RFA in the News (October 2017)


Oct. 31 “Facebook’s new Explore Feed vexing Cambodian media and NGOs amid crackdown on dissent

… Yet Dimo joined millions of others who watched the event not from the streets, but from their phones – through a live feed from Radio Free Asia staffed by dozens of their reporters.


Oct. 31 “North Korea officials infiltrated South Korea to intimidate defectors

… North Korea has reportedly told defectors that they will not face punishment if they return home, and has sent spies into China and South Korea to convince defectors to return, anonymous sources told Radio Free Asia.


Oct. 30 “China detaining at least 30 of Uyghur leader's family

Kadeer, president of the Munich-based exile World Uyghur Congress (WUC), told Radio Free Asia on Oct. 27 that they were probably "sent to prison or political re-education camps" — used since April to hold thousands of Uyghurs accused of having "extremist" or "politically incorrect" views.


Oct. 30 “IOC Would Foot N.Korean Athletes' Winter Olympics Bill

The International Olympic Committee says it would cover all expenses for North Korean athletes who want to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, Radio Free Asia reported Saturday.


Oct. 27 “Dissident bookseller Gui Minhai is staying in eastern China and wishes to return to Europe, says friend

… A press statement released to US-backed Radio Free Asia by a writers’ association led by Bei said it is unknown whether Gui is free to come and go as he wishes in Ningbo.


Oct. 27 “Trump Congratulates Xi on 'Extraordinary Elevation'

… Meanwhile, Radio Free Asia reported that 16 U.S. lawmakers sent a letter to State Secretary Rex Tillerson urging him to designate North Korea as a terrorism-sponsoring state again.


Oct. 27 “Former senator Sok Hour speaks on his time in prison

… Then he would eat lunch and rest before again reading the paper and taking another walk. His days would end with dinner and the radio – either Voice of America or Radio Free Asia.


Oct. 26 “China activist who voiced support for Hong Kong Occupy movement released after serving 3 year sentence – lawyer

Her husband told US-backed Radio Free Asia last week that Su suffers from thyroid and heart disease, and was not in good health.


Oct. 26 “South Korean unification minister calls on North Korea to allow KIC visit

… DPRK state media outlets Uriminzokkiri and Arirang-Meari earlier in the month claimed that factories in the KIC will be “more vigorously operated” in the future –  a response to a Radio Free Asia (RFA) report claiming that Pyongyang was running secret sweatshops at the plant.


Oct. 26 “More activity underway at Kaesong Industrial Complex, satellite imagery suggests

… The observation of the changes on the plot of land comes after North Korean state media in early October appeared to confirm a Radio Free Asia report which said that the North had been operating some of the South Korean built factories at the facility for over half a year.


Oct. 25 “Tea Banh defends recent crackdown

… In September, the Cambodia Daily decided to cease operations after they were unable to pay a $6 million tax bill, while Radio Free Asia closed its office in Phnom Penh claiming government pressure was behind the move.


Oct. 23 “Criticism mounts as Cambodia government moves closer to dissolving opposition

Earlier this month, Rhona Smith, the special rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Cambodia, warned that civil and political rights in Cambodia were deteriorating rapidly, with deeply worrying implications for forthcoming elections and the future of democracy in the country.

"Modern Cambodia was established as a multi-party liberal democracy, respectful and protective of human rights," she told Radio Free Asia. "Its constitution sought to prevent a return to a single-party state. Those who drafted the Constitution were all too well aware of the consequences of one-party rule."


Oct. 23 “A quest to unify Cambodians

… Several radio stations have also been ordered by Sen's government to close or stop broadcasting, including Radio Free Asiaand Voice of America.


Oct. 22 “North Korea may be mass producing biological weapons: report

… Radio Free Asia cited a report released by Belfer Center of Harvard University’s Kennedy School in October, which says the communist state already has biological weapons and its industrial facilities are able to produce such weapons.


Oct. 20 “Report: North Korea elites being deprived of rations

… A North Korean executive who travels between China and North Korea told Radio Free Asia a "special distribution channel" reserved for elites has been cut off in Pyongyang.


Oct. 20 “Switzerland sanctions North Korea, but some guests workers to stay

… The country where leader Kim Jong Un attended boarding school announced new unilateral sanctions this week, reflecting measures included in United Nations Security Council sanctions Resolutions 2371 and 2375, adopted in August and September, respectively, Radio Free Asia reported.


Oct. 20 “How poet Chamnap Chhun built a following from the shadows, tackling social ills that most dare not discuss

… “I’m not ahead of the major turning points in politics,” he says. One of his most celebrated poems, Dr Kem Ley, was published the day after the beloved political analyst was murdered and was later performed by a singer in a Radio Free Asia broadcast.


Oct. 18 “Rights groups deplore worsening repression in Cambodia

… More than a dozen radio stations that broadcast dissident voices or used programming from the U.S. government-funded Voice of America and Radio Free Asia were forced to stop broadcasting for alleged breach of regulations.


Oct. 18 “China's Plan to Buy Influence and Undermine Democracy

… Facing vocal challenges from opposition groups ahead of next year’s general elections, he has begun actively silencing pro-democracy institutions, expelling the U.S.-funded National Democratic Institute, forcing Radio Free Asia to close its Phnom Penh officeshuttering the The Cambodia Dailyjailing opposition party leader Kem Sokha on allegedly phony charges of treason and collusion with the United States, and calling for the withdrawal of Peace Corps volunteers.


Oct. 18 “China jails and 'brainwashes' Imams to force them to give up their religious beliefs after they were found to be 'preaching Islam against the rules set by the Communist Party

An anonymous source told Radio Free Asia on Monday that the tough measures are based on a recent speech given last month by the region's Communist Party secretary Chen Quanguo.


Oct. 18 “RFA: Russia Plans to Continue Logistics Project with N. Korea

… Radio Free Asia (RFA) on Wednesday quoted Russian Ambassador to Pyongyang Alexander Matsegora as saying that Russia can maintain exchanges with North Korea on various areas, including culture, sports, youth and education while implementing the UN resolutions on the North.


Oct. 18 “Chinese police round up dissidents as Communist Party congress kicks off

… He told US-backed Radio Free Asia on Tuesday: “I said I wasn’t interested in going anywhere, and afterwards they did not mention it… but there are rules – [I] cannot meet reporters, cannot accept interviews, cannot write articles, etc.”


Oct. 17 “Blackout delays trial of former child soldier until October 26

… Ko Aung Ko Htwe was prosecuted under penal code 505(b) for sedition and his present predicament stemmed from a complaint filed by Lieutenant Colonel Myo Myint Aung after he spoke to Radio Free Asia (RFA) about his experience as a child soldier in Tatmadaw.


Oct. 16 “Beijing Launches Strict Security Checks for the 19th CCP Congress

According to Radio Free Asia, some places in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region even demanded all residents register their knives or other sharp metal tools, such as axes, shovels, and hoes, with the owners’ names and ID numbers.


Oct. 16 “S. Korea mulls sending envoy to Moscow conference

… Americans planning to attend include former Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, former State Department special adviser Robert Einhorn, former State Department official Robert Carlin, top nuclear scientist Siegfried Hecker and Suzanne DiMaggio, a senior fellow at the New America think tank, Radio Free Asia reported earlier this month.


Oct. 14 “North Korea using small hydroelectric plant to power Kaesong Complex factories

… After the US-funded Radio Free Asia reported on Oct. 3 that North Korea was secretly operating 19 textile factories inside the Kaesong Complex, North Korean media said on Oct. 6 that “the factories will run even more vigorously,” hinting that North Korea intends to operate the Kaesong Complex on its own.


Oct. 13 “World must wake up to crackdown in Cambodia, says exiled opposition politician

… The government has since forced the closure of a famed long-running paper, the Cambodia Daily, as well as radio stations that re-broadcast Radio Free Asia and Voice of America’s Khmer language service.


Oct. 12 “Kaesong Complex tenant companies object to North Korean use of factory operations

… The claim that North Korea is unilaterally operating some of the Kaesong factories was first made by US-funded Radio Free Asia on Oct. 3. The radio network quoted a Chinese source who works in the processing industry in North Korea as saying that the North was secretly operating 19 textile factories at the Kaesong Complex.


Oct. 12 “From FM to short-wave

… The 72-year-old’s favourite radio programme is Radio Free Asia’s Khmer-language local news show. Mr Sam Oeun said he had listened to RFA’s news programme since about 1997 and tuned in almost every day.


Oct. 10 “Cambodian viral site Khmerload has new plans for a BuzzFeed-like digital empire across Southeast Asia

… Independent media is being stamped out: In September, The Cambodia Daily shuttered amid government pressure over allegations it owed millions in unpaid taxes, while popular U.S.-funded broadcasters Radio Free Asia and Voice of America were forced off air.

Oct. 10 “Cambodia, a nominal democracy, lurches toward full-blown dictatorship

… The government has also targeted media and civil society in recent months, with U.S.-backed broadcasters Radio Free Asiaand Voice of America taken off air, the Cambodia Daily newspaper closed and nongovernmental organizations such as the U.S.-funded National Democratic Institute shuttered.


Oct. 9 “Fake News Reports About The Rights of China’s Muslims, Exposed as US Infowar

Radio Free Asia, a media organization publicly funded by the US government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors, alleged in a now-viral report last week that China was forcing Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang to hand over their Qurans and prayer mats under the threat of punishment.


Oct. 8 “Seoul irked by North Korea's secret use of joint factory complex

… Radio Free Asia reported last week that the North has been running at last 19 textile factories there for months now.


Oct. 7 “Modern de Tocquevilles: Foreign reporters assess Trump, the press, shameful U.S. poverty

… For starters, check the website of the Committee to Protect Journalists:

"Mexican journalist found dead with bullet wounds in San Luis Potosí," "Cartoonist detained in Equatorial Guinea for weeks without charge," "Uzbek journalist goes missing, turns up in court trial," "Local photographer abducted from home in central Mexico," "Prominent newspaper folds under official pressure in Cambodia," "Cambodian minister threatens to close media outlets that defy sweeping election rules" and "Radio Free Asia suspends operations in Cambodia."


Oct. 6 “North Korea: Kaesong factories are up and running

North Korea acknowledged restarting operations in Kaesong, the former jointly operated factory park where South Korean firms employed North Korean laborers to produce consumer products. … The statement comes days after Radio Free Asia reported North Korea may have resumed production at garment factories, without consulting South Korea counterparts.


Oct. 6 “Broadening Crackdown, Cambodia Moves to Disband Main Opposition Party

… In recent weeks, Mr. Hun Sen’s government has ordered at least 15 radio stations to close or stop broadcasting programming from the Voice of America and Radio Free Asia, and it has also closed The Cambodia Daily, an independent newspaper, accusing it of nonpayment of taxes.


Oct. 4 “U.S. termination of Iran deal to jeopardize efforts with N. Korea: ex-U.S. diplomat

… Radio Free Asia reported the meeting would take place with Choe Son-hui, director-general of the North Korean foreign ministry's North American affairs bureau, on the sidelines of a nonproliferation conference set to open in the Russian capital Oct. 19.


Oct. 3 “Without fear or favour: going beyond the headlines at the Cambodia Daily

… With the opposition in disarray, the Cambodian People’s Party’s campaign against critical media, which has led to the closure of 32 radio stations across the country and the Cambodia office of Radio Free Asia, is well-timed to silence dissent and criticism ahead of next year’s national election.

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