RFA in the News (November 2014)

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Nov. 28 “Violence in China’s far west has continued despite crackdown

Chinese authorities say in a six-month report card on their security crackdown in Xinjiang that they busted 115 terrorist gangs before they could unleash violence. … Rian Thum’s own tally drawn from reports by the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Asia showed an even higher toll for the period, about 200 this year compared to roughly 50 the previous year.


Nov. 27 “N.K. leader’s sister granted official post

North Korea revealed the job title of Kim Yo-jong, the younger sister of its leader Kim Jong-un, on Thursday, calling her a deputy director of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party, a post equivalent to vice minister. … As for the marital status of Kim Yo-jong, the U.S.-funded Radio Free Asia raised speculation last month that she might have married a senior official of Room 39, an agency that maintains the dictatorial ruler’s foreign currency slush funds.


Nov. 27 “Myanmar constitution summit ‘impractical’ -presidential spokesman

A summit of political leaders proposed by Myanmar's parliament to debate constitutional change is "impractical" and unlikely to happen, the president's spokesman said in a further setback to hopes for full democracy after 49 years of military rule. … "This six-party summit is rather impractical," presidential spokesman Ye Htut told the Myanmar-language service of Radio Free Asia on Thursday. "I don't think it can happen at the moment."


Nov. 25 “Allen Myers -- COMMENTARY: Another Illogical ‛Cure’ from Surya Subedi

With any luck, this may be the last time that Cambodians are asked to listen to the recipes of Surya Subedi, the United Nations special envoy on human rights in Cambodia. Subedi, who has filled the post since March 2009, is to leave it in March 2015 (or January 2015 according to Radio Free Asia, which may have more recent information than the UN). … Subedi’s latest recipe is a press release issued in Geneva on 18 November and quickly publicised by Radio Free Asia. In it, Subedi, modestly describing himself as a “rights expert”, advised the Cambodian government on how it should – or rather, shouldn’t – manage the court system.


Nov. 25 “Jong-un’s envoy ends Russia trip

North Korea’s special envoy to Russia wrapped up his Moscow trip on Monday, bolstering the friendship between the two nations and possibly arranging a summit between their two leaders. … During Choe’s trip, North Korea also secured economic cooperation projects with Russia. Choe visited Russia’s Far East to push forward plans for agricultural and industrial cooperation, Radio Free Asia reported.


Nov. 21 “OPINION: Repatriating Uighurs could come back to haunt us

Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon is sending out a very disturbing signal about the fate of a group of some 200 Turkic-speaking refugees who were founded huddling in a forest in Songkhla in March. … "Life is so hard [in the Thai detention centre]," one female refugee told Radio Free Asia's Uighur Service.


Nov. 21 “China upholds life sentence for Uighur academic

A Chinese court upheld a life sentence for internationally respected Uighur economist Ilham Tohti today, angering human rights groups and many in the academic and diplomatic communities who describe him as a voice of moderation during ongoing ethnic unrest in China’s far west. … Radio Free Asia reported this week that, according to Tohti’s wife, seven of Tohti’s students have been arrested and will face trial.


Nov. 18 “Thailand Is Searching for Scores of Uighurs Who Fled China

The Thai authorities said Tuesday that they were searching for about 120 ethnic Uighurs who fled China and were detained in southern Thailand by the police earlier this year but escaped this month from a shelter there. … A report on Monday by Radio Free Asia, which is financed by the United States government, put the number of recent Uighur escapees from detention in Thailand at more than 100. The report said the escapees were part of a group of more than 300 who were taken into custody together after officials stumbled across them at a rubber plantation in Songkhla in March. Earlier reports said that that group had about 220 members.


Nov. 18 “Myanmar won't amend constitution until after 2015 election - parliament speaker

Myanmar will not change its constitution until after a general election late next year, the parliament speaker said, complicating efforts by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to reduce the military's political power, or run for president. … "We can't afford in the present political and administrative scenario to make any mistakes in amending the constitution right now," he told reporters in the capital Naypyitaw, comments that were broadcast on Radio Free Asia on Wednesday.


Nov. 18 “British film studio making documentary on NK human rights

A British film studio is producing a documentary on human rights conditions in North Korea in an effort to raise international awareness of the issue, a U.S. media report said Tuesday. Radio Free Asia reported that the British film production company, Square Eyed Pictures, is currently making the documentary, "While They Watched," for release next month.


Nov. 18 “WhatsApp, most popular instant-messaging platform, to encrypt data for millions

WhatsApp, the world’s most popular instant-messaging platform, has begun encrypting all its data by default, a move that privacy advocates say will aid dissidents and human rights activists seeking to protect their communications from governments and hackers alike. … Open Whisper Systems received grants from the U.S. government, including from Radio Free Asia, and from a number of foundations to help the group develop the TextSecure encryption protocol. The encryption is open-source, free and available online.


Nov. 18 “China journalist Gao Yu to go to trial for ‘leaking state secrets’

Prominent Chinese journalist Gao Yu will go to trial behind closed doors on Friday in Beijing for allegedly leaking "state secrets" to foreign contacts, media reported Tuesday. … The document in question was said to be a government communique about China's ideology and propaganda control in media and the Internet, which was later published in the New York-based Ming Jing Magazine, the U.S.-based Radio Free Asia said. Gao, who works for Germany's international radio service Deutsche Welle, Radio Free Asia and Hong Kong magazine Mirror Monthly, was arrested during the 1989 military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square and held for a year.


Nov. 14 “An escalation of violence in Xinjiang

The list of violent incidents in Xinjiang this year is long, and getting longer all the time[.] … According to research by the US broadcaster Radio Free Asia (RFA), riots in late July in Yarkand County that left 96 dead - the bloodiest incident since the severe unrest of 2009 - began with protests against strict controls during the fasting month of Ramadan. RFA says the specific catalyst was the shooting of a family of five by the police, following an argument about a headscarf.


Nov. 14 “US Congress Tables Bill Seeking To Monitor Democratic Progress In Hong Kong

A bipartisan bill was tabled in the U.S. Congress Thursday, seeking to monitor the development of democracy and political rights in Hong Kong under a 1992 law, according to reports. The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Bill was submitted to both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and called for the revival of annual reports by the U.S. government to Congress on political developments in Hong Kong, according to Radio Free Asia.


Nov. 13 “U.S. Calls on Myanmar to Grant Rohingya Citizenship

The United States urged the Myanmar government to grant its Rohingya minority citizenship (Reuters) on Thursday. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also emphasized the "serious humanitarian issue" (Radio Free Asia) of Myanmar's 1.1 million Muslims, many of whom have been placed in internment camps, and U.S. President Barack Obama noted "slowdown and backsliding" in the country's political reform.


Nov. 10 “Nepotism in Assembly Not Illegal, Spokesman Says

CPP National Assembly spokesman Chheang Vun said Saturday that there will be no investigation into why the parliament’s bureaucratic ranks are stacked with family members of one of its chief administrators, explaining that no law prohibits nepotism in the public sector. … Speaking in an interview on Radio Free Asia on Saturday, Mr. Vun, who is also a long-serving CPP lawmaker, said there would be no investigation into Mr. Chhay’s claims.


Nov. 7 “US pressure urged over jailed Myanmar journalists

Myanmar's transformation from pariah state to aspiring democracy has been kind to blogger Nay Phone Latt. He was freed from a 20-year prison term imposed for his coverage of anti-junta protests. He now has a weekly program on U.S.-funded Radio Free Asia and runs an internationally praised campaign against sectarian hate speech.


Nov. 6 “NK to allow tourists for marathon

North Korea has allowed a U.S.-based travel agency to sell a tourism package for those who want to participate in next year's Pyongyang Marathon, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported Thursday.


Nov. 5 “China to punish Tibet officials who support Dalai Lama

China will severely punish officials in Tibet who support the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader and Nobel laureate, state-run media reported Wednesday. … More than 130 Tibetans have set themselves on fire since 2009 in protest at Chinese rule, according to Radio Free Asia, which is supported by the US government.


Nov. 5 “Official Outlines CPP’s Stance in Stalled Reform Negotiations

A senior CPP official on Monday night outlined the ruling party’s stance in its stalled negotiations with the opposition CNRP on the creation of the new bipartisan election commission. … On Monday night, Prum Sokha, a CPP member of the recent talks, appeared on Radio Free Asia to argue the case for the CPP. He said it was reasonable to require officials to hold only Cambodian passports in order to ensure loyalty.


Nov. 4 “North Koreans pay only 12 cents for monthly phone bills

Mobile phone subscribers in North Korea pay about 12 cents (1,000 North Korea won) for their monthly service fee, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported Monday. They can get up to 200 minutes in free calls every month by paying the fee, according to the RFA.

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