RFA in the News (December 2012)

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Dec. 27 “Chinese police arrest Tibetan self-immolator’s friend”

The friend of a Tibetan self-immolator is believed to have been arrested. Radio Free Asia reported that Pema Tsewang, a friend of Lhamo Kyab, who died after setting himself alight near Bora monastery in Sangchu county, Amdho, on October 20, was arrested hours after the incident took place.


Dec. 25 “Brother Says Gao Zhisheng Unreachable Through Xinjiang Prison”

For a year now, Chinese Christian rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng has been locked up in a jail in the remote Xinjiang region. His family recently received a letter, supposedly from Gao, asking them not to visit him. His wife told Radio Free Asia last Friday that they don't believe the letter is real. Gao's elder brother, Gao Zhiyi, has since been trying to reach him at the Sansha Prison where Gao is held.


Dec. 25 “Radio Free Asia: China loans ease Ukraine strain”

China has promised major loans to Ukraine as the country faces rising pressure from Russia over imported gas costs.


Dec. 23 “10 things you might not know about North Korea”

… 7 If you want to learn more about North Korea, just visit. Yes, despite being a member of the "Axis of Evil," North Korea accepts American tourists, if only a few thousand annually. Recently, Radio Free Asia reported that tourist visas were being approved in days instead of weeks. That said, the U.S. State Department offers up a lengthy warning to would-be tourists, noting among other things that it is a criminal act to show disrespect to the country's former or current leaders, and that unauthorized picture taking or talking to the locals can be construed as espionage.


Dec. 22 “Despite Ceasefire, Sexual Violence Continues in Shan State: Women’s Group”

For decades, mothers and daughters in Burma’s border areas have lived on high alert. While ethnic rebels in their homelands fought bloody wars with government troops, women of all ages were vulnerable to human rights abuses, including rape and other sexual violence, if caught by government soldiers. … The government’s chief peace negotiator, Minister Aung Min, reportedly discredited SHAN’s 2002 report about rape in a recent interview with Radio Free Asia, according to SHAN.


Dec. 20 “Wu Han Dissidents Claim Compensation”

Radio Free Asia cited a Chinese civil rights organization saying Qin Yongmin wrote a grievance letter to Qing Mountain District in Wu Han on Wednesday. The letter announced his lawsuit against the comprehensive management office of the Qing Mountain District government and two staff members of Qing Mountain District's Public Security Bureau for Qin's illegal detention.


Dec. 20 “China disappears five Tibetans after fellow-monk’s self-immolation”

Five monks of Bora monastery in Sangchu (Chinese: Xiahe) county of Kanlho (Gannan) Prefecture, Gansu Province, have been missing since Dec 3 when Chinese police took them away from the monastery, reported Radio Free Asia (Washington) Dec 18. The incident occurred a day after Bora monk Sungdu Kyap torched himself in protest against Chinese rule.


Dec. 18 “China religion crime China detains hundreds of Christian cult members Beijing”

Chinese police have arrested more than 500 members of an underground Christian church that the government has banned as an "evil cult," reports said on Tuesday. … About 40 others were detained last week after several hundred church members clashed with police in Zaocheng township, near the central city of Zhengzhou, US-based Radio Free Asia reported.


Dec. 18 “Int’l Aid to N.Korea Grows 30% This Year”

Radio Free Asia reports that the international community’s humanitarian aid to North Korea has grown 30 percent this year compared to last year. Citing a report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the U.S.-based broadcaster said that the international community has provided North Korea with aid worth 113 million dollars this year, marking a 30 percent increase from last year.


Dec. 14 “Tibetans sentenced over street protests; 5-year terms are imposed for rallies against booklets vilifying self-immolations”

A Chinese court has sentenced eight Tibetan students to prison for their role in last month's street protests that drew a thousand of their classmates and unnerved security forces already coping with a wave of self-immolations, many of them by young people who have become increasingly radicalized in their opposition to Chinese policies in their region, according to the International Campaign for Tibet, an advocacy group. … Infuriated by several passages, students from the Tsolho Professional Training School marched to a government building while chanting slogans that called for ''freedom'' and Tibetan language rights, according to Radio Free Asia.


Dec. 13 “Seoul says NK's satellite circling Earth ‘normally’”

North Korea's satellite delivered by its long-range rocket was circling the Earth with an orbital period of 95.4 minutes, Seoul's defense ministry said Thursday, but it was not yet known whether it was functioning properly. … Ahead of the launch, the North had sent missile scientists and equipment to some Asian nations in late November, such as China, Mongolia and Indonesia, according to the Washington-based Radio Free Asia and a senior source in Seoul.


Dec. 11 “Renowned former monk released on bail”

Prominent dissident Nyi Nyi Lwin, who spearheaded the monk-led protests in 2007, was released on bail Monday after being arrested by police earlier this month. … According to a report in Radio Free Asia, Nyi Nyi Lwin claims he was detained for “participating in a support campaign for the victims of a police crackdown on protesters against a China-backed copper mine involved in a land dispute in northwestern Burma.”


Dec. 10 “Two young Tibetans self-immolate in China

Two 23-year-old Tibetan men have died in restive areas of western China after separate self-immolation protests against Chinese rule, reports said. … Pema Dorjee also died late Saturday after a self-immolation in front of the doors to the Shitsang Monastery in Luchu, or Kanlho county, in the western province of Gansu, exile groups and US-based Radio Free Asia reported.


Dec. 9 “N. Korean scientists held back in isolation”

Photo Caption: A frame in the satellite photo taken by Geoeye Satellite Image on Dec. 4 shows trucks parked at the site of launch pad in Cheolsan, North Pyeongan Province. Experts told Radio Free Asia that the trucks either carry fuel for a North Korean rocket or equipment to fix it. The North said Sunday it was considering postponing the launch of a rocket.


Dec. 9 “Helvetas director forced to leave Laos”

Laos has expelled the director of the Swiss non-governmental organisation Helvetas, accusing her of criticising the government in a letter to donors in which she criticised the one-party regime for stifling public debate and making work for aid groups difficult. … “We are working in a challenging environment: this is a country governed by a single-party regime, where there is little space for meaningful democratic debate, and when taking advantage of that limited space, repercussions follow,” she said at the time according to Radio Free Asia.


Dec. 6 “Self-stabbed Tibet dead scrawled blood protest on wall”

A Tibetan youth in Tsoe (Chinese: Hezuo) City of Kanlho (Chinese: Ganna) Prefecture, Gansu Province, stabbed himself to death in the second week of Nov 2012 as China held its 18th five-yearly party congress in Beijing to announce its fifth generation Politburo Standing Committee of seven. As he bled, and before he died, the man, 30-year-old Jigme Tseten, wrote a protest note on a wall with his own blood, reported Radio Free Asia (Washington) Dec 4.


Dec. 6 “Hong Kong Shue Yan University: Journalism Students Head to Washington D.C. to Cover the U.S. Presidential Election”

After covering the Taiwan Presidential Elections this past January, the Department of Journalism and Communication organized and sponsored the "U.S. Presidential Election 2012: Hong Kong Shue Yan University Student Reporting Trip." … The students were hosted by the Voice of America and Radio Free Asia, where they observed how the professional reporters covered the election.


Dec. 6 “N. Korea finishes rocket installation”

North Korea finished installing the last and third stage of the long-range rocket on the launch pad yesterday and could launch it as early as next Monday, a Seoul government source said. … Analysing images provided by the US firm Geoeye Satellite Image, the Washington-based Radio Free Asia said Pyongyang might launch the rocket in the early part of the December 10-22 period, during which the North said it would fire the rocket.


Dec. 5 “China war veteran, 80, sent to labour camp: Son”

An 80 year old Chinese war veteran spent a year and a half in a "re-education" camp for trying to complain about a policeman, his son said Wednesday, the latest in a series of high-profile labour camp cases. … A government spokesman said in October that the re-education through labour system had "played an important role in keeping social order", but admitted that there were "problems" with the system which required reforms. A Chinese lawyer whose online petition for the abolition of the system collected 10,000 signatures was ordered by local authorities not to grant interviews to foreign media, Radio Free Asia reported on Tuesday.


Dec. 5 “Beijing organises 'red song' concert then cancels the event leaving singers out in the cold”

Radio Free Asia -- Beijing Bans 'Red Song' Concert Authorities in the Chinese capital have canceled a concert of Mao era revolutionary songs, likely due to their tainted association with fallen political star Bo Xilai, netizens and political commentators said on Tuesday.


Dec. 4 “Tibet’s Desperate Toll Keeps Climbing”

What pushes them to do it, these desperate Tibetans, more than 90 of them, dozens in recent days and another one on Monday, the ones drenching themselves in gasoline, sometimes even drinking the fuel beforehand, and then setting themselves on fire, their robes bursting into pennants of flame as they die such painful deaths, why, what is happening here? … My colleague Edward Wong reported on the death, and Radio Free Asia quoted an account of the immolation: “With his body on fire, he walked about 300 steps with hands folded in prayer posture, and raised slogans before he collapsed dead on the ground.”


Dec. 4 “Fleeing North Korea Through 'Asia's Underground Railroad'”

… In her book Escape from North Korea: The Untold Story of Asia's Underground Railroad, writer Melanie Kirkpatrick tells the harrowing stories of North Korean defectors who attempt to escape from a place she calls "hell on Earth."

… KIRKPATRICK: One of the things the United States could do better is get - it could have a strategy to get information into North Korea. We already support refugee-run radio stations that broadcast news into North Korea. We also support Radio Free Asia and Voice of America, which have excellent programs in getting news to North Korea. But there's more we could do, especially involving modern technology such as flash drives and, you know, cell phones.


Dec. 3 “Monywa copper mine protesters lack supplies”

… However, recent reports indicate China is growing wary of the rising rural demonstrations over land confiscation. The Chinese Ambassador to Burma said Beijing would stop backing the Monywa copper mine if the project did not benefit Burma, according to a Radio Free Asia report in October.


Dec. 2 “Self-immolations surge in Tibet
Twenty-eight people burned themselves to death in Tibet last month to protest Chinese rule, Students for a Free Tibet says. The latest self-immolation came Friday when a 29-year-old Tibetan man set himself ablaze in Ngaba, Radio Free Asia reported. The death was the 28th in November and the 90th since protests seeking Tibetan independence resumed in February 2009, the network said.

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