RFA in the News (November 2009)

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Nov. 29 “Prospect of U.S.-N.Korea Talks ‘Looking Dark’”

Prospects for bilateral talks between North Korea and the U.S. aimed at persuading Pyongyang back to the nuclear negotiating table are “dark,” a senior South Korean government official on Sunday said.

… Quoting a source in Washington, Radio Free Asia in the U.S. reported that a small delegation consisting of Bosworth, U.S. special envoy to the six-party talks Sung Kim, and officials from the State and Defense departments and the National Security Council will fly to Pyongyang.


Nov. 28 “US Envoy to Visit N.Korea on Military Airplane”

A U.S. broadcaster says U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Policy Stephen Bosworth will fly to Pyongyang in a military airplane from Osan Air Base in South Korea.

Radio Free Asia cited a diplomatic source in Washington as saying a U.S. delegation led by Bosworth will arrive in Seoul on December 6th and leave for Pyongyang on December 8th.


Nov. 27 “China's Famous AIDS Activist Arrives in U.S.”

After more than two years of silence, 82-year-old Gao Yaojie spoke publicly in Hong Kong at the release of her new book, China's AIDS Plague: 10,000 Letters.

… She plans to hold a press conference in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 1—World AIDS Day, according to Radio Free Asia.


Nov. 26 “Opinion-Editorial: Pressure from Sino-US ties”

The unusually lengthy 4,228-word joint statement issued on November 17, at the conclusion of US President Barack Obama's four-day visit to the People's Republic of China, reflects the changing global geopolitical balance of power.

… Other suggestions of heightened US sensitivity were its move to curtail funding for Radio Free Asia and Voice of America transmissions to China, which did not materialise due to resistance by the US Congress, and Obama's failure to meet the Dalai Lama during his visit to Washington. After an interval of three years Washington received Xu Caihou, vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission, in late October, marking the resumption of high-level military exchanges.


Nov. 25 “New FM radio station to be set up in Shan State”

One more new FM radio station will be set up soon in Shan State East’s Tachilek, opposite Thailand’s Maesai, according sources from the Thai-Burma border.
… Radio stations operating outside Burma include Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), Radio Free Asia (RFA), BBC and Voice of America (VOA). All the stations are also running weekly ethnic programs in their own mother tongues as well.


Nov. 24 “N.Koreans ‘Worried Their Next Leader Will Be Worse’”

North Koreans are well aware that Kim Jong-il's son Jong-un has been nominated as his father’s successor and worry that his rule would be even harsher than Kim senior's, Radio Free Asia said Sunday quoting a North Korean source.


Nov. 22 “Josh Kurlantzick - Nonstop party: The surprising persistence of Chinese communism”

… Washington also must recognize that trade and investment alone will not open up Chinese politics; the US could focus on areas where Beijing, though increasingly sure of itself, remains weak - such as providing technology for Chinese bloggers to get around Internet filters, or highlighting the vast problems of rural Chinese society (both Voice of America and Radio Free Asia have extensive Chinese broadcasts which penetrate rural China).


Nov. 22 “Chinese rights lawyer's wife gets US asylum: supporters”

WASHINGTON — The United States has granted political asylum to the wife and children of jailed Chinese civil rights lawyer Guo Feixiong who the family says is suffering abuse, supporters said Saturday.

… In an interview with Radio Free Asia, Zhang [Qing] said that her husband has suffered abuse since his latest arrest in September 2006 including having his hands and feet tied together to a hardboard bed for 42 days.


Nov. 21 “Junta Seeks to Win Hearts and Minds with FM Radio

Rangoon — The 3-year-old girl with thanaka on her face thrilled to the sound of her own voice as she sang along to a song coming out of a cheap, Chinese-made radio. It was one o’clock on a Saturday afternoon, and she was listening to her favorite children’s program on Mandalay’s local FM radio station.

… But at the same time that stations such as the Democratic Voice of Burma and the Burmese-language services of the BBC, Radio Free Asia and Voice of America have become fixtures in the lives of ordinary Burmese, local radio stations, usually run by municipal governments, have also become more popular.


Nov. 18 “Former Bush press secretary Perino appointed to Obama administration post”

Former press secretary to President George W. Bush Dana Perino was appointed as a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) Wednesday evening. The board governs all government sponsored, non-military international broadcasting outlets, such as Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, and Alhurra. The BBG is a nine member, bipartisan panel.


Nov. 19 “N.Korea ‘Planned to Invade South Despite Sunshine Policy’”

North Korea built about 800 bunkers in the demilitarized zone to keep military equipment between 2004 and 2007, Radio Free Asia said Monday quoting a former North Korean colonel who has worked for a South Korean military intelligence agency after defecting during the 2000s.


Nov. 18 “McAfee: DDos Attacks Likely Targeted USFK Comm. Disruption”

A U.S. security software company says the distributed denial-of-service (DDos) attacks that targeted major South Korean and U.S. Internet portals in July may have been aimed at disrupting communication between the U.S. military and the U.S. Forces in Korea.

Radio Free Asia reports that McAfee said in its annual report that if North Korea was behind the DDos attacks, it may have been trying to find out what impact increased communication traffic between South Korea and the U.S. has on the communication between USFK and the mainland U.S. military.


Nov. 12 “Ten questions for Barack Obama to put to Hu Jintao”

Reporters Without Borders calls on US President Barack Obama to put 10 questions about freedom of expression to his counterpart, Hu Jintao, during his visit to China.

… Why do the Chinese authorities jam the programmes that are broadcast in Mandarin, Tibetan and Uyghur by the US-funded stations Radio Free Asia and Voice of America?


Nov. 12 “Will Obama's Visit Improve China's Human Rights?”

With President Obama’s upcoming visit to China, the first since his inauguration, many people are raising voices of hope as well as concern. Does Obama understand the nature of the Chinese regime? Will he go beyond issues of economics, nuclear non-proliferation, and climate change to address President Hu regarding issues that truly separate our two countries—freedom of belief and freedom of expression?

… According to a Radio Free Asia report, Qi Zhiyong and Li Jinping, two human rights activists, planned to hold a human rights’ forum on Nov. 11 near Beijing’s Jianguomen where many foreign agencies are located, to draw attention to the Chinese dissidents currently imprisoned.


Nov. 9 “Protesting Tibetan pyramid scheme victims rounded up, their Chinese fraudsters untouched”

More than 3,000 people’s armed police rounded up a group of 98 Tibetans early in the morning of Nov 6 from Tianjin Municipality in China where they had been staging a sit-in protest in front of TIENS corporate headquarters, reported Radio Free Asia (RFA) online Nov 6.


Nov. 6 “OPINION - Melanie Kirkpatrick: What Obama Should Say to North Korea”

Now that the Obama administration is talking directly to the rulers of North Korea, it would be fitting if it also had a message for the people these leaders oppress.

Even better, he could visit the offices of Radio Free Asia, Voice of America or Free North Korea Radio (run by refugees) and broadcast a message of support to the North Korean people themselves.

EXAMINER (online)

Nov. 5 “Global human trafficking highlights”

… Radio Free Asia reported today that 50% of migrants from Burma in Thailand are illegal. The report also emphasized the extreme poverty in Burma as the primary cause behind the migration of Burmese to Thailand.


Nov. 5 “Washington, Pyongyang agree to bilateral talks”

North Korea and the US have made "substantial progress" by agreeing to hold two rounds of bilateral talks before the North returns to the Six-Party Talks, the US-based Foreign Policy magazine reported.

Meanwhile, Radio Free Asia reported Wednesday that Ri denied, when asked in a forum held in New York Friday, if North Korea is demanding to be recognized as a nuclear power, according to South Korea's Yonhap News.

Nov. 3 “Student dies as H1N1 breaks out in Beijing”

A freshman from the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (BUAA) died on Oct. 27 after being diagnosed with H1N1 influenza according to the Beijing Health Bureau. While official figures for infections in Beijing run at over 6,000, experts say it is only the tip of the iceberg.

… “Right now the hospitals are full of children,” said one Beijing resident via Radio Free Asia. “They developed high fever very quickly, followed by vomiting, showing no signs of recovery even after a week.”

… “There is no longer statistical numbers collected for H1N1 cases, just conventional treatment and conventional inspections. The numbers are not reported,” an operator for Beijing’s public welfare health hotline told Radio Free Asia.


Nov. 3 “RIGHTS-CHINA: ‘Give Uyghurs a Chance to Live in Peace’; Catherine Makino interviews REBIYA KADEER, president of the World Uyghur Congress”

… IPS: But how can your voice be heard when your people cannot reach you by Internet or by phone?
R[ebiya] K[adeer]: We can’t contact them by international phone or Internet. In fact, more than 1,500 sites have been closed and their members arrested. They hear my words through Radio Free Asia [which interviewed her in Tokyo]. Some people in Shanghai and Beijing hear my voice and then send it inside Xinjiang.

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