RFA in the News (December 2009)

2010-01-02
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CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR

Dec. 31 “Dan Southerland – Mongolia: A democratic breakthrough?”

… In a brief interview with Radio Free Asia following the Oct. 6 mining agreement signing ceremony, Mongolian President Elbegdorj Tsakhia warned that corruption could threaten much hoped-for gains from the mining sector.

… Dan Southerland, executive editor of congressionally funded Radio Free Asia, is a former Asia correspondent for the Monitor and former Beijing bureau chief for The Washington Post.

EPOCH TIMES

Dec. 31 “Chinese authorities tighten their grip on legal system in 2009”

Has communist China moved in a direction toward more openness and democracy as many hoped and expected it would as its economy grew and evolved?

… A small percentage of petitioners are sent to psychiatric hospitals by force and even medicated. This practice is also applied to devout religious followers and Falun Gong practitioners, according to a Radio Free Asia report cited by CECC.

KBS

Dec. 30 “US, NK Discussing American's Entry into NK”

U.S.-based Radio Free Asia says the United States is holding talks with North Korea through the New York channel over the illegal entry of a Korean-American missionary into North Korea.

The report quoted a State Department official as saying Wednesday that although North Korea’s detainment of Robert Park has been confirmed, Park’s exact location has yet to be determined. The official said Washington and Pyongyang are discussing the matter through their New York channel.

DESERET NEWS, CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR (Jan. 4)

Dec. 30 “New broadcasting board will have unenviable challenges to tackle”

During the Cold War, radio stations like the Voice of America, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty played an important role in communist nations' march to freedom.

… Today the lineup includes, not only VOA and RFE/RL, but Radio and TV Marti to Cuba, Radio Free Asia to a slew of Asian countries, Alhurra TV and Radio Sawa to Arab countries, and Radio Farda to Iran.

EPOCH TIMES

Dec. 29 “Internet censorship tightens in China”

Several hundred thousand Web sites in China have been blocked as Chinese officials quietly carry out a new Internet censorship program, according to industry insiders.

… An employee from West263 (www.west263.com) told Radio Free Asia on Dec. 24 that the policy is affecting businesses in a large area, as several overseas Web sites are no longer accessible.

KBS

Dec. 29 “NK escapees like S.Korean pop songs”

A survey shows that a South Korean pop song has topped a list of songs favored by North Korean escapees.

… According to Radio Free Asia, a survey of 50 North Korean escapees showed that South Korean female singer Roh Sa-yeon’s “Mannam”, a song about the destined meeting of lovers, topped the list.

ASIA NEWS

Dec. 29 “On Christmas day, five Uyghurs sentenced to death for their role in Xinjiang’s July protest”

Five more Uyghurs have been sentenced to death for their role in protests that broke out in Xinjiang, but Chinese authorities have tried to keep the news from both domestic and international media.

… There is no information about who these people are but, according to Radio Free Asia, their names appear to be Uyghur.

UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL

Dec. 28 “Liu Xiaobo sentence criticized as harsh”

Human-rights groups and governments have condemned the 11-year sentence of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo despite Beijing claiming criticisms are interference in its internal affairs.

… Just after Liu's arrest, a report by Washington-based Radio Free Asia said China’s powerful Central Propaganda Department had verbally ordered a crackdown on Chinese media workers who had signed Charter 08.

WASHINGTON POST

Dec. 27 “In N. Korea, a strong movement recoils at Kim Jong Il's attempt to limit wealth”

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il moved early this month to wipe out much of the wealth earned in the past decade in his country's private markets.

… Affordable electronics are also cracking open the government's decades-old seal on incoming information. Imported radios — and televisions in border areas — are enabling a substantial proportion of the North Korean populations to tune in to Chinese and South Korean stations, as well as to Radio Free Asia and Voice of America, according to an unpublished survey of newly arrived defectors in South Korea.

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST
Dec. 24 “Tibetan political survivor dies weeks before 100th birthday”

A Tibetan politician who played a decisive role in bringing Communist Party rule to the Himalayan region died yesterday, aged 99.

… But his third son, Ngapo Jigme, defected to the US two decades ago and worked for the Free Tibet Campaign. He heads the Tibet section of Radio Free Asia.

ASIA NEWS

Dec. 24 “Bao Tong: The verdict against Liu Xiaobo marks the end of the Chinese constitution”

A verdict of conviction for Liu Xiaobo, expected tomorrow, means a condemnation of the Chinese constitution, which thus becomes a " null and void" document. So says Bao Tong, former aide to Zhao Ziyang, later imprisoned for his opposition to the massacre of Tiananmen.

Bao Tong's allegations are contained in an essay published in full by Radio Free Asia.

IRRAWADDY

Dec. 23 “Ethnic media group eyes FM radio”

Burmese ethnic journalists met in Chiang Mai on Tuesday to discuss how best to cover the 2010 election and agreed that FM radio offers the best medium to reach a wide ethnic audience.

… No FM radio stations are run by in-country ethnic groups. Ethnic languages usually have about 15 minutes a week in broadcasts by the Democratic Voice of Burma and Radio Free Asia.

ASIA ONE

Dec. 21 “Zaobao website blocked by China”

The website of Singapore's leading Chinese newspaper, Lianhe Zaobao, is no longer accessible from China, the Radio Free Asia website reported.

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

Dec. 19 “Those in peril must play safety role, activist says”

For Han Dongfang, founder of the China Labour Bulletin, safety in mainland coal mines will only improve if workers are allowed and encouraged to play a major role in safety management and engage in collective bargaining over pay and work conditions.

… He broadcasts on short-wave on Radio Free Asia and estimates an audience of 20 million to 30 million.

KBS

Dec. 19 “Italy, Germany to Provide Aid to NK”

Radio Free Asia reported Saturday that Italian and German governments will provide North Korea with aid to help the communist country survive the winter.

KBS

Dec. 17 “All NK H1N1 Patients Recover”

All North Korean people who were infected with H1N1 influenza have recovered from the disease.

The U.S.-based Radio Free Asia quoted a World Health Organization official as saying that nine North Korean patients have completely recovered from the new flu after receiving medical treatment. Quarantine has been lifted for all of the North Korean patients.

THE SUN

Dec. 14 “Kim 'built 130-mile labyrinth'”

Paranoid North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il has built a secret labyrinth of escape tunnels stretching 130 miles.

… The ex-aide, 86, told Radio Free Asia: "There was fresh water and grass growing in a tunnel that linked Pyongyang to a nearby mountain."

THE NATIONAL (United Arab Emirates)

Dec. 12 “North Korea talks seen as a ‘good start’”

Direct talks between the United States and North Korea in Pyongyang last week were meant as an opportunity to size each other up rather than accomplish any major agreement, analysts say, and to that end were a good step forward.

… Yesterday, citing a Washington diplomatic source, Radio Free Asia reported that Mr Bosworth had delivered a personal letter from Mr Obama to the North Korean leadership.

HUFFINGTON POST

Dec. 11 “Rebecca Novick: Tibetans take to the streetso ‘terrorist’ monk”

Last week, hundreds of Tibetans, young and old, began gathering in Kardze (Ch. Ganzi) prefecture in Sichuan Province to shout the name of a 59-year-old jailed monk, Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, according to sources who spoke with Radio Free Asia.

YONHAP NEWS

Dec. 10 “N. Korean H1N1 patients all children, receiving treatment: WHO”

North Koreans confirmed to have been infected with the H1N1 virus are all children and have been given anti-viral drugs while in quarantine, a Washington-based radio station said Thursday, citing the World Health Organization (WHO).

Radio Free Asia, citing the WHO office in Pyongyang, reported that the patients confirmed with Influenza A were all children aged from 11 to 14 and have been quarantined after receiving doses of Tamiflu.

HUFFINGTON POST

Dec. 9 “Libby Liu: Put Article 19 into Action in Asia”

… As the world marks the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Dec. 10, the principle of Article 19 - the right to "seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers" - still eludes billions in Asia.

… Nargis left an estimated 140,000 dead and millions in dire need of humanitarian aid. The survivors had to rely mainly on outside broadcasters such as Radio Free Asia, The Voice of America, and the BBC to find medical care, food, and clean drinking water.

THE TIMES OF LONDON

Dec. 9 “Defector reveals Dear Leader's network of escape tunnels”

The North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has a network of emergency escape tunnels connecting Pyongyang with key sites around the country, a defector has claimed.

… According to Hwang Jang Yop, formerly North Korea's chief political philosopher, they connect areas as far as 30 miles (48km) from Pyongyang, enabling the country's leaders to escape the capital and sail to China from a west coast port.

“There was fresh water and grass growing within an underground tunnel that linked Pyongyang to a nearby mountain,” Mr Hwang told Radio Free Asia, a station supported by the US Government, which broadcasts into North Korea for three hours a day.

PHAYUL

Dec. 8 “Tibetan youths protest for monk's release, several arrested: report”

An unknown number of Tibetans have been detained in Sichuan following a protest demanding the release of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a Tibetan Lama jailed in 2002 for alleged involvement in a series of bombings in Kardze County, the Radio Free Asia reported.

YONHAP NEWS

Dec. 5 “Nobel Laureate to give lecture at N. Korean university: RFA”

Nobel Laureate Peter Agre will give a special lecture to North Korean students and scientists during a visit to the communist country next week, a Radio Free Asia (RFA) broadcast picked up in Seoul on Saturday said.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Dec. 4 “Uighurs using missionary railway to flee China

An underground network of Christian missionaries that usually works with North Korean refugees says it has helped smuggle nearly two dozen Muslim Uighurs out of China following last summer's deadly ethnic violence and the subsequent government crackdown.

Radio Free Asia reported Friday that two of the Uighurs told the UNHCR they watched the July violence unfold. One said he feared retribution for taking photos.

PHNOM PENH POST

Dec. 4 “Licadho denies claims it inflamed land row”

Local rights group Licadho has sent a letter to the Siem Reap provincial government responding to Siem Reap Deputy Governor Bun Tharith’s statement that the group had incited villagers to construct shelters on disputed land in the province’s Chi Kraeng commune.

The letter, dated Tuesday, follows a Radio Free Asia interview with Bun Tharith during which the deputy governor aired the accusations.

KAISER DAILY GLOBAL HEALTH POLICY REPORT
Dec. 2 “Media Examines Global, Regional Responses To HIV/AIDS”

Radio Free Asia examines the growing number HIV cases reported among of gay men and sex workers in Asia (Mudie, 12/1).

KBS

Dec. 1 “RFA: Bosworth Could Propose Establishing Liaison Office in NK”

Radio Free Asia says U.S. special representative for North Korea policy Stephen Bosworth could propose the establishment of a liaison office when he visits North Korea next week.

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