RFA in the News (October 2011)

2011-11-02
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ASIAN TRIBUNE

Oct. 31 “Will Aung San Suu Kyi run for upcoming by-elections?”

Burma' Nobel laureate and democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi may perhaps contest for a parliament seat in an imminent by-election if her National League for Democracy (NLD) party decided to re-register itself to enter politics, the NLD spokesman Nyan Win said yesterday.

… In an interview with Radio Free Asia (Burmese Service), Nyan Win said that he thinks she may stand in a by-election if the law was amended. "I personally want her to do so," he added.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Oct. 28 “Myanmar police charge 7 for staging land protest”

Police in Myanmar filed charges Friday against seven people who staged a peaceful protest against alleged unfair confiscation of their land, which comes as the outside world watches the government's stated commitment to democratic reforms.

… [Labor rights lawyer] Pho Phyu in an interview with Washington-based Radio Free Asia on Wednesday said the farmers decided to make their grievances heard by staging a peaceful protest as their pleas to parliament for help went unanswered. They believe they are not being adequately compensated.

REUTERS

Oct. 28 “Govt. building in Tibet hit by blast - report”

A Chinese government building in a remote part of tense Tibet was hit by an explosion, leaving no injuries but adding to tensions after a string of self-immolation protests, an overseas radio service said late on Thursday. Radio Free Asia, based in Washington, said a bomb blast struck a township government building on Wednesday in Changdu, Tibet. "In the early dawn hours of October 26, there was an explosion in a local government building," the radio service said on its website, citing an unnamed member of the Tibetan exile parliament, which is based in India. It said he spoke on condition of anonymity.

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

Oct. 27 “Arts fairs called off; politics cited”

Two art exhibitions featuring works carrying political and social messages have been cancelled over last weekend, the artists involved said.

… In one of his works, titled Anaesthesia/Sensitive, Yue used Unicode, a computer language, to represent five sensitive phrases that are blocked by most mainland search engines: princelings, Tiananmen mothers, jasmine revolutions, Wang Dan and Radio Free Asia.

"These words were randomly picked among sensitive words and don't represent my political opinions," Yue said. "The work is meant to discuss the relationship between language used on the internet and in art.

GLOBAL VOICES ONLINE
Oct. 24 “Cambodia: Worst Flooding in a Decade ”

The heavy rainfall in the upper Mekong River in Laos and Thailand has led to severe flooding in Cambodia. The catastrophe is already the worst flooding in a decade and has left an unpredecented amount of damage in the country.

Radio Free Asia [km] reported the flood impact summarized by the Vice President of Cambodian's National Committee for Disaster Management, Nhem Vanda: … The estimated loss could cost Cambodia over $400 million.

YONHAP

Oct. 20 “N.K. official urges Seoul to lift economic sanctions for inter-Korean cooperation”

A senior North Korean official, who is on a rare trip to the United States, called Thursday for South Korea to roll back a set of punitive measures against Pyongyang imposed after the deadly sinking of a warship last year.

… [North Korean official] Ri [Jong-hyuk] plans to make a three-day trip to Germany, starting Nov. 6, accompanied by five other parliamentary officials, Radio Free Asia reported. The North Korean delegation is scheduled to tour the German parliament, a steelmaker and a farm, the U.S.-funded radio station said.

WORLDVIEW (NPR Global Affairs Program)

Oct. 18 “Burma’s powerful censorship chief makes startling call for more press freedom

Recently, journalist Kyaw Kyaw Aung of Radio Free Asia published an unprecedented interview with Tint Swe, the powerful head of Burma’s Press Scrutiny and Registration Department. In it, the official pledged to end press censorship. We talk to Kyaw Kyaw about this surprising revelation and what it holds for Burma’s political and civic future.

BBC (Also in GUARDIAN, DEUTSCHE PRESSE AGENTUR, UPI, RTT NEWS)

Oct. 18 “Tibetan nun ‘dies in fire protest’ near China monastery”

A Tibetan nun has set herself on fire near a restive monastery in western China, in the ninth such incident in recent months, reports say.

… A witness told Radio Free Asia (RFA) that she called for freedom for Tibet before she set herself on fire.

SHANGHAIST Blog

Oct. 17 “Censored? Gang kills brother of woman who refused to abstain from voting in Shanghai district election”

In Shanghai's Jiading district (嘉定区) on Thursday afternoon, police clashed with a hundred or so friends, family members and associates of Hang Hongqi (杭红旗), during a funeral rite [link to Radio Free Asia’s report] performed by a Buddhits/Daoist master for the recently deceased on a city street.

[Photo Caption:] Police trying to maintain order in the wake of Hang Hongqi's death. Photo from Radio Free Asia.

KOREA HERALD

Oct. 15 “Former British envoy embarks on group tour to N. Korea”

A former British envoy to Pyongyang and a group of people interested in North Korea gathered in Beijing on Saturday to embark on a 12-day journey to one of the most reclusive countries in the world rarely seen by foreigners, a U.S. report said Saturday.
Political Tours, a British tour agency, launched the trip that runs through Oct. 26 for 15 people. The group will be guided by regional experts, including James Hoare, who served as Britain's first envoy to Pyongyang from 2001-2002, Radio Free Asia (RFA) said in its report.

MIZZIMA

Oct. 13 “Political prisoner serving 26 years for sending news to exile group released”

Six political prisoners out of a total of 59 prisoners were released from Mawlamyine Prison in Mon State on Wednesday under Burma’s presidential amnesty. Thet Oo, 48, a former member of a Burmese student armed group, the All Burma Students' Democratic Front, was also released. … Mizzima talked with Thet Oo about his release and political views.

[“]In 1994, 1995 and 1996, I tried to compile obscure information. In the prison, I heard that the flow of information was good. Before I was arrested, [Burmese] media had not been developed. At that time, Radio Free Asia (Burmese Service) had just started.[”]

NEW YORK TIMES (Also in REUTERS, CNN, INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE, GLOBE AND MAIL, SYDNEY MORNING HERALD)

Oct. 11 “Myanmar frees prominent dissident; more political prisoners expected to follow”

Myanmar freed a prominent dissident on Wednesday at the start of what state media said would be the release of 6,300 prisoners in a general amnesty that was expected to include a number of political prisoners.

… On Monday, an American assistant secretary of state, Kurt M. Campbell, said in a lecture in Bangkok that Washington might soon take steps to improve its relations with Myanmar in light of “dramatic developments under way” in the new government.

Those have included a reported statement by the director of the country’s Press Scrutiny and Registration Department that censoring media is not consistent with democratic values. The department director, U Tint Swe, was quoted by the United States-financed Radio Free Asia as saying a new media law would allow the press to be free of censors, though he did not say when such a law might be enacted.

UNIVERSITY WORLD NEWS

Oct. 9 “CHINA: Uyghur academic's course cancelled”
Ilham Tohti, a prominent Uyghur professor at the Beijing Minorities University, has had his classes cancelled by the university authorities, Radio Free Asia reported on 21 September.
Tohti, an outspoken Uyghur economist, teaches immigration, discrimination and development in the northwestern region of Xianjiang.

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE (Also in ASSOCIATED PRESS, WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE, WASHINGTON POST, BBC, RADIO NEW ZEALAND, NATION, EURASIA REVIEW, ASIAN CORRESPONDENT, SHAN HERALD, UPI, AUSTRALIA NEWS NETWORK)

Oct. 8 “Myanmar censorship chief 'calls for press freedom'”

The head of Myanmar's repressive state censorship body has called for press freedom in the army-dominated country -- even suggesting his own department should be shut down, a report said Saturday. Tint Swe, director of the Press Scrutiny and Registration Department set up more than four decades ago, told Radio Free Asia that censorship should cease as part of reforms under the new nominally civilian government.

BBC

Oct. 7 “Tibetan youths self-immolate in protest at China rule”

Two Tibetan teenagers have set themselves on fire near a monastery in China's Sichuan province in a protest against Chinese rule, activists say. … “They folded their hands in supplicatory gestures and shouted protests against Chinese rule,” Kanyak Tsering, a monk at a monastery in Dharamsala, India, told Radio Free Asia.

KOREA HERALD

Oct. 5 “N. Korea tightens border inspections at Sinuiju”

North Korea recently replaced all officers at the largest customs office on its border with China as part of moves to solidify the power base of the country’s next leader Kim Jong-un, Radio Free Asia said Wednesday. “In addition to the Sinuiju city officials’ inspection early last month, Pyongyang’s central party authorities came down to scrutinize the Sinuiju customs office,” a source in the Chinese border town of Dandong was quoted as saying by the U.S. broadcaster.

ASSOCIATED PRESS (Also in WASHINGTON POST, WALL STREET JOURNAL, USA TODAY, BOSTON GLOBE, DEUTSCHE PRESSE AGENTUR, TAIPEI TIMES, ASIA TIMES, GUARDIAN, TIMES OF INDIA, FOX NEWS, ABC, NBC, CBS, TIBET EXPRESS, STRAITS TIMES, EXAMINER)

Oct. 2 “Reports say Tibetans protest in southwest China after Dalai Lama photo removed”

Reports say several hundred Tibetans have protested in a Chinese province bordering Tibet on China's National Day, but there was no violence. Radio Free Asia said on Sunday that the protest happened after officials took down a Tibetan flag and picture of the exiled Dalai Lama on Saturday, the 62nd anniversary of communist rule.

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