RFA in the News (July 2014)

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July 31 “China's food safety: rotten meat and gutter

China's food safety problems are nothing new. In light of the recent expired meat scandal with the OSI Company in Shanghai, Eye on China highlights some other food safety issues such as the use of gutter oil as cooking oil, fermented garbage as fertilizer and fake soy milk. Tune into Eye on China as host Natalie Tso speaks with Shiny Li, whose investigative team at Radio Free Asia discovered some stomach-turning findings in their series Poisoned at the Source.


July 31 “Imam in China Who Defended Party’s Policies in Xinjiang Is Stabbed to Death

The head of China’s largest mosque, a vocal defender of the Communist Party’s ethnic policies in the troubled region of Xinjiang, was stabbed to death Wednesday in the Silk Road city of Kashgar, state media reported on Thursday. … Radio Free Asia, quoting local officials, said the attack was probably in retaliation for the official’s role in rounding up residents during prayer services at a local mosque who were being sought for their role in an earlier skirmish with the police.


July 31 “How Do University Students Spend Summer Break?

Summer break for university students can mean local and international trips to expand horizons, supplemental studies, internships, or volunteer activities to gain experience for the future. With graduation imminent, many may turn to focus on the search for a job. … According to a 2010 report by Radio Free Asia, college students contributed to large scale efforts to combat flood damage that year.


July 31 “If you like killing time on social networks, China has a job for you

There are now roughly 2 million people in China who work as public opinion analysts, and the market for new jobs is growing by 50 percent every year. Most of the analysts work for various government departments, but private firms are now joining the race, too. … In an interview with Radio Free Asia, freelance writer Zan Aizong from Zhejiang province described Internet public opinion analysts as the “Senior Fifty-Cent Party" because many public opinion analysts have worked in other government positions before.


July 30 “OPINION: Brad Adams Missed the Point about the “July 22, 2014 Agreement” Especially the Potential New NEC and Its 9th Member

Brad Adams, in his interview with Chi Vita posted on Radio Free Asia website dated July 28, 2014, has launched a pre-emptive strike to derail a good chance for the people of Cambodia to have a new National Election Committee (NEC).


July 30 “North Korea trying to court foreign professors

North Korea, once noted for keeping its citizens insulated from the outside world, has recently drawn attention for allowing direct communication between foreigners and residents. … Radio Free Asia (FRA) reported that North Korea is searching for a native Dutch speaker to teach children in North Korea. They believe that North Korea students educated in Dutch will be able to guide European tourists in the future.


July 30 “N. Korea to send six reporters to Incheon Asiad: ABU

North Korea plans to send a six-member media team to the South Korean city of Incheon next month for the coverage of the Asian Games, a news report said Wednesday.

Last week, Pyongyang sent a letter to the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) requesting cooperation on its plan, according to Radio Free Asia (RFA), a Washington-based network.


July 28 “OPINION: Martha Bayles -- Putin’s propaganda highlights need for public diplomacy

Over the last six months, the Russian propaganda machine has pursued a two-pronged strategy toward its domestic audience. The first prong, used to justify Russia’s takeover of Crimea, is a replay of what Hitler called the “Big Lie” — a false historical narrative in which the pro-democracy forces in Ukraine are portrayed as US-backed fascists out to commit genocide against ethnic Russians. … This is best done in a live setting, but to reach large populations it is necessary to use whatever media platforms are prevalent in a given region. This is what VOA and other government-sponsored broadcasters do well. Just to cite one example, the most popular international radio channel in Cambodia, the Khmer-language service of Radio Free Asia, uses Internet and FM in Phnom Penh but shortwave in the countryside.


July 28 “North Korean pirate radio: homemade devices deliver banned broadcasts

“This is the living proof that North Koreans are strongly intent on learning about the outside world,” says Kim Seung-chul of North Korea Reform Radio, which produces daily broadcasts for North Koreans to "encourage the development of independent public opinion inside the country." … Using this homemade radio, Park says he could access Voice Of America, Radio Free Asia, North Korea Reform Radio, VOP, Radio Free Chosun and ONK over the past five years.


July 28 “Delta passengers outraged when child poops on airplane seat

Passengers on a Delta Airlines flight from Beijing to Detroit last week were horrified when a Chinese child squatted on his seat and proceeded to defecate, World News, a U.S.-based, Chinese-language news site, reports. … Radio Free Asia reported the story in a segment and interviewed a Taiwanese flight attendant who said there’s no law prohibiting a child from pooping on his seat. She’s witnessed passengers doing unbelievable things such as washing their hair with shampoo in the lavatory sink.


July 26 “Sochua Sees Rotten Justice System From Inside, Vows to Fix It

After the Phnom Penh Municipal Court decided last week to place CNRP lawmaker-elect Mu Sochua in prison, she says she was welcomed into the “sisterhood” of Prey Sar’s Correctional Center 2 for women and juveniles. … The prisoners, who have access to radios and listen to independent stations, were waiting for her. “The women took care of me. They fanned me and gave me a foot massage while we listened to Radio Free Asia,” she said.


July 25 “Visitors to Chinese part of Mt. Paektu soar 20 pct in H1

The number of tourists visiting the Chinese side of Mt. Paektu jumped nearly 20 percent in the first half of this year from a year earlier, a U.S. radio report said Friday. A total of 328,000 tourists traveled to the mountain in China in the January-June period, up 19.3 percent from a year earlier, the Washington-based Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported, citing the official website of China's Jilin province.


July 24 “Christians Clash With Police in China to Keep Church’s Cross

Several dozen Christians clashed with police in the city of Wenzhow in southeastern Zhejiang province in China, protesting the authorities determined to take down the Salvation Church cross, The New York Times reported on Thursday. … According to Radio Free Asia, the police mobilized large cranes, fire engines and ambulances to break down church’s cross.


July 23 “South Korea’s new propaganda radio station faces static

South Korea’s latest attempt to sway the minds of the North Korean people looks like a dud before it’s even begun. This month, the South Korean military begins regular programming on a new shortwave radio station aimed at the DPRK, but the selection of frequency, low transmitter power and aggressive jamming means few if anyone in the DPRK can probably hear it. … In the couple of weeks before North Korea caught on to the broadcasts, they were being heard across Asia and in the United States, but no more. North Korean jamming, similar to that faced by Radio Free Asia, Voice of America, KBS and several other broadcasters, has been wiping out the signal.


July 19 “Human rights group to hold 'hackathon' event to bypass N.K. information blockade

A U.S.-based human rights group will hold a "hackathon" event next month to get experts in the Internet sector to bypass Pyongyang's information blockade and spread information about the outside world to North Korean citizens, an international report said Saturday. According to Radio Free Asia (RFA), the Human Rights Foundation in New York has called for a two-day gathering in San Francisco on August 2-3, so the best minds from Silicon Valley and elsewhere can tackle the challenges of hacking into North Korea's closed intranet environment.


July 18 “Five Burmese journalists jailed for 10 years for a single news report

Five journalists in Myanmar (formerly Burma) have been sentenced to 10 years in prison for "disclosing state secrets" after their newspaper reported on the building of an alleged chemical weapons factory. … Myanmar's deputy information minister, Ye Htut, denied allegations that the factory was producing chemical weapons. "It is a factory producing defence materiel for the defence ministry, but does not make chemical weapons," he said in a statement to Radio Free Asia.


July 16 “Pyongyang-Vladivostok passengers up 22 pct in H1: report

Air passenger traffic between the North Korean capital and the neighboring Russian port city of Vladivostok surged more than 20 percent in the first half of 2014 from a year earlier, a news report said Wednesday, amid signs of closer ties between the two nations. The number of passengers between Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang and Vladivostok International Airport in the Russian Far East shot up 22 percent on-year during the January-June period, the Washington-based Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported.


July 15 “The Implications of China’s Anti-Corruption Drive

Clean, transparent government is a basic tenet of Western political liberalism, so we are naturally inclined to support government reform efforts elsewhere. But in the case of the People’s Republic of China, should we be rooting for Xi Jinping’s version of an anti-corruption campaign to succeed, or to fail, in its intended purposes? … Voice of America and Radio Free Asia should encourage that process in China as VOA and Radio Free Europe did in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe during the Cold War.


July 14 “Christian persecution in China intensifies as pastor sentenced to 12 years in 'miscarriage of justice'

Friends, family, and supporters of Pastor Zhang Shaojie are speaking out against his 12-year prison sentence for fraud and "gathering a crowd to disrupt public order." They say the conviction and sentence were a "miscarriage of justice." … "They have sentenced an innocent person," he told Radio Free Asia (RFA). "Not only is this a step backwards for justice in China, but it will also have a chilling effect on Protestant worshipers and the general public."


July 14 “Tensions grow between Chinese state and lawyers

Relations between the Chinese nascent legal profession and state enforcement agencies are rising as access is denied to the lawyers to visit clients in some political cases, according to Radio Free Asia. Chinese lawyers have launched a signature campaign to protest against curbs on the profession, including the punishment of lawyers said to be acting ‘outside of professional boundaries’.


July 11 “N. Korea ramps up import of medical equipment, drugs in past year: RFA

North Korea has imported hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of drugs and medical equipment from abroad, a U.S. radio report said Friday. The North spent over US$146,000 to buy medical supplies from Bangladesh in the fiscal year 2014, the Washington-based Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported, citing trade statistics from the Bangladeshi Export Promotion Bureau.


July 10 “Chinese Government Ramadan Ban Extends To Kashgar College's Muslim Students

China’s government caused a stir late last month when it announced that Muslim officials and children under the age of 18 were barred from observing Ramadan, the holy month of prayer and fasting. While the ban supposedly applied only to government employees and children, now a college in Kashgar is imposing it on its Muslim students. … “Our college administration strictly forbids fasting and other Ramadan practices by Uighur students,” an anonymous Uighur student told Radio Free Asia. “It is clear to us that those who refuse to eat will be warned of expulsion from the college or be deprived of their diplomas.”


July 10 “Measles Spreads Rapidly in N.Korea

Measles continues to spread in North Korea from the country's capital to other cities. Radio Free Asia reported on Wednesday that measles broke out in Yongchon in mid-June and is now reaching Sinuiju, both in North Pyongan Province on the Chinese border, despite authorities’ efforts to prevent the spread.


July 7 “Reporting in Burma

Day partying seemed like a harmless enough subject to report on in Burma. To circumvent parental and societal pressure to spend the evening hours at home, teenagers there held parties in the afternoon instead—a clever cultural workaround. But in this Southeast Asian country only recently released from the grip of a brutal, almost 50-year military junta, it turns out even lighthearted reporting evokes darkness. … According to the report, in 2012 a military colonel was demoted for giving unauthorized comments to Radio Free Asia, journalists are routinely restricted from accessing conflict areas, and a website that reported on government bombing of an ethnic group was later hacked.


July 4 “Myanmar imposes curfew in Mandalay

Authorities imposed a curfew in Myanmar's second largest city Thursday after attacks on minority Muslims left two people dead and 14 injured, raising fears that sectarian violence that has plagued the country for two years may escalate again. … In an interview with Radio Free Asia broadcast Thursday night, NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi said the violence in Mandalay could escalate if authorities do not take strong security measures.


July 3 “Myanmar Needs Independent Media, Not ‘Public Service’ Propaganda

Recently, I sat down with a small group of people, including some journalist friends, to talk about Myanmar’s media landscape. One of the questions that came up was whether independent journalism had any future in this country. … But even when the situation inside the country was at its most dire, the desire for reliable news and information never died. To meet this need, exiled media groups mushroomed outside the country, and broadcasters like the BBC, Voice of America and Radio Free Asia provided Myanmar-language services that helped to counter the lies of the official media.


July 1 “Pyongyang in Grip of Measles Epidemic

The North Korean regime has declared a quarantine for the Pyongyang area in frantic efforts to prevent the spread of measles, a source said Monday. … Radio Free Asia last week reported that measles has also broken out in Yongchon, North Pyongan Province on the Chinese border.

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