RFA in the News (July 2015)

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July 31 “A Voice From China’s Uighur Homeland, Reporting From the U.S.

IN December 1994, Shohret Hoshur, then a 29-year-old journalist in a remote corner of the far western Chinese region of Xinjiang, said goodbye to his homeland. After writing two articles in his native Uighur language that incensed the local authorities, he escaped using a false passport he bought for about $600. … Now a distinguished-looking 50 years old with gray invading his dark hair and mustache, Mr. Hoshur continues to report on Xinjiang from afar for Radio Free Asia, the news service funded by the United States government that broadcasts in Uighur on shortwave radio and publishes stories written in the language’s Arabic script on its website.


July 31 “Rights Advocates Oppose Beijing Winter Olympics Bid

On Friday July 31, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will meet in Kuala Lumpur to elect the host city for the 2022 Winter Olympics. Since Oslo withdrew its bid late last year, the contest has been between the capital cities of China and Kazakhstan. … Radio Free Asia recently interviewed Beijing-based activist Hu Jia, a signatory to the petition, on his opposition to the Olympic bid[.]


July 30 “N. Korean ambassadors add to missile speculation

North Korea’s ambassadors continue to fuel speculation regarding an upcoming missile launch, holding numerous press conferences discussing the DPRK’s preparations in recent days. According to an article from Radio Free Asia (RFA), North Korean Ambassador to the UN Seo Sae Pyung yesterday in Geneva reaffirmed the DPRK’s stance on future satellite launches.


July 30 “North Korea envoy defends Pyongyang's right to 'satellite launch'

A North Korean diplomat in Geneva said Pyongyang has a sovereign right to launch satellites and confirmed an "expansion" is underway at Sohae Satellite Launching Station. So Se Pyong, North Korea's ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, made the statement while suggesting Pyongyang may launch a long-range rocket to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Korean Workers' Party on Oct. 10, Radio Free Asia reported Thursday.


July 29 “China's crusade to remove crosses from churches 'is for safety concerns'

A Communist party campaign during which crosses have been stripped from the roofs of more than 1,200 Chinese churches is being conducted “for the sake of safety and beauty”, a government official has claimed. … “We are Protestant Christians, so by sending monks to chant sutras they were trying to get us riled up,” a member of one Zhejiang church told Radio Free Asia, a US-funded news website.


July 29 “Military helicopter in Laos carrying 23 remains missing

A military helicopter in Laos carrying 23 people has been missing for days, fueling speculation that the aircraft crashed soon after take-off. … "We cannot confirm whether the aircraft has crashed or had to execute an emergency landing, because we have no proof at this time," a Laos Air Force official told Radio Free Asia. "Higher level commanders will not allow us to confirm anything."


July 24 “Burmese journalists fined for defaming president Thein Sein

A Burmese court fined two journalists 1 million kyat (£550) each after they were convicted of defaming the country’s president, Thein Sein, reports Radio Free Asia (RFA). The former chief editor of the Myanmar Herald, Kyaw Swa Win, and the deputy chief editor, Ant Khaung Min (aka Win Ko Ko Oo), received the maximum fine for violating Burma’s controversial media law.


July 21 “Hong Kong barristers launch petition to defend detained lawyers in China

Thirteen former heads of Hong Kong’s prestigious Bar Association have launched a petition calling on Beijing to stop unlawful and arbitrary conduct towards lawyers on the mainland. According to the Hong Kong attorneys, Chinese human rights lawyers have been subjected to intimidation and harassment due to a nationwide crackdown, reports Radio Free Asia.


July 21 “Joint NK-Russia pharmaceutical company revamps operations

Python, a joint company between North Korea and Russia, which had manufactured health supplements during Kim Jong Il’s era, has recently renewed its contract and is set to manufacture products using materials produced in North Korea, Daily NK has learned. … Meanwhile, earlier on the 14th, Radio Free Asia [RFA], citing Russian internet publication ‘Business Buryatia,’ also reported that "North Korea and Russia are planning to co-produce medical products in Chita, a city in Eastern Siberia as early as before the end of this year."


July 19 “Family of deceased Tibetan monk held by police: reports

Police on Friday detained two family members of a deceased Tibetan monk, one day after his body was cremated in prison against his family’s wishes, a rights group and media said. … The US-funded Radio Free Asia (RFA), citing Tibetan sources, also reported that the pair, who RFA identified as 55-year-old Dolkar Lhamo and her daughter, Nyima Lhamo, were detained on Friday.


July 18 “China to Release Remaining 11 Tourists Detained Over Suspected Terrorist Ties

China has agreed to release nine tourists, who were arrested on Friday, July 10 in Inner Mongolia, according to a spokesman for two of the travelers. "I suspect that they probably discovered or had in their possession some information that the Chinese Communist Party doesn't like," Ma Haiyun told Radio Free Asia.


July 17 “Under Kim Jong Un, Propaganda Builds Around North Korean Local Elections

Local elections will be held in North Korea on Sunday for the first time under Kim Jong Un. A single candidate in each position for a district, chosen by the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland, the governing coalition led by the Workers' Party of North Korea, will be on the ballot. Abstaining in the election is considered treason, as is voting "no" through using a red pen on the ballot, according to City A.M. Unsurprisingly, the turnout in North Korean local elections is always close to 100 percent. … "I don't understand why [the authorities] need to blast so much propaganda when all are required to vote yes," a source in the North Hamkyong Province told Radio Free Asia, reports UPI.


July 17 “China cremates revered Tibetan monk against family wishes: groups

Chinese authorities have cremated the body of a revered Tibetan monk against his family's wishes, rights groups said, after protests erupted following news of his death in prison. Chinese authorities have cremated the body of a revered Tibetan monk against his family's wishes, rights groups said, after protests erupted following news of his death in prison. … The US-funded Radio Free Asia also reported that police fired on protesters, who were angry at a government decision to cremate his remains, rather than give him a traditional Tibetan burial.


July 15 “China is using televised confessions to shame detained lawyers, journalists, and activists

Over the past weekend, China’s police force began an unprecedented crackdown on human rights lawyers and others. The state media swung into action, too. On Sunday morning (July 12), national broadcaster CCTV aired a 10-minute video showing the confessions of a recently detained lawyer and two employees at his firm, Beijing Fengrui. … Liu had served in the case that drew the protests. One of his defenders told Radio Free Asia (link in Chinese) that Liu was tricked into the interview by a police officer who’d promised to not identify him or show his face on TV. Liu was not admitting his guilt, the defender explained, but apologizing for traffic congestion at the protest site.


July 14 “Protesters Seek Return of Body of Tibetan Monk Who Died in Jail

The death of a Tibetan spiritual leader in a Chinese jail on Sunday led to a violent protest by Tibetans demanding the return of his body to his family, according to news reports and an advocacy group. … Radio Free Asia, a news service based in Washington and funded by the United States government, also reported the confrontation, citing Tibetan sources in the region and in exile.


July 13 “Tibetan monk dies in Chinese prison: reports

A Tibetan monk died in a Chinese prison, a rights group and a report said Monday, 13 years into a sentence for terrorism and separatism observers said was deeply flawed. … Radio Free Asia, which is funded by the US government, also reported the death, quoting a source in Tibet as saying: "Chinese police informed his relatives that he was seriously ill and when they rushed to visit him, they were told he was already dead."


July 13 “NGOs in Cambodia to face regulation”

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Cambodia will come under a new regulatory system approved by the lower house of parliament Monday, amid criticism by human rights groups and Western embassies. … In June, Prime Minister Hun Sen dismissed foreign criticism as "a violation of Cambodia's sovereignty" and called for "respect for Cambodia’s decisions as an independent state and a UN member," Radio Free Asia reported.


July 12 “China Arrested More Than 100 Human-Rights Lawyers and Activists Over the Weekend

Chinese law-enforcement officials detained more than a hundred lawyers and political activists over the weekend in what appears to be a state crackdown on amplifying public dissent in the country. … One of the first lawyers arrested was Wang Yu, a prominent Beijing civil rights attorney. She went missing early Thursday morning after she returned home from dropping her family at the airport to find her electricity and wi-fi shut off. “Everyone knows that they have detained Wang Yu because she is an outstanding example of … a human-rights lawyer in China,” attorney Chen Jianggang told Radio Free Asia.

SLATE (Also in EFE)

July 9 “China’s War Against One American Journalist

In June 2014, Tudaxun Hoshur was put on trial in China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region for crimes against the Chinese state. Tudaxun, 39, hadn’t spoken with his family in nearly two months and had no way to tell them about his charges or how he had ended up in a Chinese detention facility. But he had befriended another detainee who was later released and told Tudaxun’s family why the Chinese government was holding him. Authorities weren’t interested in anything Tudaxun had done. Rather, they were asking him questions about the work his brother Shohret Hoshur, a U.S. citizen, was doing in Washington as a reporter for Radio Free Asia.


July 9 “Moxie Marlinspike: The Coder Who Encrypted Your Texts

In the past decade, Moxie Marlinspike has squatted on an abandoned island, toured the U.S. by hopping trains, he says, and earned the enmity of government officials for writing software. … With help from Mr. Schuler, Radio Free Asia’s Open Technology Fund, which is funded by the government and has a relationship with the State Department, granted Mr. Marlinspike more than $1.3 million between 2013 and 2014, according to the fund’s website.


July 7 “N. Korea seen to be examining its workers in foreign nations

North Korea is believed to be examining its workers employed abroad this month, a Unification Ministry official said Tuesday, amid reports that mid-ranking North Korean officials are seeking asylum. … According to a Radio Free Asia (RFA) report, North Korea has forcefully called in some of its workers in China, indicating that the communist country is tightening its grip on their activities.


July 7 “Human Rights Watch: Kim Jong Un must stand trial for abuses

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un must stand trial before an international tribunal for his crimes against humanity, a deputy director at Human Rights Watch said Wednesday. … [Phil] Robertson told Radio Free Asia that human rights violations against the North Korean people have been committed for three generations under the dynastic Kim regime and the present-day leader must stand trial for ongoing abuses.


July 7 “China, Turkey: friends or foes?

Whenever President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gets angry with the European Union over delays on Turkey’s accession, he frequently threatens to head to the Shanghai Five. … According to Radio Free Asia, on June 22 clashes broke out after a group attacked a police post at Tahtakoruk, attached to the town of Kashgar, with knives and explosives.


July 6 “China news in numbers: June 27-July 5

103,766 -- The number of women imprisoned in China during mid-2014. Between 2003 and 2013, women’s incarceration increased by 46 percent Radio Free Asia reports, for the most part due to crimes linked to poverty and gender-based violence.


July 3 “Turkey says to keep doors open for Uighur 'brothers', irking China

Turkey vowed on Friday to keep its doors open to ethnic Uighur migrants fleeing persecution in China, a stance likely to exacerbate Ankara's row with Beijing over its treatment of the largely Muslim, Turkic-language speaking minority. U.S.-based Radio Free Asia reported that 173 Uighur women and children had arrived in Istanbul this week from Thailand, where they had been detained for more than a year by immigration authorities for illegal entry.

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