RFA in the News (March 2009)

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RFA in the News – March 2009


March 9 “The political scene: Officials concede that corruption is a concern”

Corruption remains a concern. In February two senior Lao officials were quoted by an international radio station, Radio Free Asia, as saying that corruption was commonplace in bidding for major government construction contracts. The substance of the statements has not surprised many in Laos, but if senior officials are prepared to make such statements to foreign media organisations it may signify that the scale of corruption in Laos has now reached levels that dismay even those on the inside.


March 31 “Tibetan monk beaten to death in China”

A Tibetan monk was beaten to death by police in southwestern China after urging Tibetans to boycott farming to protest a massive security clampdown, a U.S.-funded radio station reported Tuesday.

Radio Free Asia said Phuntsok Rabten, a 27-year-old monk from Draggo monastery in the predominantly Tibetan Ganzi prefecture of Sichuan province, died last Wednesday after trying to escape police by motorcycle and on foot.


March 30 “A happy ending for Kim Jong Il?”

Even if North Korea carries through the anticipated launch of its Taepodong-2 missile between the 4th and 8th of April, in violation of a United Nations Security Council resolution, it will be difficult for international society to impose effective disciplinary measures on the country.
…In the meantime, however, China and Russia, who have consistently harbored lukewarm views on the issue, have appeared more-or-less undecided about sanctions. However, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported on the 28th that Russia has informed the U.S of its position; that the North's launch of a satellite is not a violation of UNSC Resolution 1718.


March 29 “China, Russia lukewarm over sanctioning N. Korea”

With North Korea readying a rocket launch, South Korea, Japan and the United States share the view that raising the issue at the United Nations has now become unavoidable.
China, North Korea's only ally, has said that Pyongyang is just preparing to send a communications satellite into orbit as announced, saying that the launch would not be a substantial threat to other countries. Russia has concluded that a ``satellite'' launch would not breach UN Resolution 1718, according to the Radio Free Asia.


March 26 “Chinese officials persuade Tibetans to end farming boycott”

In one of the latest incidents, two nuns were detained on Tuesday after scattering leaflets supporting the Dalai Lama and calling for Tibetan independence outside the Kardze police headquarters, according to reports by Radio Free Asia and the Indian-based radio station Voice of Tibet.


March 24 “Getting the Data Right”

The Radio Engineering Forum on Monday at the Broadcast Engineering Conference of the upcoming NAB Show will be all about data and how it works in every aspect of radio broadcasting.

The next presentation, "Send a High-Quality Audio Feed From Anywhere" by Andrew Janitschek, director of program and operations support for Radio Free Asia, will discuss how remotes can be done from virtually anywhere in the world at low or no cost. Janitschek will present a real-life case study of how RFA sends and receives audio from affiliates around the globe.

KPL (Lao government news agency)

March 25 “Thailand to complete repatriating Lao Hmongs by this years end”
Thai Foreign Minister said last week the Thai government would complete repatriating the Lao Hmong people in Huay Namkhao camp, Kao Kor district, Phetsaboon province, Thailand, by this year’s end, according to the Radio Free Asia broadcasting on 18 March.


March 24 “Beijing upholds two-year sentence for rights activist”

A Beijing court has upheld a two-year prison sentence for a rights activist without holding an open appeal hearing or considering vital evidence not presented at her trial, her husband said Tuesday. Dong had prepared a defence case for Ni's trial in December, but he was not allowed into the courtroom.

The court also objected to well-known lawyer Li Fangping representing Ni in the appeal, Li told US-based Radio Free Asia.


March 23 “Toronto Sheng Xue chosen as PEN Canada City of Edmonton Writer in Exile”

The poet, journalist and editor Sheng Xue has been chosen as the PEN Canada City of Edmonton Writer in Exile for 2009/10. Since coming to Canada, Sheng has worked as a print, radio and television journalist, movie actress and editor. She is a regular columnist for Hong Kong's Trend Magazine, and a correspondent for Radio Free Asia and Germany's Deutsche Welle Radio.


March 19 “High Five: Messages from North Korea”

North Korea is also close to joining a third elite club, the group of most economically developed countries. The Kim Jong-il administration has full confidence its people will soon bid farewell to many years of post-war austerity, and cross the threshold of economic prosperity by 2012 - the centenary of the birth of founding father Kim Il-sung.
European business transactions with North Korea are now in the largest expansion period since 2001, Radio Free Asia reported on March 3, 2009.


March 17 “China denies persecuting family of rights lawyer”

China denied Tuesday it had persecuted the family of prominent human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng after his wife and children staged a dramatic escape to the United States.

Gao's wife Geng He and their two children sneaked out of Beijing at the beginning of January to escape to the United States, where they arrived last Wednesday, according to Radio Free Asia.


March 16 “Tibetan monks taken away”

This came after the monks marched to local government headquarters on February 25 - the first day of the Tibetan New Year - where they called for the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet, the group quoted Radio Free Asia as saying.


March 14 “Beijing-DPA Politics China silences Tibet on Lhasa riot anniversary”

US-funded Radio Free Asia reported that a single Tibetan protestor on Tuesday shouted slogans in support of the exiled Dalai Lama and Tibetan independence in the town of Lithang in neighboring Sichuan province.


March 13 “Human rights award for Liu Xiaobo and for Charter 08”

The dissident Liu Xiaobo, who has been under house arrest since December, was honored yesterday with the Homo Homini Award, given each year by the People in Need Foundation, a European organization, to people who have distinguished themselves in the struggle for human rights.

Geng He, his wife, told Radio Free Asia yesterday that her husband was tortured.


March 12 “Chinese rights leader’s family defects to US: activists”

The family of missing Chinese rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who has been tipped for a Nobel Peace Prize, has defected to the United States, rights activists said Thursday.

New York-based Human Rights in China and Radio Free Asia said Gao's wife and children arrived in the United States on Wednesday and were seeking asylum.

Radio Free Asia said Gao's wife Geng along with their daughter, 15, and son, 5, had left their home in Beijing and walked across the border into Thailand in January and then arranged to head to the United States.


March 12 “‎Making Contact with Tibet”

So after 50 years of so-called democratic reform, Tibet is now a region where the only information comes from hurried anonymous phone calls to rights groups and media such as Radio Free Asia.


March 11 “Bomb blasts just a 'criminal case', say police”

Police in Qinghai have played down bomb blasts in a Tibetan-populated part of the province, categorising the incident as a “normal criminal case” rather than a protest against rule by Beijing, state media reported yesterday.

However, Radio Free Asia's website quoted a local Tibetan resident as saying there had been regular disturbances and protests at the forest bureau over the past year.


March 9 “China must address press freedom in Tibet”

Chinese authorities in Tibet should open the region to foreign journalists and release imprisoned Tibetan journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Tuesday is the 50th anniversary of an uprising against Chinese rule.

The whereabouts of two Tibetan journalists detained in 2008 remain unknown. Police detained Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen one year ago in the days leading up to the anniversary, according to his film company and family members. His family has not been informed of charges against him. Public security officials arrested Rangjung, a Seda TV journalist and writer, on September 11, 2008, according to the Indian-based Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy and Radio Free Asia. It is not known if he has been indicted.


March 6 “Dharamsala De facto martial law in force in Tibet, army ready for violent crackdown”

Pro-Tibet activist tells AsiaNews about massive deployment of troops in Tibet, on the ready to crackdown on any protest, even if only verbal. But Tibetans are showing no sign of fear.

In fact recent weeks saw an upsurge in non-violent protests, especially by Tibetan monks, many of whom have been arrested.

Radio Free Asia has reported that yesterday two Tibetan women—a nun named Pema Yangdzom and later a girl—staged separate protests in front of the Public Security Bureau in Kardze.


March 3 “N. Korea officials visiting Portland”

… Radio Free Asia reports that the delegation members, led by Cho Il, come from a committee established in 2006 to boost exchanges with the United States. The Korea America Private Exchange Society has often served as a channel for dialog between the two governments.


March 3 “Praying for Change”
Go away! They will arrest anyone who looks in there," said a middle-aged woman standing near the closed red doors of a small temple in China's northwestern province of Qinghai.

… An earlier report by US-based Radio Free Asia said paramilitary police sealed off the Lutsang monastery in Qinghai on Friday after more than 100 Tibetan monks staged a candlelit vigil outside local government offices. Several other small protests were reported in Tibetan areas this month, and Whitticase said they "show the depth of resentment" of Tibetans.

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