RFA in the News (March 2018)

2018-04-13

UPI

March 30Russia pursuing multilateral North Korea talks in Moscow

… Moscow's foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Thursday Russia is in communication with relevant countries to hold talks, Radio Free Asia reported.

DONG-A ILBO

March 30 “White House hails Kim Jong Un’s Beijing visit

… According to Radio Free Asia, the Office of the Spokesperson for the U.S. Department of States repeatedly emphasized the role of China in relation to concerns over China alleviating its sanctions against North Korea, saying that Washington expects that Beijing will exercise a matchless influence to have Pyongyang engage in a negotiation that is trustworthy enough for the way to denuclearization.

CHOSUN ILBO

March 30 “7 N.Korean Defectors Arrested in China

… Meanwhile, a video clip released by Radio Free Asia shows a female defector being shot dead by a North Korean border guard as she tries to cross the Apnok River in Hyesan, Ryanggang Province.

DIPLOMAT

March 30 “What’s in the Thailand-Cambodia Foreign Fugitive Deal?

… CNRP working group member Kong Meas told Radio Free Asia’s Khmer Service this week that the deal, in his view, was intended to prevent CNRP party members from regrouping.

WASHINGTON POST

March 29 “North Korea’s swankiest ride: Kim Jong Un’s tricked-out armored family train

… The family’s use of luxury rail transport runs counter to train travel in their home country. As Andrei Lankov, a North Korea expert at Kookmin University in Seoul, noted for Radio Free Asia in 2016, North Korea, like many communist nations, sank most of its development dollars into building up industry.

DEMOCRATIC VOICE OF BURMA (also in ANADOLU AGENCY, MYANMAR TIMES, ALBAWABA, FRONTIER MYANMAR)

March 28 “Ex-child soldier gets to two years in prison for telling of forced conscription

… Judge Chit Ko Ko of the Dagon Seikkan Township Court ruled in favour of the prosecution, which argued that an interview the defendant gave to Radio Free Asia’s Burmese-language service in August contravened section 505(b).

ASIA TIMES

March 28 “Is hermetic Laos poised for more openness?

… A recent report by Radio Free Asia asserted that the government lost US$50 million in revenue due to corruption last year, three times the amount recorded in 2016.

PHNOM PENH POST

March 28 “Claims about RFA’s Chun Chanboth continue with leaked recording

… Government mouthpiece Fresh News on Tuesday leaked an audio recording of a conversation purportedly between Radio Free Asia presenter Chun Chanboth and army General Mao Sophan, where the latter describes guests on his program saying a CNRP government would have been more dictatorial than the current ruling party.

TELEGRAPH

March 28 “Is North Korea's crackdown on 'anti-Socialist culture' to blame for karaoke bars closing down?

… Concerns over crime and anti-social behaviour have also impacted the bars, once known as a reliable moneyspinner to counter the financial pressure of international sanctions on the regime, reported Radio Free Asia.

SUPCHINA

March 27 “‘Modern Chinese Intellectuals Are Spineless’: Peking University Vice Dean Reportedly Resigns After Provocative Essay

… Radio Free Asia reports that online searches of the article yielded no results on Monday, and some internet users found their WeChat accounts suspended after sharing the essay on the platform.

VERMONT LAW SCHOOL

March 26 “3 environmental journalists named Vermont Law School media fellows

… “A writer and editor for Radio Free Asia’s English Service, Gerin reports on issues ranging from military conflict in Myanmar to the impact of hydropower dam projects on people and the environment in Cambodia.”

KHMER TIMES (also in REUTERS)

March 27 “Court postpones decision on former RFA reporters’ appeal”, “Court hears RFA reporters’ appeal”, “RFA reporters charged with producing pornography

… The Court of Appeal today heard the appeal to nullify the detention of two former Radio Free Asia reporters, who remain jailed on espionage charges for allegedly sending reports to the United States.

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH

March 26 “Vietnam: Drop Charges Against Rights Activist

… Do Thanh Van told a reporter at Radio Free Asia: “Two men rushed in and kicked Dung and he fell down. Afterward, four or five men were ready to attack us. Two men beat Dung. Two men beat me.

NEWS.COM.AU

March 26 “Orwellian move: China’s President-for-life Xi Jinping now controls all media, ‘scores’ citizens

… Beijing rights activist Hu Jia told Radio Free Asia that the new agency was all about “exporting” China’s ideology and dogma.

JAMESTOWN FOUNDATION

March 26 “At China’s ‘Two Sessions’, Xi Jinping Leaves His Mark on the Party State

… Never since the late Rong Yiren, a “patriotic businessman” and symbol of Deng Xiaoping’s support for private entrepreneurship—who was vice-president from 1993 to 1998—has any person with no party ranking been appointed to this symbolically important post (BBC Chinese, March 17; Radio Free Asia, December 12, 2017).

WHAT’S ON WEIBO

March 25 “Shanghai Public Security Bureau: No Canceling of Hukou for Chinese Living Abroad

… In a recent article, Radio Free Asia interviewed a Shanghai resident with a permanent residency Australia, who said that it was because “they don’t want us to enjoy the benefits of residency in two countries.”

ASIA NEWS NETWORK

March 24 “Weaponisation of the law in the name of democracy

… Last year Cambodia shut down one of the main English language newspapers, several radio stations, and detained twoRadio Free Asia journalists.

REUTERS (also in WASHINGTON POST, NK NEWS, KOREA TIMES, TELEGRAPH, KOREA JOONGANG DAILY, DEFENSE ONE, ASHARQ AL-AWSATBLOOMBERG, NEWSWEEKLIBYAN EXPRESSOBSERVER RESEARCH FOUNDATION,BRINKWIREBUISNESS INSIDERKOREA JOONGANG DAILY)

March 23 “Trump should insist on Libya-style denuclearization for North Korea: Bolton

… Bolton, a hawk who Trump named on Thursday to replace H.R. McMaster in the key security role, told Radio Free Asia onMonday that discussions at the proposed summit with Kim Jong Un should be similar to those that led to components of Libya’s nuclear program being shipped to the United States in 2004.

EPOCH TIMES

March 22 “Trump Sets Into Motion $50 Billion in Tariffs on Chinese Goods. How Will China React?

… Hong Kong economist Andy Cheuk-Chiu Kwan told Radio Free Asia in a recent interview that “China will not have an intense counter-attack,” because “if everyone did it, everyone would die together.”

WORLD WATCH MONITOR

March 22 “Vietnam targeting religious followers, whose sole wish is to live their faith in peace

… Vietnam’s rights record has been under examination at the 37th session of the Human Rights Council, currently meeting in Geneva, where the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Ahmed Shaheed, told Radio Free Asia that there are serious concerns over Vietnam.

ASIA TIMES (also in PHNOM PENH POST)

March 21 “Cambodia’s last free media on shaky ground

… Also in the crosshairs were the US Congress-funded Radio Free Asia (RFA) and Voice of America (VOA), whose Khmer language broadcasts were very popular with Cambodians.

PHNOM PENH POST

March 21 “Police end probe into Kratie protest claims

… There is no such case as what the Radio Free Asia has reported that six people were dead and 40 people injured,” said Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak.

KHMER TIMES (PHNOM PENH POST)

March 21 “Former RFA reporter backs up PM’s claim

… A former journalist who worked with Radio Free Asia has backed up Prime Minister Hun Sen’s claim that Chun Chanboth feared being killed by US agents.

COMMITTEE TO PROTECT JOURNALISTS

March 20 “Censorship, surveillance, and harassment: China cracks down on critics

… And on February 10, police detained Xu Qin, an independent human rights researcher whom news agencies rely on as a source, according to Radio Free Asia.

TELEGRAPH

March 20 “Fake North Korean beer brewed in China to evade sanctions

… With the government in Pyongyang desperate to raise hard cash for its weapons programmes, it appears that one of the North’s organisations tasked with acquiring funds has struck a deal with a company with a factory outside the Chinese city of Dandong to produce a knock-off version, Radio Free Asia reported.

DEMOCRATIC VOICE OF BURMA (also in MYANMAR TIMES)

March 20 “Child soldier case: verdict next week, says judge

… Ex-child soldier Aung Ko Htwe, now 26, was arrested on 18 August 2017 on charges of “inciting public unrest” after a military chief lodged an official complaint over an interview he gave to Radio Free Asia, detailing his two years of service in the Burmese army as a minor.

KHMER TIMES

March 20 “Sochua’s suspension appeal ‘treasonous’

… The condemnation came after Ms Sochua, who fled the country in October over fear of being arrested, spoke in an interview with Radio Free Asia, requesting Australia not to buy goods from Cambodia.

PHNOM PENH POST

March 19 “Hun Sen blames US, CNRP for Kem Ley killing

… In an interview with Radio Free Asia on Saturday, Rachana also rejected claims America or the CNRP were behind the murder, noting the government harassed the family over Ley’s funeral procession.

PHNOM PENH POST (also in STATESMAN)

March 19 “Court rejects former RFA reporters’ bail bid after US senators call for pair’s release

… Cambodia's Supreme Court on Friday rejected bail for two former Radio Free Asia journalists accused in November of espionage in a widely criticised press freedom case, the day after a group of US senators called for the pair’s release.

KHMER TIMES (PHNOM PENH POST, MEDIA WEEK)

March 19 “RFA journalist is my spy: PM
… Prime Minister Hun Sen has exposed a well-known Radio Free Asia journalist critical of him as his own spy working for the government and asked military officers to protect him from being assassinated.

YONHAP

March 17 “N.K. top diplomat extends talks with Sweden to Saturday: report

… The U.S. State Department said it is making efforts to secure the release of the detained citizens in response to a report that the North has agreed with the U.S. to free them, according to Radio Free Asia (RFA).

UPI

March 16 “Knife fights, market forces changing North Korea 'self-criticism' sessions

… North Korea is struggling economically, partly owing to sanctions, and lack of adequate infrastructure is creating problems for people in North Hamgyong Province, Radio Free Asia reported Thursday.

PHAYUL

March 16 “Two monks detained on unknown charges, one freed in eastern Tibet’s Sershul

… Anonymous source cited by Radio Free Asia said that Lobsang Lhundrub was arrested on March 9, while fellow monk from Wonpo monastery, Choechok, was detained on Dec. 25 last year, two days after the self-immolation of a Tibetan protester and former monk named Konpe.

GUARDIAN

March 16 “'Mafia state': protesters rally against Cambodia PM Hun Sen's visit to Australia

“Many killings happened under the nose of the Hun Sen’s government and were swept under the carpet ... The murdering of Mr Kem Ley in the middle of a busy Phnom Penh Star Mart gas station a day after his interview with Radio Free Asia was too much for us to bear.

PHNOM PENH POST

March 16 “Supreme Court denies bail for former RFA journalists charged with espionage

… Cambodia's Supreme Court on Friday rejected bail for two former Radio Free Asia journalists accused in November of espionage in a widely criticised press freedom case.

GUARDIAN (also in NATIONAL, ABC NEWS, GULF NEWS SWARAJYAMAG, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE)

March 15 “Chinese crackdown separates Pakistani husbands from Uighur wives

… Last month US-based Radio Free Asia reported 120,000 members of the country’s predominantly Muslim Uighur minority were being held in political “re-education” camps, while a corruption purge has removed several top ranking Communist Party of China officials, with some given jail time.

CPJ

March 15 “YouTube labels on public broadcasters draw ire in US, Russia

… The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), which oversees U.S.-funded international broadcasters like Voice of America (VOA), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, and the Middle East Broadcasting Network that includes Al Hurra and Radio Sawa, also said it had not been notified in advance about the labels and expressed concern at being lumped into the same category as RT and another Russian-funded outlet, Sputnik.

WASHINGTON POST

March 15 “North Korean media has nothing to say about nuclear talks but plenty about alleged U.S. human-rights abuses

… Japanese journalist Jiro Ishimaru told Radio Free Asia, a news organization funded by the U.S. government, on Monday he had contacted three North Koreans inside the country and none had heard about the possibility of a summit.

UPI

March 13 “North Koreans have 'no idea' of Trump, Kim summit

… Jiro Ishimaru, founder of Asia Press, said he interviewed three North Koreans still in the country, Radio Free Asia reportedMonday.

OIL PRICE

March 13 “China Now Produces More Oil Abroad Than At Home

… That in itself is not the problem, writes Michael Lelyveld in an analysis for Radio Free Asia.

DEMOCRATIC VOICE OF BURMA (also in MYANMAR NEWS)

March 13 “Final arguments due in incitement case against former child soldier

… The defendant Aung Ko Htwe was charged under section 505(b) of the Penal Code for allegedly inciting the public after telling his story of forced conscription to the news outlet Radio Free Asia.

KOREA HERALD

March 13 “[PyeongChang 2018] Suspicions about N. Korean Paralympic athletes ‘raised by North Koreans’

… North Koreans expressed doubts about their country’s participants in the PyeongChang Winter Paralympics, according toRadio Free Asia, an international radio broadcasting station.

FINANCIAL TIMES

March 13 “Security spending ramped up in China's restive Xinjiang region

… "If I do a very big story, a very sharp one, [the Xinjiang police] will call my parents and threaten them," said Gulchehra Hoja, a Uighur reporter for the US-funded Radio Free Asia in Washington.

INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN FOR TIBET

March 12 “New fears for historic structure of Jokhang temple after major fire, as China covers up extent of damage

… Matthew Akester also studied images on social media that appeared to be taken on February 22 after the temple’s re-opening,[Radio Free Asia] saying that it looked as though visitors were being allowed to see the important Jowo Rinpoche statue from 20ft away, but not to enter the chapel where it is housed.

(used RFA photo)

NEW YORK TIMES

March 9 “Far From Home and Censors, Some Chinese Students Protest Xi’s Power Move”

… In an interview Friday with Radio Free Asia, a United States-funded news service focused on Asian countries, Mr. Li, speaking in Chinese, said he believed he had an obligation to make a difference.

SOUTHEAST ASIA GLOBE (also in AEC NEWSMPHNOM PENH POST, AECNEWSTODAY, KHMER TIMES)

March 9 “Cambodia’s military crackdown recalls bloody ‘Kratie insurrection’

… While the number of casualties remains unclear, Radio Free Asia has reported as many as eight dead and a further 40 injured.

ASIA CORRESPONDENT

March 8 “Cambodia’s government slammed for deteriorating human rights situation

… United Nations Special Rapporteur Rhona Smith urged the government to respect the rule of law and not “rule by law” during a meeting with the head of the government’s human rights committee, reported Radio Free Asia.

PHNOM PENH POST (also in POLITIC, CHANNEL NEWS ASIA, ASEAN ECONOMIST)

March 8 “Former RFA journalist in court over possible pornography charges

… Imprisoned Radio Free Asia reporter Yeang Sothearin was questioned yesterday at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in relation to possible pornography charges.

ASSOCIATED PRESS  (also in RELEASE WIRE)

March 8 “Tibet groups report latest self-immolation of man in protest

… The Free Tibet Campaign and U.S.-backed Radio Free Asia also reported the death, saying it took place in Ngaba’s Meruma township.

BUSINESS INSIDER

March 8 “A former Chinese state prosecutor criticized Xi Jinping's plan to rule indefinitely and now he's been arrested

… Shen Liangqing, a long-time activist, was reportedly arrested by 10 police officers in Hefei on Tuesday night, according to aRadio Free Asia report.

CHOSUN ILBO

March 7 “N.Korean Missile Workers Get Elite Benefits

… Panghyon-dong was incorporated into Pyongyang on Feb. 10, Radio Free Asia quoted a source as saying Monday.

PHNOM PENH POST

March 7 “Ministry targets ‘fake news’

… With the closure of independent media outlets like Radio Free Asia and the Cambodia Daily, “more and more Cambodians are likely to take to social media as both a news source and a platform for self-expression”, Sopheap added

KHMER TIMES

March 7 “Rainsy: PM should step down

… Mr Rainsy said on social media yesterday following an interview with Radio Free Asia that Mr Hun Sen’s first option was to “voluntarily step down now, after negotiating a safe exit with the Cambodia National Rescue Movement and the international community.”

KHMER TIMES

March 7 “Bail hearing set for jailed RFA reporters

… The Supreme Court has scheduled a bail hearing for two former reporters with Radio Free Asia, who remain jailed on espionage charges for allegedly sending reports to the United States.

KBS RADIO
March 6 “FAO Again Names N. Korea as Country Short of Food

… Radio Free Asia reports that according to the agency's Crop Prospects and Food Situation report for this year's first quarter released Monday, North Korea was among 37 nations requiring external assistance for food.

CHOSUNILBO

March 6 “N.Korean Exports at a Virtual Standstill

… North Korean trading companies are frantically sending out staffers to China, Russia, Southeast Asia and Africa, Radio Free Asia reported Sunday in an apparent bid to make up for the shortage.

VPN COMPARE

March 5 “Is China trying to take its online censorship global?

… According to a Radio Free Asia article, it is not just text content which is being censored either.

VOX

March 5 “The case for — and against — Trump’s North Korea policy
… He points to reports, like this Radio Free Asia piece from December citing two Chinese sources with ties to Pyongyang, that the illicit slush fund North Korea uses to fund its nuclear program — called Office 39 — is dangerously depleted.

PHNOM PENH POST

March 5 “Religion ministry mulls lawsuit against activist monk But Buntenh under lèse majesté

… In an interview with Radio Free Asia, published Tuesday night, Buntenh said that Prime Minister Hun Sen had granted Vietnamese settlers the right to live on the Tonle Sap river in exchange for the neighbour’s help in overthrowing the Khmer Rouge in 1979.

KHMER TIMES (also in PHNOM PENH POST)

March 5 “King insult law enacted

… In an interview with Radio Free Asia on Tuesday, Venerable But Buntenh, founder of the Independent Monk Network for Social Justice, said that he drinks water from wells, but many Cambodians and the King drink water from rivers that contained the urine of Vietnamese people.

 

WASHINGTON POST

March 4 “Democracy is dying in Cambodia. Facebook should make sure it doesn’t help kill it.

… The change moved Facebook posts from companies and organizations, including news outlets, to a separate feed, resulting in a significant loss in traffic on Facebook for content from Radio Free Asia’s popular Cambodia service, an independent source of news and information

DEUTSCHE WELLE (also in AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL)
March 3 “Uighur journalist Gulchehra Hoja: 'I have my own sad story to tell'

… The Chinese government perhaps wants us to stop raising issues about Uighurs and publishing the truth. That's why our relatives have been targeted. But we cannot and will not stop, especially at a time when we feel our work is extremely important in highlighting the plight of Uighurs.

PHNOM PENH POST

March 2 “Information Ministry claims press freedom supporters are ‘killing’ democracy

… Over the past year, Cambodia has seen the closure of multiple media outlets, including The Cambodia DailyRadio Free Asia and an estimated 32 radio stations broadcasting American-funded, opposition or independent news.

Yonhap News (also in SPUTNIK NEWS, BITCOIN.COM, MENAFN, IB TIMES, USE THE BITCOIN, TELEGRAPH, EVENING STANDARDCOIN JOURNAL, EXPRESS, FINANCE NINE, CYRPTO GLOBE)

March 2 “NK estimated to have made up to US$210 mln with bitcoin: report

… The North is estimated to have obtained at least 11,000 bitcoins via mining or hacking last year, Radio Free Asia cited Priscilla Moriuchi, the ex-NSA official in charge of cyber security in the Asia and Pacific region, as saying in an e-mail.

YONHAP NEWS

March 2 “U.S., S. Korea in close contact on Seoul's envoy to N.K.: State Dept.

… "We are in close contact with the Republic of Korea about our unified response to North Korea, including the need to maintain maximum pressure to achieve a denuclearized Korean Peninsula," Radio Free Asia quoted Michael Cavey.

TIME (also in AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE, ASSOCIATED PRESSAMERICAN MILITARY NEWS, DEUTSCHE WELLEHKFP,MACAU DAILY TIMESNYT, STANDARD, REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERSWORLD UYGHUR CONGRESS, CHINA DIGITAL TIMES, UNPO, WALL STREET JOURNALFREEDOM HOUSEJEROME A. COHEN)

March 1 “China Has Detained the Relatives of Four U.S. Journalists, Report Says

… Four ethnic Uighur journalists with Radio Free Asia in Washington D.C. have reported their relatives disappeared or detained.

TAIWAN NEWS (also in JAMESTOWN FOUNDATION)

March 1 “Plan for China term limits dates back to Deng Xiaoping era

… In the aftermath of the Cultural Revolution, Chinese leaders felt that the absence of term limits had become a serious problem, Bao told Radio Free Asia in an interview.

KHMER TIMES (also in PHNOM PENH POST)

March 1 “Ministry slams activist monk over insulting King Sihamoni

… Sos Mosine, secretary of state and a spokesman for the ministry, said Venerable But Buntenh, founder of the Independent Monk Network for Social Justice, defamed the King during a Radio Free Asia interview on Tuesday night.