RFA in the News (June 2012)

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June 29 “Forced Abortion Husband to Sue Chinese Officials”

The husband of a woman from China’s Shaanxi Province who was forced by officials to abort a seven-month fetus this month said he will sue the local authorities, according to his lawyer. “The harm [the family planning bureau] did to them would be categorized as serious harm,” lawyer Zhang Kai was quoted as saying by Radio Free Asia’s Cantonese service.


June 29 “Xayaburi Dam Construction Defies Moratorium”

Despite the opposition of three governments and an array of environmentalists and public service groups from across the planet, the Xayaburi Dam, deep inside the mountains of northern Laos on the lower Mekong River, appears to be almost unstoppable. … A Thai villager who spoke to Radio Free Asia on condition of anonymity, said that Lao officials had a duty to explain the cross-border ramifications of the massive dam.


June 28 “Ethnic alliance rejects Rohingya as non-Burmese”

A group of eight ethnic parties allied with Burma’s opposition movement said in a statement it does not consider Rohingya as a fellow ethnic minority. The statement supported a position the group adopted in 2005, according to a report on the Radio Free Asia website on Wednesday.


June 26 “Riot Police React to Guangdong Province Factory Siege”

More than 500 workers at an explosives factory in Guangdong Province have been on strike for almost a month, protesting against what they say are the factory leaders’ corruption, bribery and fraud. … According to Radio Free Asia, last Sunday morning hundreds of workers continued to protest, resulting in even more police being deployed.


June 26 “Father in Chinese Forced-Abortion Scandal Is Said to Be Missing”

The Chinese man who published photographs online of his wife and their dead fetus — government officials forced her to submit to an abortion at seven months — has gone missing after being tracked by security officials and thugs, according to his sister.

“They gave her the injection on June 2, and the child was stillborn at 3 a.m. on the morning of June 4,” Mr. Deng said in an interview with Radio Free Asia. “They gave the injection directly into the child’s head.”


June 25 “China and Public Diplomacy: Chinese Media Reciprocity Act of 2011”

… The current imbalance is simply unacceptable. In 2011, the U.S. Department of State approved 868 (I) visas for Chinese state journalists. The Chinese continued the abysmal precedent of allowing Voice of America only two press visas to work in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). … China’s government has consistently rejected visa applications for Radio Free Asia staff since 1998, when three personnel were denied travel by China into the PRC with President Bill Clinton. So in addition to the well-known disrupting of VOA and RFA broadcast signals into China, the PRC has precluded RFA from staffing a bureau there.


June 25 “Burma, Bangladesh deny reports of helicopter attack”

Authorities in Burma and Bangladesh have denied accounts by Rohingya refugees that a helicopter from their country attacked boats carrying refugees seeking to enter Bangladesh by sea on June 8. A second story published on Saturday by Radio Free Asia, based on refugee accounts, said a Burmese helicopter took off from near Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State, and set fire to three boats carrying nearly 50 Muslim Rohingyas fleeing sectarian violence in western Burma in an attack that is believed to have killed everyone on board, according to refugee accounts.


June 22 “Tibetan protests spread in independence fight”

Chinese security forces are arming themselves with guns, fire hydrants and 1960 communist propaganda as they battle a wave of self-immolations spreading across the Tibetan plateau.

They were carrying Tibetan flags, shouting pro-independence slogans and calling for the return of the Dalai Lama, according to Radio Free Asia.


June 22 “60 Muslims arrested in Rakhine State”

Burmese security forces have arrested 60 people following the latest round of violence between Buddhists and Muslims in western Rakhine state, Radio Free Asia (RFA) said in an article on Thursday. The arrest came after security forces investigated the deaths of 12 people on Tuesday in Yathetaung Township, said an official and local residents.


June 20 “Two Tibetans Set Themselves on Fire to Protest Beijing’s Rule”

Two Tibetans set themselves on fire on Wednesday to protest Chinese rule and to call for the return of the exiled Dalai Lama, according to a report by Radio Free Asia. The Tibetans were identified as Tenzin Khedup, 24, a former monk, and Ngawang Norphel, 22.


June 17 “Tibetan monk, held for lone protest, reported disappeared”

Karma Rabten, a monk of Rata Monastery of the Kagyu order of Tibetan Buddhism in Chamdo County of Tibet Autonomous Region, was detained by Chinese police after he staged a lone protest in front of the county government offices on Jun 5, shouting slogans for Tibet, reported RFA.org (Radio Free Asia, Washington) [on] June 15.


June 17 “Two Refugees from Burma Settle in Nelson”

Two women from a refugee camp on the Thailand-Burma border are now living in Nelson after having been granted refugee status by the Canadian government. … Hsa Moo was born and raised in the camp more than 25 years ago. She is vice-president and programmer for the Karen Student Networking Group, is the producer of the Karen language Radio Free Asia in Mae La Oo Refugee Camp and is working as a social worker in her camp village.


June 15 “Tibetan Herder Dies After Setting Himself on Fire in Government Protest”

A Tibetan herder in China’s northwest Qinghai Province died on Friday after setting himself on fire to protest government policies in the region, according to exile groups and Radio Free Asia. … Radio Free Asia said security forces immediately extinguished the flames but the man died a short time later.


June 15 “Photograph of woman with aborted foetus sparks fury in China”

A graphic photograph of a young Chinese woman lying beside the body of her aborted seven-month-old foetus has roused fury over forced abortions in the country. … Zhenping family planning authorities had said on Monday that Feng agreed to the abortion "after repeated persuasion." But Feng told Radio Free Asia: "No, it wasn't [with my consent]. It was forced. That's what happened."


June 14 “US Urges Cambodia To Hold Free Elections”

The U.S. Tuesday urged Cambodia to allow full participation in the general elections next year and also free the 13 women being imprisoned for protesting a property development.

… “The Secretary did express our concern over the recent protests regarding land rights issues and urged Cambodia to allow Boeung Kak Lake detainees full access to due process. And she did note that their release would be a sign of support for freedom of expression,” [U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria] Nuland was quoted as saying by Radio Free Asia.


June 12 “US project seeks online freedom from government censors”

For people living in countries where the government censors the Internet, help is on the way. It may be in a smartphone app or it could be a clandestine wireless network that allows people to communicate out of the view of government censors. … Among those involved in deploying the technology is Radio Free Asia, which is seeking to protect its sources and correspondents as well as those of other US-funded international broadcast operations. "We've had a long history of battling the firewall of China," said RFA president Libby Liu.


June 7 “Shortwave Broadcasters Mull Their Opportunities”

A large portion of presentations at the National Association of Shortwave Broadcasters meeting, held in Washington in May, centered on the issue of how shortwave radio — dismissed by some as in its last throes, a relic of the Cold War era disappearing under the shadow of digital — can eke out a place in the 21st century. … The attendees of the conference, all representing various interests in the shortwave world, hailing from across the country, got a tour of Radio Free Asia, the conference’s host location, which has managed to broadcast even to the highly censored North Korea via shortwave, which is more difficult to interrupt than the Internet and is one of the only means of bringing in news from the international community.


June 6 “BBG Criticizes Cancellation of Coverage”

The U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors criticized the Cambodian Ministry of Information for a decision forbidding FM stations in Cambodia to air Khmer-language election programming from Radio Free Asia and the Voice of America during last week’s elections. According to a release the ban involved five stations.


June 5 “‘Arbitrary decision’ decried by silenced outlets

The two US-backed media outlets and a local NGO’s news service whose broadcasts in Khmer were yanked off the airwaves by government officials before Sunday’s elections aren’t staying silent about the effect of such a move, with one calling it a giant step backward for the country. The absence of stories from the field stemmed from a decision by the Ministry of Information to force multiple FM radio stations not to broadcast election coverage from Voice of America and Radio Free Asia.


June 4 “N.Korea Expands Military Facility Near Yeonpyeong Island”

North Korea has built a new military facility in a stone's throw across the water from South Korea's Yeonpyeong Island, Radio Free Asia reported Friday. A satellite picture taken on Feb. 14 by GeoEye, a commercial U.S. satellite imagery firm, shows five new buildings on a plot of around 22,000 sq. m near Kangryong, South Hwanghaw Province.

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