Feb. 28 “Repeated calls for ‘jasmine strolls’ in China”
Repeated calls for “Jasmine Strolls” in Chinese cities, including Beijing, emanating from overseas Chinese web sites have added to the nervousness of the Chinese authorities.
… Radio Free Asia (RFA), funded by the US State Department, continues to disseminate guidance to the people of China as to how to circumvent Internet controls.
Feb. 28 “Chinese Police Crack Down on Foreign Reporters and Lawyers to Quell a ‘Jasmine Revolution’”
The ever-growing storm of demonstrations against authoritarian rulers in the Middle East and North Africa has made the Chinese regime extremely jittery.
… Witnesses said an American news videographer was kicked, repeatedly hit in the face with brooms, and taken into police custody, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported on Feb. 27.
Feb. 28 “Journalism rights group concerned over reports of Cambodian govt blocking critical websites”
The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by reports that Cambodian authorities have ordered local internet service providers to block a number of websites, including the popular KI Media news aggregator and commentary blog, that’s often very critical of the government.
… There were previous indications that KI Media was at risk of censorship. In mid-December, the blog's administrators directed readers to a Radio Free Asia story that outlined ways to circumvent online censorship.
Feb. 27 “Tibetans persecuted for banned songs in latest strike hard campaign”
More than 20 young Tibetans had been rounded up for downloading songs deemed to be “reactionary” during a, winter “Strike Hard” campaign in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), reported Radio Free Asia online (RFA, Washington) Feb 25.
Feb. 26 “Opinion: Nguyen Dan Que - In Vietnam, rights take a beating”
While the world's attention is riveted on the Middle East, democracy continues to struggle to take root in other regions. Only last summer, Vietnam and the United States celebrated the 15th anniversary of the reestablishment of diplomatic relations. The resumption of ties has proved profitable for Vietnam: The United States is its largest foreign investor, the countries have more than $15 billion in annual bilateral trade, and 13,000 Vietnamese nationals are attending college in America.
… [Nguyen Van] Ly told Radio Free Asia that police prevented Marchant from entering his house and pushed him to the ground when he tried to pass them.
KOREA TIMES (Also, CHOSUN ILBO, KBS, ARIRANG NEWS)
Feb. 25 “South to inform NK people of Mideast protests”
The Lee Myung-bak administration has been dropping pamphlets into North Korea about popular uprisings sweeping the Middle East along with food and other items as part of a stepped-up psychological warfare campaign, a minor opposition lawmaker said Friday.
... Radio Free Asia reported that the regime is beefing up surveillance in a bid to prevent news of the Mideast uprisings from seeping in.
Feb. 24 “Chinese official dismisses 'Jasmine' protest calls”
China faces no risk of succumbing to the kind of unrest that has rocked authoritarian governments across the Middle East, a senior Chinese official said, dismissing "Jasmine Revolution" calls as preposterous. The comments from Zhao Qizheng, a former head of the Chinese government's information office, were Beijing's most senior public response so far to online messages urging protests in Chinese cities.
… "It's almost as if the Arab world doesn't exist," the former aide, Bao Tong, wrote in a comment published by the website of Radio Free Asia (www.rfa.org), which is blocked in China.
CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR (Also, CHOSUN ILBO, KBS, YONHAP NEWS AGENCY, KOREA HERALD, KOREA TIMES, PHILIPPINES NEWS SERVICE, PRESS TRUST OF INDIA, ASIA PULSE)
Feb. 24 “South Korean farmers assess fallout of major outbreak of foot and mouth disease ”
An outbreak of foot and mouth disease has plunged the South Korean farming sector into crisis mode, threatening the livelihoods of a generation of farmers and hitting consumers.
… The country has already culled 3.33 million animals - including pigs, cattle, goats, and deer - according to a recent estimate. At 165 farms in Pocheon area alone, only about a fifth of an original 260,000 pigs remain, according to a representative of the local pig association. Foot and mouth is now also sweeping North Korea, threatening to deepen an already dire food situation there, according to Radio Free Asia.
COMMITTEE TO PROTECT JOURNALISTS
Feb. 23 “Cambodia orders popular blog blocked”
The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by reports that Cambodian authorities have ordered local Internet service providers to block a number of websites, including the popular KI Media news aggregator and commentary blog, considered critical of the government.
… In mid-December, the blog's administrators directed readers to a Radio Free Asia story that outlined ways to circumvent online censorship.
Feb. 17 “OPINION: Piercing N. Korea's news veil; Technology opens door to information”
North Korea's vicelike grip on the flow of information into and out of its secretive society is weakening, thanks to technology, the porous border with China and the North's crumbling economy, defectors and activists say.
… Activists said the work of ORNK and groups such as Radio Free Asia and North Korea Reform Radio undermine Pyongyang's state-run media, which greatly worries the regime leadership, who rigidly control even their own reporters.
CHOSUN ILBO (Also, KOREA TIMES)
Feb. 17 “Tanks 'Ready to Be Used Against Uprising in Pyongyang'”
The North Korean Army's Guard Command, a military unit tasked with protecting leader Kim Jong-il, is hiding scores of tanks in Pyongyang to quell any popular uprising, Radio Free Asia claimed Tuesday. The U.S.-funded radio station quoted a defector from Pyongyang as saying, "There is a battalion of about 50 tanks from the Guard Command in the Taedong River area in eastern Pyongyang. They stage a field exercise about once a year." He said the tanks used to move only at the night to escape public notice.
AFP (Also, IRISH TIMES, DEUTSCHE PRESSE AGENTUR)
Feb. 15 “Reporters roughed up near China activist's home”
Foreign reporters were roughed up this week as they tried to reach human rights activist Chen Guangcheng, who is under house arrest in eastern China, journalists said Wednesday.
… A number of Chen's Chinese supporters who have attempted to reach him have also been beaten, according to US-based rights group ChinaAid and Radio Free Asia.
YONHAP NEWS AGENCY (Also, ASIA PULSE, KBS)
Feb. 10 “N. Korea confirms foot-and-mouth outbreak”
North Korea confirmed on Thursday it has been hit with the livestock foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) that has killed thousands of animals.
… Earlier Thursday, the Radio Free Asia said North Korea reported an FMD outbreak to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. According to the report, the UN body was planning to send experts to North Korea "at an appropriate time" to help the reclusive communist country contain the contagious disease.
Feb. 10 “North Korea keeping mum about Egypt”
If there is one thing the ironfisted North Korean regime fears, it’s outside information ― and what that can do to its people.
… But despite the best efforts of the regime, many North Koreans are aware of the situation in Egypt through information they receive via mobile phones and the Internet, U.S.-funded Radio Free Asia reported.
Feb. 9 “Rebel Tibetan singer jailed for ‘subversive songs’ released”
China has released on Tuesday a popular Tibetan singer jailed for his songs that called for Tibetan independence, expressed nostalgia for the exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and remembered the Chinese government’s crackdown on Tibetans across Tibet in 2008. According to the Radio Free Asia, Tashi Dhondup, was freed from a Chinese jail in Xining early Tuesday.
KOREA TIMES (Also ARIRANG NEWS)
Feb. 9 “Animal feed with sand turns to soldiers' food”
The North Korea government is trying to ease the food crisis by importing Chinese livestock feed to feed the army. Pyongyang also requested the United States “to supply food,” saying that they are even “willing to let them monitor the distribution.”
Radio Free Asia, a private, nonprofit corporation that broadcasts news to closed societies, has reported that North Korea is disguising Chinese livestock feed into normal grain since late January, supplying them firstly to soldiers according to a source in Yanggang Province.
Feb. 8 “Arab color revolutions a source of concern to Chinese regime”
The popular revolutions in Egypt and in Tunisia have triggered a chain reaction. Citizens of Algeria, Jordan, and Yemen are also holding street protests condemning government corruption and demanding political rights. The response from Chinese state media indicates that communist party leaders may be worried that the wave of color revolution will expand to China—concerns that they have expressed for years.
… In a Radio Free Asia report “What the Middle East Has Taught China,” political commentator Hu Shaojiang said Zhongnanhai, the Communist Party’s leadership compound, has reasons to fear.
KOREA TIMES (Also, DONG-A ILBO)
Feb. 8 “Will US resume food aid to NK?”
Robert King, U.S. special envoy for North Korean human rights issues, said Tuesday that he and South Korean officials shared many ideas to “make progress” regarding North Korea.
… Citing an American diplomatic source, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported last week that the U.S. government has not yet decided whether humanitarian assistance to the North would resume, but discussions were taking place.