RFA in the News (February 2008)


February 26, 2008 Tuesday, Vietnam News Agency, Vietnam court rejects sentencing appeal of four "saboteurs"

HCM City (VNA) -The People's Supreme Court in Ho Chi Minh City on February 25 rejected four saboteurs' appeal of the sentences previously handed down by a provincial court… Taking advantage of spontaneous labour strikes in the country, in December 2006 Dien asked his son Chuong to role-play a worker to give a phone interview to Hoa Mai Club Radio and the Radio Free Asia (RFA), to distort facts, accusing that the Vietnamese authorities repressed workers and arrested demonstrators.

February 26, 2008 Tuesday, RSF urges China to release arrested rights activist

Text of press release by Paris-based media freedom organization Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF); carried on Canada NewsWire

Reporters Without Borders reiterates its call for the release of human rights activist Hu Jia, who will tomorrow begin his third month of detention by the Beijing public security bureau on a charge of inciting subversion of state authority, while his wife, Zeng Jinyan, and their baby girl, now three and a half months old, continue to be closely watched by the political police…..After being allowed to use her mobile phone again, his wife, Zeng Jinyan, was interviewed by Radio Free Asia on 21 February.

DPA, Feb 26, Vietnamese dissidents' sentences upheld

Hanoi - A Vietnamese court rejected the appeals of four activists jailed after they helped found an independent labour union and handed out pro-democracy leaflets, a judge confirmed Tuesday. Judge Nguyen Xuan Phat of Ho Chi Minh City's Supreme Court of Appeals said the court Monday upheld the sentences of the four activists to between 1.5 and 4.5 years in prison. According to press accounts, Tran Thi Le Hong, Phung Quang Quyen, Doan Van Dien, and his son Doan Huy Chuong had collected complaints of government land-rights violations and passed them on to Western news sources, including Radio Free Asia.

Japan Economic Newswire (Kyodo), February 25, 2008, Tibetans, Chinese police clashed at festival, 200 detained: report

A major clash took place last week between Chinese authorities and hundreds of Tibetans, who gathered for an annual prayer festival, in the Amdo region of eastern Tibet, with scores of monks temporarily detained, U.S.-based Radio Free Asia reported in its electronic edition Monday.

February 23, 2008, North Korea to get second batch of US heavy fuel oil in early March – Yonhap

SEOUL, Feb. 23 (Yonhap) - The United States plans to ship an additional 54,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil to North Korea in early March under a six-party deal aimed at denuclearizing the communist country, a US-funded radio station said Saturday…Radio Free Asia, based in Washington, said the second batch of US oil will arrive in North Korea in early March.

Foreign Relations, Feb 21, 2008, “Olympic Pressure on China” China’s Communist Party tightly controls media access and coverage…. “For foreign journalists, the worst that can

happen to them is they can throw them out of the country. Domestic journalists get thrown in jail,” says Dan Southerland, a vice president at Radio Free Asia and a former Asia correspondent. Southerland expresses doubts about the Olympics resulting in tangible press reforms, yet expresses hope that Chinese bloggers could present a challenge to media controls. In an article for the Jamestown Foundation, he credits bloggers with breaking the story of Wu Ping, a resident of the southern city of Chongqing who challenged authorities attempting to forcibly evict her.

Radio World, Feb 22, 2008, American Women in Radio and Television released the names of the 2008 annual Gracie Award winners. Gracie woulda been proud.…Also winning are Lia Knight, Jones Radio Networks’ “The Lia Show,” Outstanding Host in Entertainment; “Youth Voices From Katrina” to Youth Radio for Outstanding Documentary; “The World According to Giles and Moriarty” to CBS Radio News for Outstanding Interview Program; and “The Internet and Civil Rights in China” to Radio Free Asia’s Mandarin Service, for Outstanding Series.

Korea Times, February 21, 2008, US Diplomat to Help NK Concert

An American diplomat will go to North Korea to assist the New York Philharmonic concert slated for Feb. 26 in Pyongyang, according to a report….Meanwhile, the Department of State said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will not visit Pyongyang to attend the concert, denying reports of her attendance. Radio Free Asia (RFA) said Rice, who is scheduled to attend the inauguration ceremony of President Lee Myung-bak on Monday, will likely visit Pyongyang the next day for the concert in a bid to seek a breakthrough in the deadlocked six-nation nuclear talks.

Canada NewsWire, February 20, 2008

China - Hu Jia allowed visit by family, surveillance of home stepped upAfter imprisoned human rights activist Hu Jia was formally charged on 29 January, police stepped up surveillance of the home he shares with his wife in a Beijing apartment building. The police took over an apartment (No. 552) near the couple's apartment (No. 542) and three security cameras were installed in the grounds of the complex. Between four and eight policemen continue to be stationed permanently at the entrance to the building. According to Radio Free Asia, Hu Jia received a visit from his lawyer Li Jinsong in prison on 4 February. The lawyer said Hu showed no sign of being mistreated. His three cell-mates are non-political detainees.

Yonhap, February 15, 2008, N. Koreans, S. Koreans have similar TOEFL average: report

North Koreans have almost the same average score as South Koreans in the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), a Washington-based radio station reported Thursday. In the period of 2005-2006, the average score in the Internet-based TOEFL by North Korean nationals was 69 out of 120, slightly lower than South Korea's 72, Radio Free Asia said, quoting an unnamed publicity official of a U.S. institute providing the test.

The Christian Science Monitor, February 11, 2008 Burma's censors monitor Internet, newspapers - and poets

…Meanwhile, foreign shortwave radio services are enormously popular here [in Burma], with an estimated 40 percent of Burmese tuning in to the BBC, Voice of America Burmese broadcasts, Radio Free Asia, and the Democratic Voice of Burma. Small Chinese-made radios cost as little as $5.

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