RFA in the News (November 2012)

2012-12-02
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AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE

Nov. 30 “Top US official meets families of Tibetan self-immolators”

The families of three Tibetans who have set themselves alight to protest China's rule met this week with a top US official who voiced Washington's grave concern over the Chinese crackdown. … According to the US-based Radio Free Asia, the latest incidents on Sunday and Monday -- two in Gansu province, one in Qinghai and one in Sichuan -- brought the number to 21 this month and 85 since 2009.

COMMITTEE TO PROTECT JOURNALISTS BLOG

Nov. 30 “Confusion grows around missing Tibetan monk filmmaker

Not unusually, an already confusing situation in Tibet just got worse. … Let's concentrate instead on what we do know about Jigme Gyatso. After his initial arrest for making the film, he reported being tortured in Chinese prison. Radio Free Asia has reported he lost consciousness due to beatings, and was prodded in the face with electric batons.

GLOBAL VOICES

Nov. 29 “Netizen Report: Facebookistan Edition

Facebook has faced another wave of scrutiny from Europe for changes to its privacy policies. … A Vietnamese court upheld a 6-year jail sentence that had been imposed on the dissident blogger Dinh Dang Dinh for criticizing the government on the Internet. According to a report by Radio Free Asia, the Vietnamese police beat the blogger and herded him into a truck following the hearing.

ASSOCIATED PRESS (Also in UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, EXAMINER)

Nov. 28 “Tibetan protests against Chinese rule in new phase”

Two dozen Tibetans have set themselves on fire in western China this month in a dramatic acceleration of the protests against authoritarian Chinese rule, activist groups say. … Four students were detained as of Tuesday, according to U.S.-funded broadcaster Radio Free Asia.

BBC (Also in NEW YORK TIMES, NPR, ASSOCIATED PRESS, AGENCE FRANCE PRESS, DEUTSCHE PRESSE AGENTUR, TIBETAN REVIEW, UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL, ORIENTAL DAILY, ASIAN NEWS INTERNATIONAL)

Nov. 27 “Tibetan students protest, as four more self-immolations reported”

Reports said more than 1,000 students took part in the protest, which was reportedly provoked by the contents of a book. … "The students of Tsolho Medical Institute protested against the distribution of a book condemning the study of Tibetan language as devoid of relevance and the self-immolations as acts of stupidity," US-based Radio Free Asia (RFA) quoted an exile as saying.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Nov. 25 “World Watch”

North Korea: Though not exactly welcoming visitors with open arms, the government may be relaxing some tourism restrictions, making it easier for foreigners to visit. Radio Free Asia reports that immigration and tourism officials in recent months seem to be approving tourist visas within days instead of weeks, easing strict policies against tour photography and conducting less detailed immigration screenings. Also, the security officers who formerly rode on tour buses to keep an eye on visitors have been notably absent. A boom in Chinese tourists to North Korea may have prompted the shift.

MIZZIMA

Nov. 23 “Monywa copper mine protesters lack supplies”

The 200 protesters who continue to "sit-in" at Ledi camp on Latpadaung Mountain in Sagaing Division are suffering from a lack of food, water and medicine, said one of the protest organizers. … However, recent reports indicate China is growing wary of the rising rural demonstrations over land confiscation. The Chinese Ambassador to Burma said Beijing would stop backing the Monywa copper mine if the project did not benefit Burma, according to a Radio Free Asia report in October.

DEUTSCHE PRESSE AGENTUR (Also in JAPAN ECONOMIC NEWSWIRE, TIBETAN REVIEW)

Nov. 20 “Two more Tibetans die in self-immolation protests in China”

Two more Tibetans have died after separate self-immolation protests in restive areas of western China, the latest of 16 similar protests this month, reports said on Tuesday.… Another Tibetan man died after self-immolating on Monday evening in the nearby Xunhua county of Qinghai province, the exile government and US-based Radio Free Asia reported.

WDEL

Nov. 20 “Interview featuring RFA Executive Editor Dan Southerland”

Radio Free Asia Executive Editor Dan Southerland spoke on Delaware news radio station WDEL as an expert about President Obama’s trip to Southeast Asia and Burma in particular, elaborating on issues facing the region in terms of free speech and press freedom reforms, among other topics.

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE (Also in CHINA POST, DEUTSCHE PRESSE AGENTUR)

Nov. 19 “China court gives dissident 12-year sentence: Lawyer”

A Chinese court Monday sentenced a prominent dissident who was involved in the 1989 Tiananmen pro-democracy demonstrations to 12 years in prison for contract fraud, a lawyer said. … Li was detained by police two months after Liao's escape, Radio Free Asia reported last year. It quoted dissidents as saying the detention was a punishment for his continued activities.

ASIA NEWS

Nov. 19 “Redemptorist superior says no to transferring the members of his order out of Hanoi”

Fr Vincent Nguyen Trung Thanh, Redemptorist provincial superior of Vietnam, said no to Nguyen The Thao, chairman of the Hanoi People’s Committee (City Hall) who asked him transfer the Redemptorists out of the capital after he accused them of contempt for the law and the state in the Thai Ha parish land affair. In an interview with Radio Free Asia, the clergyman in response to a question said that he did not expect the Church-state conflict to escalate or to see more government attacks. “The Church-state relation depends on many factors. The way the government treats people, its religion policy, the land law . . . . There are a lot” of them, he explained. Instead he said he was hopeful that peaceful dialogue was still possible and that government officials would exert self-restraint.

WALL STREET JOURNAL

Nov. 18 “Opinion – Brad Adams: Speak Truth to Cambodia's Dictator

In his election-night victory speech in Chicago, U.S. President Barack Obama recognized that people in many parts of the world are still struggling for the most basic of rights. … One person now in a cage is Mam Sonando, the owner of Cambodia's most prominent independent radio station, Beehive Radio. Mr. Sonando has long angered the government by broadcasting Khmer-language news from U.S.-funded Radio Free Asia and hosting call-in shows where average Cambodians vent against corruption and abuses.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Nov. 16 “2 more Tibetans set themselves ablaze in far west China, latest suicide protest in region”

A U.S. broadcaster says two young Tibetans died after setting themselves ablaze in far west China, the latest in a string of suicide protests over Beijing’s handling of its Tibetan regions. Radio Free Asia said by email that a 23-year-old woman and a male teenager whose exact age was not known set themselves on fire separately Thursday in Tongren country in Qinghai province. The statement said both died.

ASSOCIATED PRESS (Also in AL JAZEERA, RTHK, CHINA DIGITAL TIMES)

Nov. 15 “Xi takes China's helm with many tough challenges”

Long-anointed successor Xi Jinping assumes the leadership of China at a time when the ruling Communist Party is confronting slower economic growth, a public clamor to end corruption and demands for change that threaten its hold on power. … Two young Tibetans died Thursday after setting themselves ablaze in far west China, Radio Free Asia said, in the latest of dozens of suicide protests over Beijing’s handling of its Tibetan regions.

INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES

Nov. 15 “Vietnam's Prime Minister Urged To Resign”

Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has been urged to resign by a Vietnamese politician over his mishandling of the nation's faltering economy. … On Wednesday the prime minister was called on to resign during a televised parliamentary meeting by Duong Trung Quoc, a non-party member of the National Assembly. According to Radio Free Asia, Quoc reiterated that an apology by Dung was not enough to appease the Vietnamese public.

TIBETAN REVIEW

Nov. 15 “US calls out China’s Uyghur bluff”

Has the US government finally called China’s bluff in describing exile-based activist for the World Uyghur Congress as a terrorist? After barring him from visiting the county over the last 13 years, the US government has finally granted visa to Dolkun Isa, the group’s Germany-based spokesman, reported Radio Free Asia (Washington) Nov 13.

INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE (Also in NEW YORK TIMES Online)

Nov. 12 “In Beijing, Fire Brigades at the Ready”

Two young Tibetan men killed themselves by fire on Monday as self-immolations continued during the Communist Party congress in Beijing. There have been 10 immolations this month, according to the Tibetan government in exile, news reports and interviews with activists. A grisly photograph of one of the immolations Monday is here, on the Web site of Radio Free Asia.

LOS ANGELES TIMES

Nov. 10 “The king of Little Saigon”

He runs a trade magazine for the nail salon industry and lives quietly with his family in a small mobile home on the edge of town. … Since his election as Westminster's mayor Tuesday, Ta has been featured on Radio Free Asia, invited to San Jose to meet with Vietnamese leaders and watched as his name rocketed across the Internet, from Houston to Hanoi.

AL JAZEERA

Nov. 9 “Exiled Uyghurs call for China reforms”

Just hours before her death sentence and execution, Rebiya Kadeer found herself shackled inside Liudaowan Prison in China's far-western Xinjiang region. If only to calm her nerves, she assured herself that her death was for her fellow Uyghurs, a Muslim minority in the world’s most populous country. … n another incident in December 2011, seven Uyghurs were killed in the province of Khotan. They were accused of being “violent terrorists” on their way to “jihad training” in Kashmir. But the US-based Radio Free Asia said the group, which included women and children, was only trying to escape China so they could freely practice their religion.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Nov. 9 “25 killed in Myanmar tanker train explosion

Twenty-five people were killed in northern Myanmar when a derailed tanker train burst into flames as they were trying to skim fuel from its overturned carriages, state television reported Friday. … A witness, Myint Kyi, told the U.S.-funded broadcaster Radio Free Asia that the dead included 16 men, seven women and two bodies so badly burned their gender was not immediately apparent. He gave the number of injured as 74.

NEW YORK TIMES

Nov. 7 “China: At Least 4 Tibetans Set Themselves on Fire in Protest”

At least four Tibetans set themselves on fire Wednesday to protest Chinese rule in Tibetan areas, according to reports by Free Tibet, an advocacy group, and Radio Free Asia, which is financed by the United States government. Since March 2011, nearly 70 Tibetans have self-immolated, and the number on Wednesday was the highest in a single day.

TIBETAN REVIEW

Nov. 7 “China again disappears monk for his 2008 Tibet filming role”
A Tibetan monk who has been in and out of jail several times since Mar 2008 for helping in the filming of footage for a documentary of interviews with Tibetans under Chinese rule has disappeared again, apparently taken away by police. “He was returning from Lanzhou (Capital of Yunnan Province) on Sep 20 and disappeared on the way, and nobody knows where he is,” Radio Free Asia (Washington) Nov 5 quoted Beijing-based Tibet blog activist Ms Tsering Woeser as saying.

REPORTERS WITHOUT BORDERS

Nov. 7 “Press Release: Already reelected – censorship and harassment of news providers”

The next generation of China’s leaders will be named during the 18th congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that opens today in Beijing. They include the party’s general secretary, who will also be China’s president, the prime minister and the chairman of the National People’s Congress. … More recently, the authorities in Jinan arrested the lawyer Shu Xiangxin on a charge of blackmail and extortion on the night of 5 November and seized his computer. His wife, who was interviewed by Radio Free Asia, was also interrogated for several hours by the police.

GLOBAL POST

Nov. 6 “Fighting outside pressure, Laos proceeds with super dam

Laos -- remote, landlocked and impoverished -- has little to offer in the way of international trade. But one commodity it can sell is its rivers or, rather, the power that can be tapped from its rushing river currents. … As Radio Free Asia reports, a full 95 percent of the dam's energy will be zapped to Thailand. International Rivers, an NGO opposed to the dam, insists that the project will "destroy the river’s complex ecosystems," threaten fish species, displace villagers and perhaps permanently disrupt the Mekong's natural order.

TIBETAN REVIEW

Nov. 3 “Chinese netizen gets 8-year jail term for online democracy call”

Democracy, unless equated with the Communist Party of China’s right to monopolize political power, is a serious crime and cybercafe owner Cao Haibo, 27, has been jailed for eight years to drive home this point in no uncertain terms. A court in the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming on Oct. 31 imposed the sentence after Cao had called online for democracy and tried to form an opposition party, reported Radio Free Asia (Washington) Nov. 1, citing his lawyer.

FIERCEGOVERNMENT IT (Blog)

Nov. 1 “Burma loosens Internet censorship

The government of Burma lifted bans on several previously-blocked websites such as foreign news and political websites, as a wave of liberalization sweeps across the historically oppressive country, according to recent Internet filtering tests by the Open Net Initiative.

Beginning in September 2011, following the formal end of military rule that March, censorship of international news sites, such as Voice of America, BBC, and Radio Free Asia was significantly reduced, writes Irene Poetranto of the Open Net Initiative, in an Oct. 23 blog post. That October, Radio Free Asia reported that Burma's head of press censorship said that such censorship as "not in harmony with democratic practices" and that censorship "should be abolished in the near future." A formal censorship lift came in August 2012, according to RFA, but content deemed threatening to state security remains censored.

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