RFA in the News (July 2008)



July 30 “Reporters barred from China village where mosque razed”

Chinese authorities on Wednesday barred AFP journalists from a village whose mosque was razed allegedly because locals did not support the Beijing Olympics…. China has acknowledged the mosque's destruction but has said it was torn down because the structure was illegally built. Radio Free Asia said it was built 10 years ago.


July 29 “IOC intervenes as media protest internet censorship”

The International Olympic Committee interceded Tuesday after journalists complained of Chinese censorship and low internet speeds at the main Olympic press centre.... Instead, the websites of international human rights organizations, China critics and the Chinese programmes by such international media outlets as Radio Free Asia and Deutsche Welle are blocked, just as

they are in other parts of China.


July 30 “‘Impossible to display’: China's censors block Olympic media”

Websites that deal with subjects deemed too sensitive by Chinese authorities were blocked at the Olympic media centre on Wednesday, undermining promises of unfettered Internet access….The websites of US broadcaster Radio Free Asia and German radio station Deutsche Welle, available in several languages, were also blocked by the Chinese authorities, along with the Chinese version of the BBC.


July 19 “Across China, Security Instead Of Celebration; Police Crack Down on 'Hostile Forces,' Apply New Safety Measures”

Shortly after dawn on July 9, the local government here bused several thousand students and office workers into a public square and lined them up in front of a vocational school. As the spectators watched, witnesses said, three prisoners were brought out. Then, an execution squad fired rifles at the three point-blank, killing them on the spot…Those executed here July 9 were among 17 people convicted in nearby Kashgar of being members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement. Radio Free Asia, the U.S.-funded broadcast service, said the others were sentenced to jail terms from 10 years to life.

The Wall Street Journal carried a review by Jonathan Mirsky on July 8 of the book, China’s Tibet? By Warren Smith, RFA Tibetan staff writer. Mirsky termed it “ an admirable, if discouraging, book. Admirable because it lays out in jargon-free language the political and cultural nature of the China-Tibet relationship. Author Warren Smith, who writes for Radio Free Asia's Tibetan Service, is also scrupulously fair, including complete policy statements from Beijing and the Dalai Lama's government-in-exile. The conflicting issues - - of China's claims on Tibet, and the Tibetans' wishes for more autonomy -- are plain.


On July 8, this Web site carried the full version of an RFA Khmer story with full credits listed, noting research input from RFA Cantonese. Entitled “China presence in Cambodia grows, it described China as “hungry for strategic influence and natural resources’ and now “asserting itself as a major investor in Cambodia, sparking concerns that a huge inflow of Chinese cash will fuel existing corruption and exploitation in one of the world's poorest countries.” Economists and activists related the history of the relationship between the countries and described how “in recent years, ethnic Chinese families close to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen have played a key role in putting Chinese companies, often with the backing of the Chinese state, in touch with top Cambodian officials. “ The official China News Agency reports that China has become one of the biggest investors in Cambodia; bilateral trade last year rose by 30% from 2006, to $730 million and Khmer Economists’ Association president says China offers a large market for Cambodian products which are exported through Vietnam and Thailand. Yet many activists fear that Chinese money tied up with massive agricultural and forestry exploitation projects is destroying traditional ways of life such as bamboo-harvesting and resin-tapping.

BBC Monitoring’s online Newsnight paid tribute in its blog to RFA’s newsgathering and reliable network of sources inside China saying, “I should also add that although some of the above reports are monitored from U.S. -backed station ‘Radio Free Asia’ I have found its reporting standards high and its ability to speak to reliable sources inside the

PRC pretty good.”

BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific, July 4, 2008 North Korea's nuclear dismantlement 'to cost 575m US dollars' - South paper. Carried text of report in English by South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo’s Web site on 4 July. [Original headline: "N.Korean Nuclear Dismantlement 'To Cost $575US Million'"] The US Congress has estimated that it will cost the country $575US million over the four years from 2009 to dismantle and replace North Korea's nuclear facilities,

Radio Free Asia [RFA] reported Thursday.