to share the resource-rich Mekong River remains one of Southeast Asia’s most elusive goals. … When the Lao government told Radio Free Asia that it would start construction on the project in early 2014, a spokesperson for the MRC Secretariat responded, “There’s nothing we can do for the time being in the matter of consultation or studies. We cannot go and investigate either, as this is not in our mandate.” … In June, Lao government officials told Radio Free Asia that villagers at the first resettlement site will only be provided with one year of assistance, although they will require at least 5 years to adjust to their new homes.


Aug. 13 “Muslims receive death sentence as ethnic conflict grows in Xinjiang

A Chinese court has sentenced two Muslim men to death and jailed three more for their roles in clashes that left 21 dead in the north-western region of Xinjiang in April, state media has reported. The case took place days after claims of fatal violence in another city in the restive region. … News of the trial followed a report from Radio Free Asia (RFA) that at least three Uighurs were killed and more than 20 officers and civilians injured when security forces opened fire on a crowd trying to stop police from arresting four suspects in Aykol district, Aksu, on the eve of Eid last Wednesday.


Aug. 12 “‘Remembering Tiananmen’ iBook Brings Longform Journalism Across Closed Borders

E-books offer new channels for journalists to engage with an audience and tell great stories, whether it is with a serialized collection of text-based stories for small e-readers or an interactive audio/video/photo magazine for tablet devices. On June 4, the 24th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, Radio Free Asia (RFA) released an iBook of their own, recounting the 1989 protests in both Mandarin and English.


Aug. 9 “Massive Chinese security at religious festival in Tibet”

The religious festival of Shoton, named after the Tibetan tradition of offering yogurt to monks after their summer retreat, began on Aug 6 at Drepung Monastery in Tibet’s capital Lhasa with especially heavy Chinese security arrangements. … Radio Free Asia (RFA, Washington) Aug 7 cited a local Tibetan source as saying the security presence at the festival, traditionally held at Drepung monastery in the city’s outskirts, was much heavier than in previous years. “They set up metal barricades in the monastery courtyard and are searching people thoroughly, one by one,” he was quoted as saying.


Aug. 8 “Vietnam's Internet decree receives backlash from US embassy in Hanoi

The United States embassy in Hanoi expressed “deep concern” about Vietnam’s latest decree on the country’s Internet activity in a statement issued Tuesday. Under Decree 72, individuals will not be allowed “to quote general information ... from newspapers, press agencies, or other state-owned websites,” said the head of Vietnam’s Department of Radio, TV, and Electronic Information Hoang Vinh Bao in a report accessed via Radio Free Asia.


Aug. 7 “North Korea is the worst place in the world to be a standup comic

When it’s not threatening nuclear war, the repressive hermit kingdom of North Korea is a bountiful provider of absurdist comic fodder. But it turns out to be a terrible place to tell jokes for a living. According to a report by Radio Free Asia, the well-known North Korean comedienne Lee Choon Hong, “known for satirizing aspects of North Korean society by mimicking voices,” made what a source described as a “slip of the tongue” on a “sensitive issue” while performing for workers at a government work site. As a punishment, she was immediately sentenced to perform hard labor at the Jikdong Youth Coal Mine.


Aug. 7 “N. Korea's public food rations up in 2013: report

North Korea is providing more food rations to its people in 2013 than in the year before despite a drop in aid from abroad, a media report said Wednesday. The report by Radio Free Asia, based on data provided by the World Food Program (WFP), showed that Pyongyang provided roughly 400 grams of food per person on a daily basis in the first five months of the year.


Aug. 6 “Tibetan monk in Nepal self-immolates to protest Chinese rule

In a third Tibetan self-immolation in this tiny Himalayan nation, a monk burned himself and died in Nepal Tuesday in protest against Chinese rule in Tibetan populated areas in China. The 39-year-old Karma Nyidun Gyaltso committed the suicide at the Boudhanath Stupa, a famous gathering place for Buddhist pilgrims in Kathmandu where many Tibetan exiles live, Radio Free Asia said citing unnamed sources. … The Radio Free Asia (RFA) said scores of police converged at the shrine to beef up security in the area.


Aug. 5 “U.N. body gives food aid to N.K. flood victims

The World Food Program spokeswoman Nanna Skau said corn is being provided to households that have been hit hard by recent flooding caused by torrential rain, Radio Free Asia reported. She added that assistance is being offered because flooding has caused extensive damage to farmlands and irrigation systems.


Aug. 3 “3 Tibetan villagers held for refusing to fly China's Red Star flag”

Chinese authorities in Pashoe (Chinese: Basu) County of Chamdo (Changdu) Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), have detained this week three Tibetan villagers for refusing to fly the Chinese national flag over their homes, reported Radio Free Asia (RFA, Washington) Aug 1. The whole of the TAR has been under a three-year drive to test and enforce Tibetan loyalty to the Chinese nation since Oct 2011 and previous reports have said the campaign was especially severe in the Chamdo region.


Aug. 2 “China news round-up: Uygur scholar under house arrest, scuffles in Taiwan over trade pact”

Radio Free Asia … Uygur scholar Ilham Tohti has been placed under house arrest in Beijing.


Aug. 1 “Tibet entry refused as visitor had Dalai Lama photos”

The Chinese authorities have reaffirmed their ban on photographic images of Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, when on Jun 20 they turned back a Tibetan from India seeking to visit his home to see his relatives, reported Radio Free Asia (RFA, Washington) Jul 30. The report said the expulsion came after the authorities had stepped up searches for images of the Dalai Lama on travellers and others throughout the Tibetan Plateau region.

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