RFA in the News (December 2010)

2011-01-02
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KOREA JOONGANG DAILY (Also in YONHAP, CHOSUN ILBO, KOREA HERALD, KOREA TIMES, HANKYOREH, BUSINESS INSIDER, ASIA PULSE)

Dec. 31 “North practices to seize 5 border islands: Report”
North Korea has been training its special forces for a surprise attack on South Korea’s western border islands, going so far as to simulate a takeover of them, according to Radio Free Asia yesterday.
“From mid-December, divisions within North Korea’s navy, like the sharpshooting brigade and reconnaissance bureau, have been involved in landing drills in the waters off the coast of Nampo,” RFA said, citing a source in China well-informed about North Korea.

HUFFINGTON POST

Dec. 29 “Zhao Lianhai, 'Toxic Milk' Protest Father, Freed In China: Report”

Mystery over the whereabouts of a grieving Chinese father believed to have been freed from jail after protesting 2008's tainted milk scandal continues to swirl.

… A blog posting written in the 38-year-old Zhao's name said he had been released out of concern for his health and wanted to be left alone. “I recognize the punishment handed down to me by the judicial departments, and I hope that people won't bring up this subject much with us now,” Radio Free Asia (RFA) quotes the message as reading.

ASSOCIATED PRESS (Also in PHNOM PENH POST, WASHINGTON POST)

Dec. 28 “Report: Laos deports Uighurs back to China”

A media report says Laos has deported seven Uighurs who fled China after ethnic riots last year, raising concerns over the treatment of Uighurs forcibly returned to face prosecution by the Chinese government. The U.S.-funded broadcaster Radio Free Asia said that the Laotian government arrested Memet Eli Rozi, his wife Gulbahar Sadiq, and their five children in the country in March and deported them back to China. The report was based on an interview conducted last week with Gulbahar Sadiq, who was now back in western Xinjiang.

KOREA TIMES

Dec. 28 “International aid to NK decreases this year”

International humanitarian aid to North Korea diminished this year, totaling only 34 percent of that the international community donated to the North last year. Quoting the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, an arm of the U.N. Secretariat aimed at coordinating humanitarian acts around the world, Radio Free Asia reported the amount of humanitarian aid to North Korea this year was $20.6 million.

NEW YORK TIMES (Also in ASSOCIATED PRESS, TIME, CNN, TAIPEI TIMES, RADIO AUSTRALIA, HINDUSTAN TIMES, WTOP, WGN, SUN SENTINEL, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE)

Dec. 24 “Editor said to get life sentence for Uighur reports”

An ethnic Uighur journalist working for state radio has been sentenced to life in prison on charges that he spread subversive information around the time of deadly rioting in the western region of Xinjiang last year, a Uighur exile group said Friday.

… An earlier report by Radio Free Asia had more details on the sentencing, citing a letter written by a friend of Mr. Abdulla. The report said the authorities were angered by the fact that Mr. Abdulla had translated a call by the World Uyghur Congress for Uighur exiles to protest ethnic violence against Uighur workers that took place in a factory in Guangdong Province on June 26, 2009. Mr. Abdulla saw the call posted on a Chinese Web site and translated it into Uighur for Salkin, the report said.

CHOSUN ILBO

Dec. 23 “Chinese movie 'embodies Kim Jong-un's great-nation dream”

North Korean heir-apparent Kim Jong-un has hailed the Chinese film "The Rise of the Great Nations," saying it embodied his own dreams, Radio Free Asia reported Wednesday. Kim was quoted as saying he could watch the movie over and over again.

NEWSWEEK

Dec. 21 “Interview: Aung San Suu Kyi”

You spent much of your time under house arrest listening to the radio. What do you like to listen to?

Listening to political programs was a duty, a job. But cultural programs I enjoy. I listen a lot to the BBC World Service, but for some reason they don’t seem to have very many music programs these days. Maybe they came on at the times I was listening to Burmese-language BBC and Radio Free Asia. I listen at least six hours every day. There were so many shocking bits of news all the time.

PHNOM PENH POST

Dec. 20 “Analysis: Inside perspective on Uighurs”

… On December 18 – a Friday evening – Cambodian police rounded up the 20 Uighurs, including two young children, at gunpoint from a Phnom Penh safe house jointly administered by the UN and the Cambodian government. Beating those who resisted, the police forced them into police vans and drove off.

… Yusup (a pseudonym) was one of the Uighur asylum seekers. I had met him in November, together with a refugee lawyer. He told us of being slapped, kicked in the head and stomach and beaten on the head with wooden clubs by guards in a detention center in Xinjiang before being sentenced to a year in a “re-education through labour” camp. He had been arrested after sending emails to Radio Free Asia about the government’s mistreatment of Uighurs.

KOREA HERALD

Dec. 15 “OPINION: Changes brewing in ‘not so isolated’ North”

Although not so explicitly, the communist North Korea appears to be becoming more aware of capitalist cultures and trends, a change the Kim Jong-il regime has feared the most and tried to prevent for decades.

… North Korea has recently been escalating investigations near national border regions after a group of 20-somethings were arrested for watching copies of foreign films that included a clip about Pyongyang’s Nov. 23 artillery attack, Washington-based Radio Free Asia reported.

BRUNNEI TIMES (Also in ASIA ONE)

Dec. 11 “The hope that Suu Kyi holds out”

The release of democratic icon Aung San Suu Kyi from nearly two decades of detention may have given hope to the people of military-ruled Myanmar.

… “We have constantly reviewed our position with regard to sanctions and once again, we are going to see if there is anything we can do to improve the situation,” said Suu Kyi in a question and answer programme which was broadcast by the US-funded Radio Free Asia last November 30.

ASIA NEWS (Also in SPERO NEWS)

Dec. 11 “China: Tibet: Thousands of Tibetans evicted to make way for Lhundrub dam”

More than 4 thousand residents in Phodo, Lhundrub County just above Lhasa, will be driven from home to build a hydroelectric project in the area. … Local sources tell Radio Free Asia that “the Chinese are building bridges and blocking the river.”

DEUTSCHE PRESSE AGENTUR

Dec. 8 “Aung San Suu Kyi bio-pic wraps shooting in Thailand”

Location shooting for a biographical movie about democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi is wrapping up this week as French filmmakers use Thailand to stand in for Myanmar, news reports said Wednesday.

… While location shooting was underway in Thailand, Yeoh, 48, travelled to neighbouring Myanmar, also known as Burma, and visited Suu Kyi, 65, and members of her National League for Democracy (NLD), according to Radio Free Asia’s (RFA's) Burmese service.

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE (Also in BANGKOK POST, SINGAPORE STRAITS TIMES, CHANNEL NEWS ASIA, CHENNAI NEWS)

Dec. 6 “Myanmar people get Q and A with Suu Kyi”

Radio Free Asia has launched a question and answer show with Aung San Suu Kyi, giving the people of military-ruled Myanmar the rarest of opportunities to communicate directly with the democracy icon.

The US-funded broadcaster is airing weekly Burmese-language segments on Friday evenings with the 65-year-old opposition leader, who has been under house arrest for 15 of the last 21 years and was last released in November.

BANGOR DAILY NEWS

Dec. 6 “China and the Internet”

China's control of the news that reaches its people largely has succeeded in the print media. The government blacks out or shapes the way sensitive events and issues are published. But the flourishing Internet, with its Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, has become a new and threatening medium that often defies government control.

… A blog called RFA Unplugged, written by the staff of Radio Free Asia, reported in October that senior members of China's Communist Party had sent a letter to the government calling for free speech and free access to information including what is carried on the Internet. Censors clamped down on news of the letter, but it's a safe bet that the full text soon was circulating throughout China.

EPOCH TIMES

Dec. 5 “China blocks WikiLeaks”

When WikiLeaks released Nov. 29 classified documents involving sensitive issues in China, the communist regime’s Central Propaganda Department (CPD) ordered: “No news reports about the WikiLeaks.”

Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported that, previously, China commended WikiLeaks for publishing nearly 400,000 documents in October of classified information about the Iraq War. QQ.com, the largest web portal in China, published an article about these documents that was sent to its over 100 million users. The incident was acclaimed by Chinese netizens as the highest level news publication in China.

KBS WORLD NEWS

Dec. 3 “N.Korean Public Angered by Disruptions to Life from Military Tension”

Radio Free Asia has reported that Pyeongyang’s steady mounting of military tension from immediately before its artillery attack on South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island has bred resentment among North Koreans towards North Korean leadership’s heir-apparent Kim Jong-un.

RFA quoted a source in North Korea to report that two days before the attack, the Workers’ Party of Korea Central Military Commission issued an emergency order on concentrating electricity to military bases and facilities. This completely cut off electricity supply to the public.

DEUTSCHE PRESSE AGENTUR

Dec. 2 “Chinese artist detained”

China’s border police have prevented renowned artist Ai Weiwei and dissident economist Mao Yushi from leaving China, Ai and a news report said Friday.

… Mao said he was detained at the same airport Thursday afternoon as he was about to fly to Singapore for a conference. “They told me I was a dangerous element,” Mao told the US broadcaster Radio Free Asia.

KOREA TIMES (Also in KBS WORLD NEWS)

Dec. 2 “‘North Korea could target mainland next’”

Future attacks by North Korea could target mainland South Korea, not a border island, a Japanese newspaper reported as the South remains on its highest alert after Pyongyang’s deadly shelling of Yeonpyeong Island.

… Meanwhile, Radio Free Asia reported that the North appears to be readying its military at a West Sea base. Citing a well-informed source, RFA reported that additional commanders have been dispatched to the base in South Hwanghae Province to check on the preparedness of soldiers there, who are operating under a special state of readiness.

ARIRANG TV

Dec. 1 “Pyeongyang Reportedly Spreading Propaganda that Kim Jong-un Orchestrated Attack”

North Koreans are reportedly being told that Kim Jong-il's youngest son and heir apparent, Kim Jong-un, masterminded the November 23rd shelling of South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island as a means to chastise Seoul for carrying out what Pyeongyang refers to as “continuous provocation.”
Broadcasting the accounts of unnamed sources in North Korea, Washington-based Radio Free Asia reported on Wednesday that the reclusive regime is spreading such propaganda to its people suggesting that the likely successor has “castigated the enemy for its continuous provocative acts.”

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