RFA in the News (October 2015)


Oct. 29 “East Turkestan: Ilham Tohti Calls on Family to Appeal

Ilham Tohti, the Uighur scholar and public intellectual currently serving a life sentence in prison, has called on his family to engage lawyers and lodge an appeal for him through the Chinese judicial system. … Ilham’s health is stable despite his being kept in solitary confinement, his lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan told Radio Free Asia, relating what Ilham’s brother had told him.


Oct. 26 “More Violence in Xinjiang

When will the unrest in Xinjiang cease?  The latest attack in a long series of aggressions was recently reported by Radio Free Asia, when at least 17 assailants, armed with knives, set upon innocent Han Chinese coal miners sleeping in their dormitory beds in Baicheng on September 18.


Oct. 26 “Markets Burgeon in N.Korea

North Korea now has 406 officially sanctioned open-air markets that represent the core of a nascent market economy there. Curtis Melvin, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University, told Radio Free Asia on Saturday that vendors can set up shop with a license from the Ministry of People's Security.


Oct. 25 “THE BIGGER PICTURE: What saves India from suicide attacks
Earlier this month, Radio Free Asia revealed that nearly 80 people were killed by Uighur separatists in a September attack in a coalmine in the Xinjiang province of China. Beijing has yet to officially acknowledge the attack, which was carried out by terrorists armed with knives.


Oct. 22 “Over 300 Tibetan houses, shops demolished at Kokonor lake

In yet another incident of Chinese authorities forcefully demolishing Tibetan homes and properties, more than 300 Tibetan homes and shops have been razed to the ground and its occupants who opposed the demolition beaten and detained in Trelnak village in Chabcha County in Tsolho (ch. Hainan) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in the Qinghai Province. In a report by Radio Free Asia news services, the demolition of the Tibetan properties began last Friday on Oct. 16 and has gone on for the six days.


Oct. 21 “North Korea Said to Threaten Families of Defectors with Death and Banishment

Two disparate scenes unfolded this week in North Korea. At a luxurious mountain resort in the country's southeast, long-lost relatives separated for decades by the heavily militarized border that divides the Korean Peninsula enjoyed tearful reunions.  … On Monday, Radio Free Asia, citing anonymous sources in cities along North Korea's border with China, reported that authorities have warned citizens that anyone caught helping families flee will be put to death, while their close relatives will be exiled to remote areas. "A lecture was given at a village meeting on the evening of October 14 to let us know that anyone caught abetting a family's defection will be executed," a source told Radio Free Asia. "Parents and other family members will be banished to the countryside."


Oct. 20 “China calls Uighur leader's comments "absurd", says Xinjiang at peace

China on Tuesday condemned a top exiled Uighur leader for her "absurd" comments about Britain's lavish reception for President Xi Jinping, adding that its far western region of Xinjiang was at peace. … Radio Free Asia reported that at least 50 people died last month in an attack at a Xinjiang coal mine that police blamed on knife-wielding separatists, just before China marked 60 years since its founding of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region.


Oct. 19 “Media report notes lack of balance in election coverage

A preliminary report on the election media coverage says that only foreign-based broadcasters have provided voters with a plurality of views and diverse information about contestants and other political subjects. Among print media, the study found that state-controlled papers supported the government, while private newspapers supported the opposition National League for Democracy. … The MID’s analysis of coverage by the Voice of America and Radio Free Asia will appear in a subsequent report.


Oct. 18 “In a Region Disturbed by Ethnic Tensions, China Keeps Tight Lid on a Massacre

Armed with only knives, the assailants struck at the coal mine in the dead of night, first killing the security guards and then setting upon the miners as they slept in their dormitory beds. Before the Sept. 18 rampage was over, more than 50 people were dead, at least five of them police officers, and dozens more had been wounded, according to victims’ relatives and residents. … Details of the massacre were first published last month by Radio Free Asia, a news service financed by the United States government and blocked by the Chinese government. … Local officials, mindful of how social unrest can hobble careers, may be worried about angering higher-ups in Beijing. But one Communist Party official interviewed by Radio Free Asia provided another reason for the media blackout: “We are controlling information about the incident so strictly, lest we frighten Han migrants in Aksu,” he said.


Oct. 15 “North Korea Reportedly Bans Doctors from Performing Abortions, Implanting IUDs

Radio Free Asia is reporting that North Korea has implemented a new policy forbidding doctors from performing abortions or implanting birth control devices like IUDs. It’s part of an effort to stem the country’s falling birth rate, according to the news agency.


Oct. 15 “Global Times: Teenager Used by Anti-Chinese Forces

Rights lawyer Wang Yu and her husband, activist Bao Longjun, have both been detained in undisclosed locations since July’s “Black Friday” crackdown. … Radio Free Asia cited anonymous sources who claimed that Chinese authorities relied on ethnic rebels friendly with Beijing to detain Bao Zhuoxuan and his two adult guardians from Myanmar. The Guardian and Reuters provide more details on China’s shoring up of allies in Myanmar to bolster Beijing’s regional interests.


Oct. 14 “North Korea Bans Abortions And Birth Control Devices: Report

In an effort to reverse North Korea’s decreasing birth rate, officials reportedly have banned medical professionals from performing birth control procedures and abortions, according to sources in the secluded country, Radio Free Asia reported Wednesday. The directive ban reportedly bars gynecologists from performing abortions, although it does not indicate what the penalty for them will be for violating the ban.


Oct. 14 “BBG Announces 2015 Burke Award Winners

The Broadcasting Board of Governors has announced the winners of the 2015 David Burke Distinguished Journalism Awards for exceptional integrity, bravery, and originality in reporting. … This year's winners are: … Shohret Hoshur, from the Uyghur Service at Radio Free Asia, for his excellent and exclusive reporting on Xinjiang and the Uyghur nation, despite threats to family members in China[.]


Oct. 14 “Strict information control intensifying China risk

In a country under the rule of one party, the mass media is also rigorously regulated by that party. … Radio Free Asia, an American, private, nonprofit corporation that publishes online news in East Asia, reported that at least 50 people, including five police officers, were killed.


Oct. 13 “A Human Rights Advocate’s Son Disappeared And China’s Lawyers Are Furious

Bao Zhuoxuan, the son of a detained high-profile Chinese human rights lawyer, reportedly disappeared last Tuesday during a failed attempted flee to San Francisco through Southeast Asia. … Two activist friends of Bao’s parents reportedly shepherded the boy across the border into Burma. The party was discovered in Mong La, a Burmese town bordering China, where both adults were reportedly arrested by Chinese police, according to Radio Free Asia.


Oct. 12 “Lens on NGOs in China and India

… In June this year, a report in ‘Radio Free Asia’ said that the authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong detained activists from an NGO on charges of “illegal business activity” Guo Bin, who heads the disability advocacy group Zhongyixing in the southern city of Shenzhen, and health rights campaigner Yang Zhanqing are facing the heat.


Oct. 11 “The Barefoot Lawyer book review: Passage to America

CHINA’S WELL-KNOWN blind activist Chen Guangcheng lives in America. But the story of how he got there—crossing the walls of his village and that of China to America—is nothing short of riveting. The feel-good political memoir, The Barefoot Lawyer, is Chen’s own story, from political activism and facing persecution and illegal detention to the sweet victory of escape to America. … Later, inspired by radio talks such as Listener Hotline (on Radio Free Asia, or RFA), where the host heard grievances of ordinary people, Chen began to take interest in peoples’ problems.


Oct. 9 “'A brighter future beckons': China tries to get Xinjiang to join the party

Yellow signs swing from lampposts urging citizens to “hold high the great banner of national unity”. Red banners hang from bridges imploring drivers to “unswervingly promote long-term stability”. … Yet reports from Radio Free Asia (RFA), a Washington-based news service that produces some of the only reliable reporting on Xinjiang, suggest all is not well on China’s western frontier.

In the lead-up to this month’s festivities, RFA has reported on a coalmine massacre in Aksu in which at least 50 people died, a “knife and bomb attack” by a group of Uighurs on traffic police in which at least 18 people were killed, and the fatal shootings of at least eight Uighur men who had been deemed “suspicious” by police.


Oct. 8 “RCSS to join peace accord

The Restoration Council of Shan State (RCSS) has announced its intention to sign a nationwide ceasefire agreement (NCA) with the Burmese government. … In an interview with Radio Free Asia (RFA) on 6 October, a Shan State Army-North spokesman said he believed the Burmese army had launched an attack on rebel positions as retribution for their decision not to join the ceasefire ceremony.


Oct. 8 “Ugandan President Declines N.Korean Prize

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni declined a North Korean award last year, Radio Free Asia said Wednesday.


Oct. 7 “Purged North Korean architect accompanied Kim Jong Un

North Korean state media said the architect believed to have been purged for his supervision of airport construction last November accompaniedKim Jong Un on his visit to the flood-hit city of Rason.

Pyongyang's media outlet KCNA initially did not air footage of Ma Won Chun but stated the North Korean architect was part of an entourage that traveled to areas where flood recovery has been taking place, Yonhap reported. … In September, an unnamed source told Radio Free Asia a story that Ma may have died was actively circulating among officers.


Oct. 7 “House of Schemes: Office No. 37 in Naypyidaw

Government office building No. 37 is located on a quiet corner of Yaza Thingaha Road near the Ministry of Livestock & Fisheries in Burma’s capital. … Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing spoke of his respect for the former junta supremo during a recent interview with Radio Free Asia, emphasizing that he did not continue to wield any influence over the current government.


Oct. 7 “Burma army resume attacks on Shan positions

Fresh fighting has erupted between Burmese government forces and the Shan State Progressive Party (SSPP), commonly known as Shan State Army-North, around the rebel stronghold of Kyethi Township in central Shan State. … In an interview with Radio Free Asia (RFA)on 6 October, Col. Sai La reportedly said he believed the attack on SSPP positions was in retribution for its decision not to join the ceasefire ceremony.


Oct. 5 “Ai Weiwei 'finds bugging devices' at his Beijing studio

The Chinese dissident artist captioned one photo of a bug on Instagram with "There will always be surprises". … His mother Gao Ying told Radio Free Asia that she believed the devices were placed in his studio four years ago when the artist was arrested and his studio was searched by the authorities.


Oct. 2 “Suspect in China Parcel Bombings Died in Explosion, Police Say

A man sought in connection with a series of parcel bombings in China’s southern region of Guangxi was confirmed to be among the people killed in the blasts, state media said. … The bombings were not the only violent acts to come to light over the national holiday. At least 50 people were killed after a group of knife-wielding men attacked a coal mine in China’s remote western region of Xinjiang, Radio Free Asia reported, citing local security officials. The dead included five police officers.


Oct. 2 “The Truth About China’s ‘Interference’ in Malaysia’s Politics

Over the past week, Sino-Malaysian relations have been rocked by allegations that China’s envoy had attempted to interfere in the Southeast Asian state’s internal affairs. … According to Radio Free Asia (RFA), sources indicate that when Malaysian officials contacted the Chinese embassy to summon Huang to the foreign ministry at the direction of Foreign Minister Anifah Aman, Huang’s aides told them he was very busy and demanded instead that the foreign ministry officers instead go to the embassy to see him.


Oct. 1 “China slams a lid on news of violence from its western frontier

Earlier this month, a knife-wielding gang attacked security guards at a coal mine in Xinjiang, a volatile region in the northwest of China. By the time the attack was repelled, at least 40 people had been killed or injured, according to a report by Radio Free Asia, which quoted a local state security chief about the incident four days after it occurred. … The incidents have been reported by Radio Free Asia, a news outlet partly funded by the U.S. government, which has followed closely clashes between Chinese authorities and Muslim Uighurs, the dominant ethnic group in Xinjiang.

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