RFA in the News (May 2014)

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May 31 “OPINION: Dan Southerland -- 25 years after Tiananmen Square, time to break the silence

Dan Southerland is executive editor of the congressionally funded network Radio Free Asia. He was chief of The Post’s Beijing bureau from 1985 to 1990.

Twenty-five years after the Chinese army fired on unarmed citizens defending pro-democracy protesters at Tiananmen Square, China’s Communist Party seems more determined than ever to silence critics who dare to speak out about the massacre.


May 31 “China tests Tibetan patriotism in anti-self-immolation exercise

China on May 26 carried out an anti-riot exercise in Karze (Chinese: Ganzi) County-town in the Tibetan area of Sichuan Province aimed at countering self-immolations and other forms of protests and it especially ordered its ethnic Tibetan employees to take part in it, reported Radio Free Asia (Washington) May 29. The area has seen a number of self-immolation protests against Chinese rule and policies in Tibet over the past several years.


May 30 “Terror attacks in China take an alarming turn

… [Professor James] Millward cited a recent case reported by Radio Free Asia, in which middle school girls in Xinjiang’s Aksu prefecture were detained for wearing headscarves. Their relatives demonstrated for their release. The protest devolved into stone throwing and police fired into the crowd. At least two protesters were reported killed.


May 30 “After The Thai Coup - Keeping Up With The New Rules

I’m going to get back to writing about business now that the festering political crisis seems to be over with the coup d’état of a week ago. … All Thai newspapers are mainly omitting analysis and opinion columns for now. The newspapers all have Facebook and Twitter presences, of course. So does Radio Free Asia.


May 30 “Rangoon Rental Costs in the Spotlight After Unicef Outcry

Following an outcry over the revelation that the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) is paying a steep rental fee to a former military official, other international organizations operating in Burma are facing calls to be transparent about their rental arrangements in Rangoon. … In an email, a WHO representative denied that the property was owned by the Burmese military’s Commander in Chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing, or someone in his family, contrary to a report from the Washington-based Radio Free Asia’s Burmese-language service.


May 29 “China denying care to seriously ill jailed Tibetan monks

China continues to keep in jail or detention since Sep 2012 two monks of Nyatso Zilkar Monastery in Tridu (Chinese: Chenduo) County of Yushul Prefecture, Qinghai Province, under deplorable conditions even though both are under precarious health conditions, reported Radio Free Asia (Washington) May 27, citing local sources. The report said Lobsang Jinpa, 32, has still not been formally charged while Tsultrim Kalsang, 27, is serving a 10-year jail sentence on unknown charges.


May 28 “Tibetan Protest Singer Is Said to Be Under Arrest

A popular Tibetan singer was arrested in Sichuan Province last week after a concert at which he performed songs from his banned album, according to Free Tibet, a London-based advocacy group.

The singer, Gebe (sometimes spelled Gaybay, Gepe or Gepey), was detained Saturday night as he was leaving the concert hall in Aba Prefecture, according to reports from Free Tibet and Radio Free Asia, which is financed by the United States government. Aba, or Ngaba in Tibetan, is a heavily Tibetan area of Sichuan.


May 26 “Editorial: Beijing's Xinjiang Problem

The terrorist attack Thursday in the Xinjiang region is China's deadliest in memory, though it echoes other recent episodes. … Radio Free Asia reports that last week's market attack came two days after police opened fire at a protest over the detention of Uighur women and middle-school girls for wearing headscarves.


May 23 “North Korea Plans Mass Demolition Along Chinese Border

Though contrite North Korean officials humbly bowed after the recent building collapse in Pyongyang, they are offering no apologies for the impending destruction along the Sino-North Korean border. … In March, Radio Free Asia reported that North Korean authorities appeared to be preparing for the demolition of structures along the border with China, as they began marching into homes and seizing the property owners’ deeds.


May 22 “Attack on market in China’s restive Xinjiang region kills at least 31, injures 90

Attackers in two SUVs plowed through crowds of shoppers in a busy street market in the capital of China’s restive western Xin­jiang region Thursday, setting off multiple explosives, killing 31 people and wounding more than 90, the government said, calling the assault a vile act of terrorism. … he militant Turkestan Islamic Party later posted a video on its Web site calling that attack “good news” that “would fill the suppressed hearts of believers with joy, and fill the apostates and infidels’ hearts with fear,” according to a translation by Radio Free Asia.


May 22 “Jakarta Activists Call for Uighur’s Release

Rights activists in Indonesia have joined international calls for China to release Abdukiram Abduveli, an ethnic Uighur man now in the third month of a hunger strike as authorities heap additional sentences to his initial term. … The UN standard is not legally binding, but activists point out that the multiple sentences also go against Chinese law. “It is against Chinese law and international law for Chinese authorities to extend his prison term,” Amnesty International China researcher William Nee said last month as quoted by Radio Free Asia.


May 21 “4 Years After Quake, Some See a Resurrected Chinese City, Others Dashed Dreams

Gazing out over the gleaming heart of this resurrected city, the young Buddhist monk marveled at how quickly the Chinese government had rebuilt his hometown just four years after a calamitous earthquake shattered every last building, killing at least 3,000 people and leaving more than 100,000 others homeless. … Late last month, the authorities bulldozed several Tibetan-owned brick factories in Yushu at the behest of Han kiln owners who were reportedly unhappy with the competition, according to Radio Free Asia, the American-financed news service.


May 20 “S. Korea voices condolences to N. Korea over apartment collapse

South Korea expressed its condolences to North Korea over a recent deadly collapse of an apartment building in Pyongyang, an official said Tuesday, a rare goodwill gesture after recent harsh verbal tit-for-tat between the archrivals. … The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said it has not received any request for help from North Korea over the apartment collapse, according to the Washington-based Radio Free Asia.


May 19 “Activists Kidnap 2 Chinese Workers At Myanmar Mine

Two Chinese workers at a copper mine in Myanmar have been kidnapped by activists who are demanding the project be halted, the company and villagers said Monday. … Presidential adviser and deputy information minister Ye Htut told Radio Free Asia that the government is trying to resolve the situation peacefully, but warned the villagers to avoid provoking the police.


May 18 “Marriage laws spark rights fears
On the main roundabout in the centre of Yangon, three houses of religious worship sit next to each other: a pagoda, a church and a mosque. But this cosy picture of religious tolerance is deceiving. … Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has spoken out against the laws. She told Radio Free Asia that they are “a violation of women’s rights and human rights”. The laws are also unlikely to reduce tensions.


May 17 “Three jailed for pimping young girl in Shanghai

Three people who forced an underage girl into prostitution after luring her to the city from her hometown in Shaanxi province were sentenced to prison terms between 6 and a half years to 11 years yesterday, the Baoshan District People's court said. … A number of underage sex scandals reported in China last year led to public outrage over "weak" laws surrounding the subject. According to Radio Free Asia, sex with a person under 14, with or without consent, was deemed rape until 1997, when the Sex Crimes Against Girls Law was introduced.


May 16 “Three Chinese officials knifed to death in Xinjiang - report

Three Chinese government officials were knifed to death and their bodies dumped in a lake, in the latest incident of violence in the restive far western region of Xinjiang, Radio Free Asia reported. … The officials were county-level representatives, Radio Free Asia said in its report on Thursday, but did not name them. Officials contacted by Reuters at the town public security department and the external affairs office of the Xinjiang government said they could not comment on the case, but gave no reason why. Radio Free Asia quoted an official at a police station near the murder site as saying the attackers slit the throats of two victims and stabbed the third 31 times, before pushing the trio into the lake.


May 15 “Violent Chinese crackdown on another Tibetan mine protest reported

China had launched a large-scale, violent crackdown in early March as Tibetan protests against environmentally destructive mining took place in yet another county of Chamdo (Chinese: Changdu) Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region, reported Radio Free Asia (Washington) May 13. Some 500 paramilitary People’s Armed Police troops were brought in and a number of Tibetans beaten, with 30 being detained, in Lathok Township of the prefecture’s Chamdo County, the report said.


May 14 “Australia donates US$2.8 mln in food aid to N. Korea

Australia has donated 3 million Australian dollars (US$2.8 million) to help feed children and pregnant women in North Korea, a U.S. news report said Wednesday. The Australian government earmarked the money for donation for North Korean children and mothers-to-be for fiscal 2013 spanning from July last year to June 2014, and they finished the paperwork for the donation to the World Food Programme (WFP) in early May, according to the report by the Washington-based Radio Free Asia.


May 11 “A Devotion to Language Proves Risky

A poet, linguist and globe-trotting polyglot, Abduweli Ayup had a passion for the spoken word, notably Uighur, the Turkic language spoken in his homeland in China’s far northwest. … “It was a kind of symbolic activism, to let people know how China was treating the status of the Uighur language,” said Mr. Juma, the childhood friend, who is a senior editor at Radio Free Asia, an American-financed news service. … The police have not allowed lawyers or family members to see the detained men, but a relative who made contact with the authorities late last year told Radio Free Asia that Mr. Ayup had become seriously ill in jail.


May 11 “Protest Against Waste Plant in Hangzhou Turns Violent

Thousands of people in China’s Hangzhou city protested yesterday against plans by the local government to build a waste incinerator, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. … Protests against the waste project in Hangzhou were also held earlier this month, according to a report by Radio Free Asia on May 5 which cited local residents who said they feared pollution from the plant would affect their health.


May 7 “European business delegation to visit N. Korea in Sept: report

A European business delegation plans to visit North Korea in September to explore business opportunities in the isolated country, a U.S. radio report said. The Washington-based Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported Tuesday that the delegation is set to travel to the North from Sept. 23 to Sept. 28, citing GPI Consultancy, a consulting company in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, that focuses on North Korea and other developing countries.


May 7 “Vietnam: Arrests of Internet Activists Escalate

Vietnamese authorities should drop all charges and immediately release bloggers Nguyen Huu Vinh (also known as Ba Sam) and Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy, Human Rights Watch said today. … It advised readers on how to bypass Vietnam government-installed firewalls to read news published outside of Vietnam, including articles on regularly blocked websites such as Radio Free Asia, Voice of America (Vietnam service), the British Broadcasting Corporation (Vietnam service), and other websites.


May 6 “Another Violent Attack at Railway Station in China

An attacker unleashed a brazen late morning assault outside a railroad station in Guangzhou, China, on Tuesday, slashing at least six people. It was the third such attack by assailants at railroad stations since March. … While the Chinese government has been suggesting the recent violence has been directed or inspired by groups outside the country, Uighur leaders, including Rebiya Kadeer, a critic of the Chinese Communist Party who lives in the Washington, D.C., lay the blame for recent attacks on what she called repressive policies by Beijing. “To someone who knows the region from the inside and has seen the policies the Uighur people have to face, the real perpetrator would be obvious,” she said in an interview Friday with Radio Free Asia.


May 6 “N. Korea rations 420 grams of food to each person in April

North Korea doled out 420 grams of food to each person per day in April, the same amount as in the previous month, a news report said Tuesday. Citing the U.N. World Food Program's office in Pyongyang, the Washington-based Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported that last month's daily food ration per capita was unchanged from March though the North marked the 102 birthday of Kim Il-sung, founder of the communist country and grandfather of current leader Kim Jong-un.


May 4 “Muzzle slips back over Myanmar press
Intimidation and arrests of journalists in the past few months are indicative of a decline in recently regained press freedoms, tainting the image of Myanmar’s reform process in the run-up to next year’s elections. … Foreigners working with news outlets inside the country are exempt from this new rule, Ye Htut, deputy information minister, told Radio Free Asia.


May 2 “Vocal award-winning Chinese journalist missing, feared detained

PEN says 70 year old Gao Yu has not been heard from for a week, and nothing is known of her whereabouts. … We also have a new case that we're very concerned about, which is that of Ilham Tohti, who is a Uighur scholar and economist and a professor at a university in Beijing. … And last year, he drafted a statement, which he released on Radio Free Asia where he talks about his grave fear that he is going to be arrested, that the government may fake a suicide.

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