RFA in the News (January 2018)

2018-02-05
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INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES

Jan. 31 “North Korea Cracking Down On Illegal Cell Phone Calls With Russian Devices: Report

… North Korea is cracking down on illegal cell phone calls with Russian made electronic devices according to Radio Free Asia (RFA).

DEMOCRATIC VOICE OF BURMA

Jan. 31 “Former child soldier says he will boycott future court proceedings

… The defendant Aung Ko Htwe, who was detained on 18 August, has been charged under section 505(b) of the Penal Code after he gave an interview to Radio Free Asia (RFA) recounting his experiences as a minor conscripted into the military.

YONHAP NEWS

Jan. 31 “Russian envoy has never made direct contact with N.K. leader: report

... During an interview with the Russian news agency Interfax, in Pyongyang on Jan. 10, Matsegora said he has not made any one-on-one contact with Kim since he arrived in the North's capital as ambassador in 2014, Radio Free Asia said.

ASIA TIMES

Jan. 31 “Beijing arms up Cambodia’s Hun Sen as West threatens sanctions

… “You don’t need to just threaten us, just do it now if you are brave enough … but don’t ever think that such sanctions would hurt us,” he was quoted by Radio Free Asia as saying.

OPEN CANADA

Jan. 30 “The hands feeding Kim Jong-un

… “Mongolia is in need of large-scale foreign investment, and it wouldn’t be easy to bring in investors if there are North Korean workers in the country,” explained an unnamed Mongolian source to Radio Free Asia

YONHAP NEWS (also in KOREA HERALD, UPI, STRAIT TIMES)

Jan. 30 “North Korea producing garments at closed inter-Korean industrial park: report

… Tokyo-based Asia Press International (API) reported that it had surveyed the distribution process of clothing produced at the Kaesong Industrial Complex in the North's border city of Kaesong, through multiple North Korean sources, according to Radio Free Asia.

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH

Jan. 30 “Vietnam: Drop Charges, Release Democracy Activists

… He told a reporter at Radio Free Asia that he read almost 1,000 labor contracts in which [Vietnamese workers] are not allowed to “join any party or organization, participate in any protest, love and marry any foreigner.”

DIPLOMAT

Jan 30 “Beware the Destruction of Civil Society in Laos

… Radio Free Asia, on January 24, reported as much, outlining what the new decree requires of CSOs

HANKYOREH

Jan. 29 Working-level preparations for inter-Korean events entering final stages

… Radio Free Asia reported on Jan. 27 that Chongryon plans to send an initial cheering squad of 100 members to arrive in South Korea for a five-day visit on Feb. 8, the day before the opening ceremony, followed by additional squads of 40 and 30 members on Feb. 11 and 23, respectively.

HONG KONG FREEDOM PRESS

Jan. 29 “Chinese lawyer Yu Wensheng held in secret location on ‘subversion’ charges after urging constitutional reform

Responding to the change in Yu’s charges, Yu’s lawyer Huang Hanzhong told US-backed Radio Free Asia on Sunday: “Last night the authorities summoned Yu Wensheng’s wife again, and notified her that the crime he was being held for was changed.”

CNN

Jan 29 “Asia’s strongmen follow Trump’s lead on fake news

… In Cambodia, two journalists who had worked for the US Congress-funded outlet Radio Free Asia, Uon Chhin and Yeang Sothearin, were detained on espionage charges, RFA reported late last year.

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH

Jan. 29 “Submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security on Espionage and Foreign Interference Bill 2017

… In August 2017, the government revoked radio licenses for stations broadcasting Voice of America and Radio Free Asia(RFA), forcing RFA’s Cambodian bureau to close.

ASIA CORRESPONDENT (also in FOX, AXIOS, WESTERN JOURNAL, GLOBAL NEWS, TELEGRAPH, JAPAN NEWS,INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES, LIPUTAN6)

Jan. 26 “Kim Jong Un’s slush fund running out as he blows all his money on weapons

FOLLOWING a series of nuclear weapons and missile tests, a critical slush fund controlled by North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un is nearly empty, leaving the Supreme Leader looking for new ways to bolster the economy of the isolated regime, according to Radio Free Asia (RFA).

PHNOM PENH POST

Jan. 26 “Relatives of RFA journos questioned

The defence lawyer for two former Radio Free Asia reporters detained for alleged “espionage” said yesterday that the court had questioned their relatives as witnesses to prove their innocence.

GUARDIAN (also in GULF NEWS, INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES, SPUTNIK, TELEGRAPH)

Jan. 25 “China 'holding at least 120,000 Uighurs in re-education camps'

… Radio Free Asia (RFA), a US-backed news group whose journalists have produced some of the most detailed reporting on the heavily securitised region of Xinjiang, said it obtained the figure from a security official in Kashgar, a city in China’s far west that has been the focus of a major crackdown.

PHNOM PENH POST (also in KHMER TIMES)

Jan. 24 “Court summons union leader Chea Mony for second time

… The former Free Trade Union leader is being sued by 120 pro-government union representatives after allegedly calling on the United States and European Union to consider economic sanctions in response to the government's recent crackdown on the opposition. The remarks were made during a Radio Free Asia interview.

ASIA TIMES

Jan. 24 “Unchecked and unopposed, Hun Sen is all powerful

… Lu Laysreng, a former deputy prime minister of the royalist Funcinpec party who fled Cambodia last year, told Radio Free Asia in November he thinks that while many CPP officials don’t publicly question Hun Sen, they are privately concerned about the direction he’s taking the party.

ASEAN TODAY

Jan. 24 “Will it be the end of Hun Sen era

… This decline has made it hard for politicians and civil society to oppose and critique Hun Sen’s rule. Since August, the government has closed 19 radio stations. These included Radio Free Asia and Voice of America.

UNITED NEWS OF INDIA

Jan. 23 China orders Tibetan pilgrims in India and Nepal to return

… The recall order was for all Tibetans living in those counties under Sichuan province, predominantly the Kham area, such as Dege, Minyak and probably all other counties,” a Tibetan living in Nepal told Radio Free Asia’s Tibetan Service on Sunday.

KBS WORLD RADIO

Jan. 23 “'No Unconstitutional Strike against North Korea Act' Submitted to US House

… Radio Free Asia (RFA) said Tuesday that the “No Unconstitutional Strike against North Korea Act” seeks to block federal government agencies, including the Pentagon, from executing budgets related to conducting preemptive strikes against the North.

PHNOM PENH POST

Jan. 22 “Hun Sen chides Cambodia Daily, lauds Trump

… The annual event, in which the premier addressed more than 3,000 members of the media on Koh Pich, follows a crackdown in the Kingdom that saw more than a dozen radio outlets and in-country operations for US-funded Radio Free Asia shuttered, as well as the closing of the Cambodia Daily over back taxes.

PHNOM PENH POST

Jan. 22 “Unionists mark anniversary of Chea Vichea killing, while brother skips court

… He is now facing legal hassles after he told Radio Free Asia that the European Union and United States should consider economic sanctions on the country following the widely condemned dissolution of the Cambodia National Rescue Party in November.

WASHINGTON POST

Jan. 19 “China’s thought police are extending their reach

… In 2014 and 2015, Chinese officials arrested three brothers of Shohret Hoshur, a Washington-based Radio Free Asiajournalist who had reported on the intensified crackdown on the Uighur ethnic minority in China’s far northwest.

PHNOM PENH POST

Jan. 19 “Women’s FM station suspended

… WMC also broadcast Voice of America and Radio Free Asia programs until the government shuttered nearly 20 stations in August for doing so without permission.”

COMMITTEE TO PROTECT JOURNALISTS

Jan. 18 “Wife of critical Chinese-American journalist disappears in China

… Li was taken from her home in Guangzhou city, according to a Radio Free Asia interview with Chen.

YONHAP NEWS

Jan. 18 “N. Korea introduces highway toll system

… In a Monday letter, the North Korean authorities notified foreign embassies and international organizations' missions of their plan to levy tolls at main expressways, Radio Free Asia said, citing an unnamed diplomat stationed in Pyongyang.

MYANMAR TIMES

Jan. 18 “Case against former child soldier to continue, court says

… The Dagon Seikkan township court on Wednesday decided to continue hearing the case against a former child soldier who narrated his experiences as a minor in the Tatmadaw to Radio Free Asia (RFA) news.

DEMOCRATIC VOICE OF BURMA

Jan. 17Incitement trial against former child soldier will continue, judge rules

… The former child soldier Aung Ko Htwe, his lawyer and family members had thought the judge might rule against continuing the trial, in which the defendant has been charged under section 505(b) of the Penal Code after he gave an interview to Radio Free Asia (RFA) recounting his experiences as a minor conscripted into the military.

PHNOM PENH POST

Jan. 17 “Gov’t to investigate ‘rescue movement’ as spokesman gloats that no one would dare lead protests now

… In a Radio Free Asia interview in the US on Monday, Rainsy said that the remnants of the CNRP will not seek to contest the election through a proxy party, but will instead advocate for protests.

UCA NEWS

Jan. 16 “China arrests leading Uyghur intellectual

… His whereabouts were unknown amid an investigation into his alleged “acts against the state,” Zumret Tursun, a Norway-based Uyghur activist told Radio Free Asia.

TAIWAN NEWS (also in FOCUS TAIWAN)

Jan. 16 “MOFA confirms Chinese dissident arriving in US after four-year detention in Taiwan

… All the people were repatriated to China except for Wang, who stayed in Taiwan. According to Radio Free Asia (RFA), Wang arrived in Washington, D.C. last Friday.

ASIA TIMES

Jan. 14 “Where will Vietnam’s corruption crackdown end?

… A university lecturer in Hanoi told the Washington-based Radio Free Asia’s Vietnamese language service that she felt pity for Thang and that his trial made her sad rather than happy.

DIPLOMAT (also in HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, FAIR OBSERVER)

Jan. 12Cambodia and China: Rewriting (and Repeating) History

… Gone too were radio programs from the U.S.-run Voice of America and Radio Free Asia — along with two of their reporters, who were imprisoned for “espionage” — but not those of Radio France International.

FREE MUSE

Jan. 12 “China: Artist Arrested, Released on Bail After Fleeing Beijing

… Further, city authorities have issued an eviction notice for the artist who resides in Beijing’s Songzhuang Artists’ Village, reported Radio Free Asia on 1 January 2018.

TIMES (UK)

Jan. 12 “Communist officials move in with Uighur Muslims to promote ‘unity’

… The latest round was last month. Last October, when another round took place, Radio Free Asia reported that party officials were stopping their hosts from practising religion.

UPI

Jan. 10 “Myanmar Military Admits to Killing 10 Rohingya Found in Mass Grave

… Some villagers from Inn Din village and security forces confessed they killed 10 Bengali terrorists,” a translation of the Facebook post said, according to Radio Free Asia.

NK WORLD (Also in EPOCH TIMES, CHRISTIAN TIMES, CHRISTIAN DAILY)

Jan. 11 “Chinese authorities blow up Christian church

… US government-backed Radio Free Asia says the church had come under strict monitoring by local authorities.

WORLDCRUNCH

Jan. 10 “Wife of Chinese Activist Petitions To Live In Jail with Husband

… But the wife of Liu Yao, a Chinese human rights defense lawyer recently condemned to a 20-year sentence in the southern province of Guangdong, has taken another recourse: Lai Wei'e has applied to be allowed to live inside prison with her jailed husband, Radio Free Asia's Chinese website reports.

MODERN GHANA

Jan. 10 “To Liberate Cambodia

… In fact, Radio Free Asia keeps a record of ‘Cambodian Opposition Politicians and Activists Behind Bars’ for activities that the dictatorship does not like, including defending human rights, land rights and the natural environment.

KHMER TIMES (also in PHNOM PENH POST)

Jan. 9 “Former union leader summoned to court

… The complaint said Mr Mony, a member of the Watch Council of Cambodia and a former president of the Free Trade Union, had been speaking with the US-based Radio Free Asia and appealed to the EU to put sanctions on the government and stop ordering clothing from Cambodia.

BUSINESS INSIDER (also in SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST)

Jan. 9 “Affluent North Koreans are using Uber-like Taxis on Demand

… Potential workers are even paying bribes to secure a driver job, according to Radio Free Asia.

AMERICAN INTEREST

Jan. 8 “Cambodia’s Python Regime

… In Cambodia my focus was the Khmer services of Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Asia (RFA).  … Both services had been in Cambodia for decades—VOA since 1962, RFA since 1997—and over that time they had grown to fill complementary niches.

THE DIPLOMAT

Jan. 5 “With its Environmental Crisis, is Laos Missing the Forest for the Trees?

… Seng Viyaketh vehemently denied the charges to Radio Free Asia, who followed the case closely, but authorities were determined to make an example of the pair.

HUFFINGTON POST

Jan. 5 “Asia – the Need to Know: Getting used to “Hmmm … can’t reach this …

… The websites of what some in Hanoi describe as the “American propaganda channels” - Radio Free Asia and Voice of America are blocked. But a quick switch to Facebook and their content is available. If they are of a mind to, Vietnamese viewers can watch Vietnamese language newscasts from RFA or VOA on YouTube.

IHS JANE’S COUNTRY RISK DAILY REPORT

Jan. 4 “Airport petrol bomb plot almost certainly isolated incident, does not indicate risk to Vietnamese airports, transport infrastructure

… According to Radio Free Asia and Reuters, the group intended to remotely detonate two improvised explosive devices in Tan Son Nhat International Airport, Vietnam’s busiest airport, on 22 April 2017.

YONHAP

Jan. 4 “U.S. reluctant to comment on inter-Korean dialogue

… "We continue to remain in close contact with (South Korea) about a unified response to North Korea," Radio Free Asiaquoted Katina Adams, a spokeswoman for the State Department's Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, as saying when asked to comment on the resumption of the inter-Korean hotline the previous day.

DHAKA TRIBUNE (Also in MYANMAR TIMES)

Jan. 4 “Bangladesh to collect data next week for Rohingya repatriation

… The commissioner of the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission (RRRC), Abul Kalam, said he received the forms from Myanmar for collecting the data earlier this week, reports Radio Free Asia.

PHNOM PENH POST

Jan. 3 “Hun Sen lashes out at journos, analysts over comments on reform record

… Critical voices in the Kingdom have been severely curtailed. Since August, more than a dozen radio stations were abruptly shuttered, purportedly for selling airtime to independent broadcasters like Radio Free Asia, Voice of Democracy and Voice of America without informing the Information Ministry.

PHNOM PENH POST

Jan. 3 “Journalist jailed in Egypt backs petition to free Ricketson

… Last month the Committee to Protect Journalists reported 262 journalists were imprisoned worldwide, with Cambodia making the list after authorities arrested two former Radio Free Asia journalists in November, also on allegations of “espionage”.

PHNOM PENH POST

Jan. 2 “Sonando claims resignation letter only posted to ‘test’ reaction

… But Sonando said his radio station still maintained the same standards, though he admitted it had struggled recently after the government prohibited it from broadcasting Voice of America and Radio Free Asia.

NIKKEI ASIAN REVIEW

Jan. 2 “Freedom of speech takes a drubbing in Southeast Asia

… U.S.-affiliated Radio Free Asia was also forced to close its Phnom Penh bureau. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen's government made demands of both, including payment of huge "taxes." The government is increasingly intolerant of anyone who opposes it. The leader of the main opposition party was arrested on treason charges. In a statement released Sept. 12, Libby Liu, president of Radio Free Asia, said: "It has become increasingly apparent that Prime Minister Hun Sen has no intention of allowing free media to continue operating inside the country ahead of the 2018 elections.

PHNOM PENH POST (Also in LATIN AMERICAN HERALD TRIBUNE)

Jan. 2 “RCAF chief claims, without evidence, that dissolved CNRP is preparing for war

… Saroeun yesterday also took shots at shuttered independent news sources Cambodia Daily and Radio Free Asia. Claiming both media outlets criticised him personally, Saroeun said the “situation now is better” without them.

PHNOM PENH POST

Jan. 1 “Jailed ex-RFA reporters to appeal detention at Supreme Court

The defence lawyer for two former Radio Free Asia reporters will file an appeal with the Supreme Court tomorrow challenging their detention on charges of “espionage”. The Appeal Court upheld their pre-trial detention last week.

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