RFA in the News (October 2007)

2007-11-04
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Asia Times, October 30, 2007

NLD secretary U Lwin set the tone for the party's stance on the demonstrations in an August 25 interview with Radio Free Asia, in which he said: "In fact, they [Myanmar's problems] won't be solved just through protests." He went on to question the relevance of the protests due to their small size. Although these statements were made at the beginning of the protests, the NLD's official line never changed, even when it became clear that the protests enjoyed widespread popular support.

Associated Press, October 29, 2007

Myanmar step up propaganda war against 'loudmouthed bully' US DATELINE: YANGON Myanmar

Myanmar's military government stepped up its propaganda campaign against the United States, accusing Washington of inciting last month's pro-democracy demonstrations in hopes of installing a puppet government… A commentary said the majority of people in Myanmar opposed the protests, but a gullible minority came out on the streets, instigated by foreign broadcasters such as the BBC and the U.S.-government funded Voice of America and Radio Free Asia.

The International Herald Tribune

October 22, 2007 Monday

A fearful Myanmar suffers in silence;

After failed protests, Burmese feel abandoned by rest of world. After the protests, the government banned gatherings of more than five people. But each day, across the nation, it organized rallies attended by thousands of people holding signs that condemned ''external interference'' and accused the BBC, the Voice of America and Radio Free Asia of ''airing a skyful of lies.''

Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) October 13, 2007 Saturday

The beaten generation unbowed

… At 20, Thatoe Kyaw, had been interrogated, tortured and sentenced to 28 years' jail for student political activity and released in a rare amnesty in 2002. "I wrote how I felt; that song was a reflection of my feelings." When his article was rejected by the censors, Thatoe Kyaw published his words on the blog site Longwalktofreedom.blog.com. During three weeks in September, he estimates he sent more than 100 images and reports of the monks' uprising to Radio Free Asia and The Irrawaddy, a Burmese news journal based in Thailand.

Korea Times, October 11, 2007 Thursday

Washington Considers Representative Office in Pyongyang

The United States is considering setting up a representative office in Pyongyang as a diplomatic mission, according to a report Wednesday. Radio Free Asia said the United States will set up a diplomatic mission in Pyongyang, and its form would most likely be a representative office, not a liaison office or an embassy.

Reuters, et al., October 11, 2007

China demands Tibetan Communist loyalty test

BEIJING -- China is questioning the loyalty of ethnic Tibetan members of the ruling Communist party, accusing many of swearing their true allegiance to the Dalai Lama, says an internal memo…Radio Free Asia quoted the memo directly, saying it accused internal dissidents of "suckling at the breast of the Chinese Communist party, while calling the Dalai Lama mother."

Reuters

China memo questions loyalty of Communist Tibetans

Wednesday, October 10, 2007 By Lindsay Beck

BEIJING, October 10: China is questioning the loyalty of ethnic Tibetan members of the ruling Communist Party, accusing many of swearing their true allegiance to the Dalai Lama, according to an internal memo. The Sept. 4 memo, issued by the Party's Discipline and Inspection Commission, highlights ongoing concerns about stability in Tibet, the largely Buddhist western region into which Chinese troops marched in 1950.

"It calls on the Party in Tibet to carry out a kind of campaign -- I suppose a kind of rectification campaign -- to reassess the loyalty of the members," said Robbie Barnett, a Tibet expert at Columbia University who had parts of the memo read to him.

"The content seems to be this question of whether the Party members in Tibet are reliable or are supporting the Dalai Lama." Radio Free Asia (RFA) quoted the memo directly, saying it accused internal dissidents of "suckling at the breast of the Chinese Communist Party, while calling the Dalai Lama mother". "There still exists a small number of dissident elements within our Party whose commitment to its ideals, beliefs, and political standpoint is a wavering one," Washington-based RFA quoted the memo as saying.

Yonhap News Agency (South Korea)

Seoul, October 9, 2007 Tuesday

Most North Koreans do not receive South Korean rice aid, says rights group

Most impoverished North Koreans do not have access to food aid sent by South Korea due to corruption and lack of proper monitoring, a human rights group said Tuesday. In an interview with Washington-based Radio Free Asia, Seok said the food aid is sold for profit in the North, stressing that South Korea needs to demand proper monitoring to ensure that the aid reaches the intended recipients.

October 9, 2007 Tuesday

CHINA SOCIAL UNREST ROUND-UP SEP-OCT 2007

Guangdong villagers block bridge in land dispute on 13 September. 500 villagers at Nansha Village, Foshan municipality, Guangdong Province, clashed with more than 300 policemen, resulting in a number of injuries and arrests, Radio Free Asia [Mandarin service] reported.

The villagers had been protesting against a village official selling land without consulting villagers. They blocked a main road leading to Nansha Bridge, it was reported. (Radio Free Asia, 15 Sep 07)

The Associated Press

October 7, 2007 Sunday

Protests circle the globe for Myanmar

The Bradenton Herald (Florida), Monterey County Herald (California), Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pennsylvania), The Star-Ledger (Newark, New Jersey), Winnipeg Free Press (Canada) There were no visible demonstrations in Myanmar's largest city of Yangon, where bans on gatherings

of more than five people are enforced by soldiers, but some in the city and elsewhere in the country prayed in their homes at the suggestion of a Buddhist monk interviewed by Radio Free

Asia's Myanmar-language service.

Yonhap (South Korea)

October 7, 2007 Sunday

U.S. likely to issue permanent residency for N. Korean defector for 1st time

The United States will likely grant a permanent residency to one of six North Korean refugees who took shelter in the U.S. last year, a lawyer for the North Korean said Sunday….The unidentified lawyer told Radio Free Asia that he had received an e-mail from U.S. immigration authorities, asking for his client from North Korea to visit an immigration office for fingerprinting, one of the last steps before getting a green card.

October 7, 2007 Sunday

US said likely to issue first green card to North Korean defector

Text of report in English by South Korean news agency Yonhap

[Yonhap headline: "US likely to issue permanent residency for N. Korean defector for 1st time"] Seoul, Oct. 7 (Yonhap) - The United States will likely grant a permanent residency to one of six North Korean refugees who took shelter in the US last year, a lawyer for the North Korean said Sunday. If given the residency, the North Korean would be the first to get a US immigration green card. The US Congress enacted law in 2004 to appropriate up to US$24 million to promote human rights conditions in the North…The unidentified lawyer told Radio Free Asia that he had received an e-mail from US immigration authorities, asking for his client from North Korea to visit an immigration office for fingerprinting, one of the last steps before getting a green card.

Gulf News

October 6, 2007 Saturday

DISCREDITING THE GENERALS

Because American investment in Myanmar is almost zero, Washington does not have much leverage here. Indeed, Myanmar has already been living since long with US-backed sanctions. The US administration has, meanwhile, increased its Burmese language service through the Voice of America and Radio Free Asia to provide "factual reporting" to its listeners. The US also favours an increase in funding to enable NGOs to buy cellular phones for disseminating information after the junta ordered closure of Myanmar's internet links. Manik Mehta is a commentator on Asian affairs.

The Australian (Australia)

October 4, 2007 Thursday

Freedom's march can leave bloody footprints

BURMA has primarily been a story for what you could term emergency journalists. The bulk of reportage and informed commentary on the uprising has emanated from Burma-based diplomats and those locals with the dexterity and courage to circumvent the military junta's thoughtful closure of as many internet and telephone communications loopholes as it could manage. …If the Burmese want uncensored information they must try to access radio outlets that make a point of targeting Burma. These include the Norway-based Democratic Voice of Burma, the BBC, Voice of America and Radio Free Asia. In truth, there seems to be a fair bit of television, radio and print in Burma. But it all appears to be state-controlled.

The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer

October 4, 2007 Thursday

The senior general in Myanmar offered today to meet with a jailed opposition leader, but state-run media said first that Aung San Suu Kyi must stop calling for action against the government. Her party quickly rejected the offer. The state media went on to say that foreign critics are trying to destroy the country, also known as Burma. It singled out Radio Free Asia, the Voice of America, and the British Broadcasting Corporation. BURMESE STATE TELEVISION ANNOUNCER: RFA, VOA and BBC, saboteurs, watch your step. The public be warned of killers in the airwaves, RFA, VOA and BBC. Beware! Don`t be bought by those slickers.

The New York Times

October 3, 2007 Wednesday

Beijing Rights Lawyer Recounts Beating and a Demand to Leave

BYLINE: By DAVID BARBOZA

DATELINE: SHANGHAI, Oct. 2

A prominent human rights lawyer in Beijing says he was abducted, beaten and threatened over the weekend by a gang of men who demanded that he and his family leave the city. The abduction of Mr. Li, 37, was first reported by Radio Free Asia, a nonprofit group in Washington that broadcasts news to Asian countries in local languages, and that often reports on human rights cases and minority causes in China.

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

October 3, 2007 Wednesday

Residents boycott state-run newscasts

BYLINE: Associated Press DATELINE: YANGON, Myanmar

A growing number of citizens in Myanmar's largest city are shutting off the government-run nightly newscast, trying to send the subtle message to authorities that they are tired of listening to their propaganda, residents said Tuesday…While the average citizen must endure the staid, government news, more prosperous ones long ago turned to Radio Free Asia or the British Broadcasting Corp. for an accurate depiction of events in the country. Others also count on the Internet, which was shut down after protesters effectively used it for weeks to publicize the growing protest and subsequent crackdown.

BBC Monitoring World Media [Supplied by BBC Worldwide Monitoring] October 2, 2007 Tuesday

Burma: Writer says "colonialists" use radio stations to "break up" nation

Excerpt from article in English by U Pyay Kyaw headlined: "Innate nature of foreign radio station", published by Burmese newspaper The New Light of Myanmar Oct. 1.

Myanmar people have the rights to deal with the Myanmar's political affairs in accord with the desire of the majority of the people. Inciting protests in accordance with the plots hatched by alien elements and failing to respect the image of the nation and the people is just opposing the people. In fact, the plots are hatched by neocolonialists and spread by such foreign radio stations as BBC, VOA and RFA i n which expatriates are given places. Local axe-handles are dancing to the tune played every night by these stations.

The Associated Press

October 1, 2007 Monday 7:38 AM GMT

UN envoy makes second attempt to meet with Myanmar's military rulers

DATELINE: YANGON Myanmar

A U.N. envoy made a last-ditch effort to meet Myanmar's top two military leaders Monday to persuade them to ease a violent crackdown on anti-government protesters, after he briefly met with detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi…

Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party was not optimistic Gambari would yield any influence over the junta leaders, telling Radio Free Asia they see him as a "facilitator" who can bring messages back and forth, but lacking authority to reach a lasting agreement.

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