RFA in the News (October 2009)

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Oct. 31 “N.K. expected to continue missile tests”

North Korea is expected to continue short-range missile tests with the aim of developing an advanced KN-06 missile, according to a U.S. expert, according to Yonhap News.

Bruce Bennett, a senior researcher at the RAND Corp., said that the North's launch of five KN-02 missiles on Oct. 12 was part of efforts to develop a more advanced KN-06 missile, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported Saturday. RFA, a Washington-based radio station, reported earlier that the North's latest missile test was a failure, citing sources privy to North Korea


Oct. 31 “American Red Cross seeks to link Koreans in U.S., N. Korea”

The American Red Cross is working to arrange the reunions of Korean families living in the U.S. and North Korea, according to a news report.
Abi Weaver, a spokesperson at the agency, told the Radio Free Asia that it asked the Red Cross societies of the two Koreas to cooperate on the initiative, encouraged by the recent resumption of the reunion of South and North Korean relatives who have lived on the different side of the border due to the 1950-53 Korean War.

Oct. 30 “NKorea's latest missile tests failed: report”
North Korea's short-range missile tests earlier this month were a failure with none of the five projectiles reaching its target, a report said Thursday.
The North test-fired five KN-02 missiles with a range of 120 kilometres (75 miles) from mobile launchers off its east coast on October 12.
Radio Free Asia, quoting an intelligence source, said four of the five missed the mark and one did not even launch properly.
“Two fell into the sea right after launch, another two missed the targets and the last one failed to launch,” the source said, according to a Korean-language report on the US-funded radio's website.

Oct. 30 “South Korean president’s reform plans hurt in by-election losses”
South Korea’s ruling party lost two key contests in parliamentary by-elections, which could hamper President Lee Myung-bak’s efforts to win approval for his business-friendly reforms.
... Meanwhile, North Korea’s short-range missile tests earlier this month were a failure with none of the five projectiles reaching its target, a report on Radio Free Asia said yesterday, quoting an intelligence source. The North test-fired five KN-02 missiles with a range of 120km from mobile launchers off its east coast on Oct. 12. Four of the five missed the mark and one did not even launch properly, a report in Korean on the US-funded radio’s Web site said.


Oct. 29 “Japan intercepts missile test”

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency and the Japan maritime self-defense forces intercepted a ballistic missile using the Aegis missile defense system.

… North Korea has conducted a series of long- and short-range missile tests in recent years. Its latest test Oct. 12 of its short-range KN-02 missile was considered a failure, Radio Free Asia reports.


Oct. 27 “2 Tibetans executed in China over riots last year”

Two people have been put to death for their roles in deadly protests last year in the Chinese-controlled region of Tibet, the first known executions for the violence, an overseas monitoring group said Tuesday.

Xinhua gave few details on the two, but U.S.-funded Radio Free Asia’s Tibetan service said Lobsang Gyaltsen was 28 and was from a poor family in Lubuk township in Lhasa. Loyak was 30.

Lobsang Gyaltsen was allowed a visit by his mother before he was executed, it said.

“I have nothing to say, except please take good care of my child and send him to school,” he was quoted as telling her.


Oct. 27 “China confirms two Tibet executions”

The Chinese government has confirmed it executed two Tibetans for deadly arson attacks during last year's unrest in Lhasa – the first reported judicial killings in the region for six years.

The US-funded Radio Free Asia said Lobsang Gyaltsen was allowed a visit by his mother before he was executed. “I have nothing to say, except please take good care of my child and send him to school,” he was quoted as telling her.


Oct. 27 “Official confirmation of execution of Tibetans”

Two Tibetans were executed in Lhasa for their alleged roles in the protests and rioting in Lhasa on March 14, 2008, according to reports by Tibetan exile organizations confirmed by the Chinese embassy in London on Friday (October 23).

Lobsang Gyaltsen was in his early twenties and from Lubuk township, according to the Tibetan language service of Radio Free Asia (October 24). The same source said: “His mother's name is Yudon-la and he has a stepfather. Their living conditions are extremely poor, and they are dependent on food assistance from Lhasa city committee.” Before his execution, the source said, Lobsang Gyaltsen was permitted a visit with his mother. “I have nothing to say, except please take good care of my child and send him to school,” he was quoted as telling her.


Oct. 26 “‘Do you want to die?’: environmental activists at risk”

After reporting on illegal logging in Cambodia, Radio Free Asia journalist Lem Piseth received an anonymous phone call.

“You are insolent, do you want to die?” said the caller.
“Why are you insulting me like this?” asked Piseth.
“Because of the business of the forest and you should know that there will not be enough land to bury you,” replied the caller.

Piseth fled across the border into Thailand. He was lucky.


Oct. 26 “China detains founder of Tibetan-Mongolian medical school”

Chinese police have detained the founder of a Tibetan medical college “virtually” on the doorsteps of the United Nations refugee office in Ulaanbaatar on Oct. 3, the Radio Free Asia reported on October 24.


Oct. 26 “Four killed, 14 held over coal mine privatization killing”

Four villagers were killed and 14 others hospitalised at Baijiamao village in Lin county of Shanxi Province on Oct 12 after they were attacked by a gang of more than 100 thugs hired by a mining company, reported chinaworker.info Oct 24.

… Earlier, Radio Free Asia Oct. 14 cited Jin Jianfeng, who writes for Beijing-based Democracy and Law, as saying the local authorities had stakes in the mine and were linked to the attack: “All local county officials, such the director and deputy director, as well as police and local court officials are all shareholders in the mining business. They are the culprits of this murderous attack.”


Oct. 26 “China seizes and takes back doctor from Mongolia”

Police from Chinese-ruled Inner Mongolia have, with help from the local police, seized and taken away from independent Outer Mongolia on Oct 3 a doctor of Tibetan medicine who was seeking UN asylum there with his wife and daughter.

… Four Chinese police officers sent from China accompanied by more than 10 Mongolian police detained Batzangaa, his wife Bayanhuaar, and their nine-year old daughter, reported Radio Free Asia online Oct 21.


Oct. 24 “Shanxi: Gangsters kill four protesters in coal privatisation battle”

Four people in Shanxi province were killed and 14 were hospitalised when armed gangs in the pay of a local coal boss attacked villagers protesting the illegal sale of a coal mine.

… Villagers at the scene numbered about 30 or 40, but they were unarmed,” a villager who declined to give his name told Radio Free Asia (14 October).


Oct. 23 “Australian Uyghur scholar alleges massacre”

Mr. Yusoph Shohret, a Uyghur scholar now resident in Australia, has disclosed details of an alleged massacre that happened in Urumqi in July.

… An Uyghur residential area in Urumqi called the Horserace Track (Sai Ma Chang in Chinese) was surrounded by police, and male residents were rounded up in the field, according to an article entitled “Tight Security in Xinjiang,” published by Radio Free Asia on July 6.


Oct. 18 “Blind lawyer denied medical treatment in Chinese prison”

Blind human rights lawyer Chen Guangcheng, who was imprisoned after exposing government violence in forced abortions in 2005, has been physically abused in prison, according to his wife Yuan Weijing.
Speaking in an interview with Radio Free Asia on Oct. 14, Ms. Yuan said that Chen, who also provided legal assistance to local peasants and disabled persons, was sentenced to four years and three months in Linyi Prison for “purposely damaging property and gathering the public to disturb traffic order.”


Oct. 15 “Han Chinese uproot Uighur culture”

… When I asked where else he obtained information over the past months he drew close and mischievously motioned at the floor. “I have a radio I use to get the news, but I have to keep it hidden from the police,” he replied, likely referring to the extra antennas or pieces of tin required to receive signals from media sources like Radio Free Asia, a U.S. government-run Uighur news service whose broadcasts are blocked in China.


Oct. 14 “Int’l aid org. chief visits NK”

International relief organization Samaritan’s Purse says that its President Franklin Graham is visiting North Korea to high-level North Korean government officials and oversee aid projects offered by his agency. According to Radio Free Asia Wednesday, a spokesman for the aid group revealed the schedule of Graham, who arrived in Pyongyang on Tuesday by an exclusive jet.


Oct. 12 “Christopher Walker and Sarah Cook: China’s export of censorship”

… The Chinese authorities have developed an elaborate arsenal of censorship, including an extensive domestic apparatus of information control. Less appreciated and understood are the methods of interference and intimidation employed to muzzle critical voices abroad. Some of the modern authoritarian techniques the Chinese authorities use for this purpose beyond its borders are detailed in a study, “Undermining Democracy: 21st Century Authoritarians,” recently released by Freedom House, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Radio Free Asia.


Oct. 11 “The deep roots of Uygurs’ frustration”

…. “Through the past decades, our ethnic policies have proved to be correct and effective, and we must stick to them for a long time,” Yang Jing, minister of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission, said on September 21.

Many Uygurs do not agree, saying that the violence reflected long-standing grievances over employment, education and religion that would cause similar protests again.

… For Ilham Tohti, formerly a professor of economics at the Minorities University in Beijing, the key issue is employment. In an interview with Radio Free Asia this year, he criticised the policy of encouraging Han Chinese to migrate to Xinjiang. “When I was doing research for the government in the 1990s, I found that there were 1.5 million unemployed out of a population of 20 million in Xinjiang. But 1.3 million migrant workers went to Xinjiang in 2008. There are abundant employment opportunities in Xinjiang, but why not for Uygurs?”


Oct. 10 “SKorea activists battle wind in bid to fly radios to North”

South Korean activists on Saturday said they had postponed a plan to fly 300 radios into North Korea attached to balloons due to unfavourable winds, as the North held Communist anniversary commemorations. The release had been timed for the North's official celebrations of the 64th anniversary of the ruling Communist Party.

… But broadcasts by the Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Asia (RFA) as well as South Korea's state-financed KBS radio programmes reach North Koreans who possess imported radios, said Park.


Oct. 10 “China detects nerve gas at its North Korean border”

China has detected a deadly nerve gas at its North Korean border and suspects an accidental release from its neighbor, according to a Japanese news report on Oct. 9.

A resident at the border in Dandong City, Liaoning Province, told Radio Free Asia that he hadn't seen any reports in the media and was worried about safety.


Oct. 10 “Lower-level talks between U.S., N. Korea to be held this month: expert”

The United States could hold lower-level talks with North Korea in a third country within this month to fine-tune bilateral negotiations aimed at denuclearizing the communist state, an American expert on Asia said Saturday.

“Even if special representative Stephen Bosworth doesn't head to North Korea, bilateral talks in a third country could be held within the month involving Sung Kim or another lower-level official,” Larry Niksch, an Asia specialist for the U.S. Congressional Research Service, was quoted as saying by Radio Free Asia in a Korean-language report.


Oct. 10 “U.S., N.Korea May Hold Working-level Dialogues in 3rd Country”

An American expert on Asian affairs says the United States and North Korea may hold working-level dialogues in a third country.

The U.S.-based Radio Free Asia cited Larry Niksch from the U.S. Congressional Research Service (CRS) as saying U.S. top nuclear negotiator Sung Kim or other officials are likely to hold dialogues with North Korean officials before U.S. special envoy Stephen Bosworth visits North Korea.


Oct. 9 “Taiwan offers China model”

From Radio Free AsiaBao Tong, former aide to late ousted Party chief Zhao Ziyang, lauded the current form of democracy on the self-governing island, which still celebrates the fall of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) with the 1911 revolution led by Sun Yat-sen.


Oct. 9 “Party insists rights are guaranteed”

Modern-day Cambodia is a land of haves and have-nots. There is prosperity among the first group, but those in the second group suffer deprivation and oppression.

Banh brushed off accusations of rights violations and told reporters of Radio Free Asia and the Voice of America that the congressmen’s letter to Gates has “false” information.


Oct. 6 “Bluetoothed-armed netizens slip through China’s Internet censorship net”

As Beijing redoubles its efforts to censor the internet during sensitive National Day celebrations, netizens are turning to existing mobile technology to exchange information.

Radio Free Asia's Cantonese service reports that many netizens are now making use of Bluetooth, an open wireless protocol for exchanging data, to create personal area networks with a range of up to 10 meters on their mobile devices and share information.


Oct. 3 “S.Korea, US Drafted NK Contingency Steps in August”

Radio Free Asia says that South Korea and the United States prepared joint measures against a North Korean contingency in August. The broadcaster reported Friday citing diplomatic sources in Washington that the two sides discussed basic principles and cooperation measures in case of a contingency in North Korea such as leader Kim Jong-il's death or a power transfer. The closed-door meeting was held at the East-West Center in Hawaii last month.

Radio Free Asia said 12 officials from each side attended the meeting headed by South Korean nuclear envoy Wi Sung-lac and U.S. chief delegate to the six-way talks Sung Kim.


Oct. 2 “S. Korea, U.S. set up contingency plan on N. Korea: RFA”

A group of officials from South Korea and the United States developed joint plans to brace for all potential contingencies in North Korea in a closed meeting held in Hawaii last August, U.S. international broadcaster Radio Free Asia (RFA) said Friday.

The meeting held Aug. 4-5 was attended by 12 South Korean government officials including top nuclear envoy Wi Sung-lac and 12 U.S. government officials, including chief nuclear negotiator Sung Kim, RFA said.


Oct. 2 “Cambodia's Sochua calls for Clinton to act”

Last week, Mu Sochua, the embattled Cambodian opposition lawmaker and longtime women’s rights activist, left the United States facing an Oct. 2 court date in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Phay Siphan, secretary of state and spokesperson for the Cambodian Council of Ministers, harshly criticized Sochua’s U.S. tour as a betrayal of the country. He was quoted by Radio Free Asia as calling her “a traitor to her oath taken before she occupied her position as a member of parliament.”


Oct. 2 “Defendants released after Takeo court questioning”

A Radio Free Asia reporter and two human rights activists charged with spreading disinformation were released after appearing for questioning before a Takeo provincial court on Thursday.
… According to Chheng Sophors, a senior investigator for local rights group Licadho, “RFA reporter Sok Sarey arrived in court for the interrogation accompanied by a lawyer. Although he was allowed to go home, the charges against him still stand. All the defendants are awaiting trial.”


Oct. 1 “On China’s 60th national day, Uyghurs are left out of the celebration”

While the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) observed the 60th anniversary of its rise to power through a massive parade in Beijing, Uyghurs thousands of miles away in East Turkestan were left mourning the brutal crackdown that has been ongoing in the region since unrest first swept the regional capital of Urumchi on July 5.

… Uyghurs who have publicized information about police abuses, such as two men living in Qorghas County who told Radio Free Asia about the death of a Uyghur detainee in police custody, have also been detained.


Oct. 1 “Muslims, police clash”

Military police clashed Wednesday with a group of about 40 Cambodian Cham Muslims outside the Takeo Provincial Court after a judge ordered the arrest of a Muslim community leader on disinformation charges.
… Two Radio Free Asia reporters and two Cambodian Centre for Human Rights activists were also named in the case and were due for questioning today, but the arrest of Ny San has put the appearance of the four in doubt.


October 2009 Issue “Channeling the Cold War: U.S. overseas broadcasting”

… [T]wo decades after the Berlin Wall came down, RFE/RL is thriving in a sparkling new headquarters in the Czech capital of Prague, broadcasting around the clock to new “target” countries such as Iran and Afghanistan. Another post-Cold War entity, Radio Free Asia, was set up in the late 1990s according to RFE/RF’s “surrogate” model and broadcasts to nine authoritarian states, including China.

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