RFA in the News (November 2015)


Nov. 30 “Suu Kyi takes fresh look at reconciliation

Aung San Suu Kyi, chair of the National League for Democracy (NLD), has made new moves to achieve national reconciliation. She said last week that she would restart the peace process in an effort to persuade other groups to sign the ceasefire. Speaking on the Radio Free Asia programme, Rough Journey to Democracy, she said: "We will have to negotiate from the beginning in order to lay down the political framework for the nationwide ceasefire.


Nov. 26 “Myanmar cabinet to include ethnic groups, other parties: Aung San Suu Kyi

Myanmar's new cabinet will include members of other political parties and representatives of ethnic minorities, the leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) Aung San Suu Kyi said on Thursday, stressing the need for national reconciliation. The NLD won a majority in both houses of Myanmar's parliament and also fared better than expected against ethnic political parties in regional legislatures. … "Our party has won an overwhelming majority of the seats but we won't take them all," Suu Kyi said, referring to cabinet seats in an interview with Radio Free Asia's Myanmar language service broadcast on Thursday.


Nov. 26 “Suu Kyi Blames Lack of Safety Regulations For Deadly Landslide

A disregard for the rule of law in the jade mining industry in Burma has made accidents such as the landslide that killed more than 100 people at the weekend a common occurrence, Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi said on Thursday. Authorities called off search efforts late on Wednesday in Hpakant, with as many as 100 people estimated still missing after a huge slag heap of mining debris gave way on Saturday and buried a makeshift settlement of migrant workers as they slept. “As far as we understand, it was the fifth similar incident this year,” Suu Kyi told Radio Free Asia’s Burmese language service during an interview broadcast on Thursday.


Nov. 25 “Chinese Police Accused of Harassing Family of Dead Rights Activist

The sisters of a Chinese rights activist who died in detention in the southern city of Guangzhou earlier this month were summoned on Tuesday by local authorities after they responded angrily to news of his death, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reports. … When authorities reported that her brother Zhang Liumao died in police custody early on Nov. 4, his family suspected that he had been tortured and beaten by police. The dead activist’s lawyer viewed his body, RFA reports, and said it showed “multiple signs of severe physical assault.”


Nov. 24 “China orders telecoms to cut service for users who evade Great Firewall

China has suspended cellphone service for Xinjiang residents attempting to evade the country’s Great Firewall, reinforcing the government’s grasp on all things digital. … “If you download VPN software to your phone, it will switch off immediately and then you have to go to the police and apply to have it unlocked,” an anonymous source told Radio Free Asia last week.


Nov. 23 “China forces used flamethrower to hunt Xinjiang 'terrorists' - army newspaper

Chinese forces used a flamethrower to force more than 10 "terrorists" from a cave in the western Xinjiang region, the military's top newspaper said on Monday, in a graphic account of the hunt for what Beijing called foreign-led extremists. China said on Friday that security forces had recently killed 28 members of a group that carried out a deadly attack at a coal mine in Aksu in September, the first official mention of the incident reported by Radio Free Asia about two months ago.


Nov. 23 “Rewriting History: Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang

… This is just the latest move in the official effort to erase the legacy of Zhao Ziyang. Since Zhao’s death in 2005, his family has not been allowed to bury his ashes alongside those of his late wife in Beijing. In April, authorities finally promised his family that a burial would be allowed, but since then turned down their application for a shared burial site. From Radio Free Asia, via Asia Times[.]


Nov. 23 “The Men and Women Who Fight China’s Shadowy ‘Anti-Terrorist’ War

In the aftermath of the Paris ISIS attacks, the Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai lit up in blue, white and red, to mark the French tricolor. … The official blackout was punctured by the Uighur-language service of Radio Free Asia (RFA), a media outfit in Washington, D.C., that receives U.S. government funding and which has been accused by Beijing of fomenting separatist activity in Xinjiang. RFA initially reported that 50 people had died in the coal-mine attack. But little further information trickled out. Roadblocks in Aksu kept outsiders from the coal-mine area, especially curious foreign reporters.


Nov. 22 “Encryption for good or evil? The debate rages on

Encryption can be a terrorist's tool. But it's also a key for those hunting attackers, and for many others. … The US government has acknowledged this need by funding projects for secure and encrypted communications through the Open Technology Fund led by Radio Free Asia, and which Meinrath has advised. Illustrating the complexity of the issue, however, the fund provided more than $1.3 million to the Open Whisper project - whose Redphone and Signal apps have been deemed "safe" by IS for its members to use.


Nov. 20 “Thai junta's repatriation of refugees to China under fire globally

Thailand is drawing harsh criticism from the U.S. government, human rights organizations and others for the arrest and repatriation of two Chinese activist refugees, seen as an attempt to curry favor with the regional heavyweight. … The two activists' families have left Bangkok for Toronto, Radio Free Asia reported Wednesday. Canada is thought to be the country offering to accept the refugees.


Nov. 18 “North Korea executed women for South Korean TV show, source says

North Korea has executed three women for distributing a South Korean television drama, according to a source in the country. The three women, all housewives, were found guilty of making copies of a television show then circulating the media, Radio Free Asia reported Wednesday.


Nov. 15 “North Korean workers abroad ordered not to meet foreigners: RFA

North Korean workers abroad have been ordered to stay put and not contact any foreigners in an apparent effort by the North Korean government to stave off their defections, the U.S.-based Radio Free Asia reported Sunday. "The North Korean government has ordered workers dispatched overseas and employees residing abroad not to leave their assigned workplaces and residences, as well as not directly contacting foreigners other than the locals," the RFA said in its recent report, citing North Korean sources.


Nov. 13 “Myanmar's lobbyists could face chopping block after historic election

A lucrative K Street contract with the government of Myanmar may be in jeopardy following a historic election that saw the democracy movement in the country capture a majority in its parliament.

In April, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, also known as Burma, signed a contract with Podesta Group worth $840,000 for a year of services. … The contract may be nixed before it is set to expire next year, though, as Suu Kyi has vocally criticized the hiring of a lobbying firm.“I’m interested to know the motive behind it. [The government] said they hired the group to lobby for them,” she said during an interview on Radio Free Asia, according to The Irrawaddy, a nonprofit organization that reports on Burma and Southeast Asia. “To lobby for what? The responsibility of the government is to serve the interests of its citizens. If it can fulfill this duty, why bother to hire such a group?”


Nov. 11 “The Latest: Opposition: Myanmar leader congratulates Suu Kyi

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party says Myanmar's president has sent a message promising to "pursue a peaceful transfer" of power following its expected victory in parliamentary elections. … Tin Oo who founded the National League for Democracy, told the U.S.-funded Radio Free Asia in an interview "I do (believe she will become president). That's why I am helping and working for her."


Nov. 11 “The world’s eye on the Xi-Ma meeting

MEDIA across the world had kept their eyes fixated upon the Xi-Ma meeting long before it took place on Nov 7 in Singapore. … Taipei Times(臺北時報)Financial Times and even non-profit news organisation Radio Free Asia, have linked the Xi-Ma meeting to the topic of elections, reporting on how Ma defends significance of meeting with Xi.


Nov. 10 “Fears Grow for Missing Hong Kong Publishers Who Were Critical of China

Four Hong Kong publishers known for their racy texts critical of communist leaders in mainland China have apparently disappeared, leading some to suspect that they have been detained by authorities across the border. Sage Bookstore, an outlet for politically sensational books about Chinese leaders in Hong Kong’s bustling Causeway Bay district, has been shuttered since October, when Gui Haiming, a Swedish citizen who owns the shop’s parent company, failed to return from a holiday in Thailand. Lu Bo, the company’s general manager, and Zhang Zhiping, an employee, went missing shortly thereafter while visiting family in mainland China, according to a report by Radio Free Asia (RFA). The bookstore’s manager, Lin Rongji, is also missing, RFA says.


Nov. 9 “Myanmar opposition: poll panel delaying results deliberately

The party of Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday accused the government election panel of intentionally delaying results that appear to show it winning a massive majority, saying it wants to "maybe play a trick." … Despite such odds, USDP co-chairman Htay Oo said Friday that his party will win the election comfortably. "Some expect that the USDP will win 80 percent in the election, but I want to say we will win between 65 and 80 percent," he told Radio Free Asia's Myanmar service. He said experts have underestimated the support for the party.

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