RFA in the News (December 2007)


The Washington Post

December 30, 2007 Sunday

Sending Out Signals to Long-Isolated North Koreans; Defectors Who Once Worked for Government of Kim Jong Il Now Broadcast From South of the DMZ

SEOUL -- Trained as a military propagandist in North Korea, Kim Seong Min has turned his skills against the government that once forced his allegiance. From a small radio studio in Seoul, he and a handful of other North Korean defectors deliver daily broadcasts to people who remain behind in the isolated communist state run by Kim Jong Il….All told, Seoul has three privately run radio stations targeting the North:

Open Radio for North Korea, Radio Free Chosun and Kim's FNK, the only one run by defectors, who are helped by a committed South Korean staff. Washington-based Radio Free Asia and Voice of America also broadcast to the North.

The Associated Press, December 29, 2007

China AIDS activist detained for 'subversion' as police cut his home phone line, Internet

An outspoken AIDS activist was charged with "subverting" China's government after security officers barged into his home and took him away, a watchdog group and lawyer said Saturday.Hu Jia's whereabouts were not known after he was seized by about 20 officers Thursday, said China Human Rights Defenders, an international network of activists and rights monitoring groups. Hu has played a prominent role in helping other dissidents. News about Hu's detention came as a U.S.-funded broadcaster reported a lawyer jailed for publishing a book about a political scandal in northeast China had been beaten by a fellow prisoner and was staging a hunger strike.

Guo Feixiong, serving a five-year sentence for conducting illegal business activities, had been placed in solitary confinement at the prison in southern China's Guangdong province and was barred from reading, his wife Zhang Qing told Radio Free Asia after visiting Guo on Friday.

Reporters Without Borders release, December 27, 2007 Thursday Burma: Media watchdog highlights three months of repression

The military government has constantly hounded Burma's journalists during the three months that have gone by since 27 September, the day that Japanese video reporter Kenji Nagai was murdered by a soldier in Rangoon, Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association said today. The government media continue to pump out their propaganda, putting all of the activities of the military government's leaders on the front page. The government's TV stations have on several occasions vilified the reporting of the foreign media, such as the BBC, RFA [Radio Free Asia] and VOA, accusing them of trying to "destabilise" Burma. The government media have been ordered to praise the return to normality and the country's economic progress. At the end of November, the USDA militia announced the launch of a new daily newspaper to reinforce the public's support for the regime.

The Associated Press, December 26, 2007

Scores of police try to keep villagers from protesting in southern China

Trucks with loudspeakers drove through a fishing village in southern China on Wednesday, warning residents against protesting over a power plant they claim was built on unfairly seized

land. Police briefly detained a foreign reporter before escorting him away from the village….The long-simmering dispute began boiling again early this month when protesters blocked an electricity pylon that wasn't fully operational. Last week, Radio Free Asia a private broadcaster funded by the U.S. Congress reported that about 1,000 riot police fired tear gas at protesters in Dongzhou. One resident, who declined to give his name fearing arrest, confirmed the details of the Radio Free Asia report.

Yonhap (South Korea), Korea Times, December 24, 2007

245 NK Defectors Sought Asylum in Britain This Year: Report

As many as 245 self -claimed North Korean defectors sought asylum in Britain in the first 10 months of this year, a U.S. radio station reported Monday. Jennifer Pagonis, a spokesperson for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, however, noted the British government needs to confirm whether they actually came from North Korea, the Radio Free Asia said.

South China Morning Post, December 22, 2007

Beijing denies reports of clashes in Guangdong village

Beijing denied there was a new standoff in a troubled Guangdong village where police opened fire on protesters against a power plant two years ago. More than 1,000 riot police were sent to Dongzhou village to guard a key electricity pylon and fired tear gas on Thursday at hundreds of protesters, U.S.-funded Radio Free Asia reported. But Liu Jingmao, spokesman for the Shanwei government overseeing Dongzhou, put the number at only "a few dozen" from a "tiny minority" of the villagers. "There hasn't been any clash," he said.

The Associated Press, Washington Post, International Herald Tribun, San Jose Mercury News, Denver Post, et al., Dec. 22, 2007

Report: Officers use tear gas to disperse villagers in China protesting land seizure

About 1,000 riot police fired tear gas at protesters in southern China who were blocking an electricity pylon near a power station they felt was built on unfairly seized land, a radio station reported Friday. Several hundred villagers had gathered at the site, beating on cymbals, according to Radio Free Asia, a broadcaster funded by the U.S. Congress. "They used tear gas and scattered the crowd," an unidentified resident of Guangdong province's Dongzhou village, northeast of Hong Kong, told the station.

REUTERS China denies fresh stand-off in troubled village

BEIJING (Reuters) - China on Friday denied there had been a new stand-off between residents and authorities in a troubled village where police opened fire on demonstrators protesting against a controversial power plant two years ago.

More than 1,000 riot police were sent into Dongzhou village in the southern province of Guangdong to guard a key electricity pylon of the plant and they fired tear gas on Thursday at several hundred protesters, U.S.-funded Radio Free Asia reported.

Agence France Presse, December 17, 2007

Czech to send home last N. Korean workers by January: ministry

All North Koreans living and working in the Czech Republic under a controversial cheap labour programme will have been sent home by the end of January 2008, the Czech interior ministry told AFP Monday. The number of North Koreans working abroad to payroll the Pyongyang regime climbed to around 70,000 worldwide, according to a report from Radio Free Asia earlier this year.

Agence France Presse, December 11, 2007

Vietnam jails four labour activists: report

A court in the south of communist Vietnam has jailed four dissidents for "spreading distorted information to undermine the state," government-controlled

media reported Tuesday…The newspaper said the defendants had slandered the Vietnamese state on a US-based "reactionary website" and distorted facts by telling Radio Free Asia that Vietnam represses workers and arrests demonstrators.

Viet Nam News, Vietnam

Court jails four for distorting information

... reactionary website) and the Radio Free Asia (RFA), to distort facts, saying the Vietnamese authorities repressed workers and arrested demonstrators. ...

Xinhua News

Vietnam sentences 4 for abusing democracy, freedom rights

Dien even asked his son, Chuong, to role-play a worker to give a phone interview to Hoa Mai Club Radio (a reactionary Web site) and the Radio Free Asia to ...

Agence France Presse, December 10, 2007

Swedish embassy in Laos confirms two NKoreans seeking refuge

Two North Korean men have taken shelter at the Swedish embassy in the Lao capital Vientiane after fleeing their homeland to seek refugee in a third country, a Swedish diplomat confirmed on Monday. "I can confirm we have two men at the embassy who claim that they are North Koreans. They are probably North Koreans," said a spokesperson at the diplomatic mission. "They came Friday last week. They are between 20 and 30 years old." Radio Free Asia, a US-funded non- profit broadcaster, on Sunday reported that Sweden was in talks with relevant states about what to do next.

Agence France Presse, December 3, 2007

Workers in China strike over rising food costs

Police in southern China used batons and dogs to keep thousands of workers from leaving their factory premises after they went on strike over rising food costs, officials and reports said Monday. According to the US-based Radio Free Asia, several hundred police converged on the factory in Dongguan city and beat workers with clubs and arrested strike leaders.