RFA in the News (September 2015)


Sept. 30 “At least 50 said killed in September Xinjiang attack as China warns on security

At least 50 people died in an attack last month at a coal mine in China's far-western Xinjiang, Radio Free Asia reported on Thursday, as a visiting senior leader warned that the security situation in the violence-prone region was "very serious". The government says it faces a serious threat from Islamist militants and separatists in energy-rich Xinjiang, on the border of central Asia, where hundreds have died in violence in recent years.


Sept. 30 “China puts two democracy activists on trial amid crackdown

China has put two veteran democracy activists on trial for "subversion of state power", one of their lawyers said Wednesday, the latest prosecution in a sweeping crackdown on civil society. … About a dozen supporters of the two men were barred from entering the court and instead gathered outside behind police cordons, Radio Free Asia reported.


Sept. 25 “Terror activities in Xinjiang 'curbed'

The authorities in Xinjiang have curbed terror activities in the restive region, and will continue striking at perpetrators who "do this to sow discord between communities", the region's chairman said yesterday. … While such high-profile incidents have abated this year, there have been reports of other attacks, most recently by separatists at a coal mine in Aksu last Friday, said the United States-based Radio Free Asia.


Sept. 27 “Xi at U.N.: Women’s Rights, Human Rights (Updated)

In September 1995, government leaders and activists gathered outside Beijing for the 4th World Conference on Women. Then first lady Hillary Clinton delivered a speech declaring that, “women’s rights are human rights”[.] … Five women activists who were detained this spring after organizing activities to mark International Women’s Day on March 8 have remained under tight surveillance, but have continued to speak out to protest their treatment. Last week, the women’s defense lawyers wrote a letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon asking for his support in demanding the Chinese government drop the case against them. Li Tingting, one of the “Feminist Five,” recently wrote about the harassment she has faced in securing housing. From Radio Free Asia:[.]


Sept. 24 “Terror activities in Xinjiang 'curbed'

The authorities in Xinjiang have curbed terror activities in the restive region, and will continue striking at perpetrators who "do this to sow discord between communities", the region's chairman said yesterday. … While such high-profile incidents have abated this year, there have been reports of other attacks, most recently by separatists at a coal mine in Aksu last Friday, said the United States-based Radio Free Asia.


Sept. 24 “North Korea, Where Watching a Soap Opera Is Apparently Punishable by Death

Three people were shot to death in North Korea last month when they were caught watching a South Korean television dramas on their mobile phones, according to a report in the Daily NK, a Seoul-based publication run by North Korean defectors. … There are currently three stations penetrating the mists of censorship that hang over the clandestine kingdom: the American-backed Radio Free Asia (RFA) and Voice of America (VOA), and a conglomeration of South Korean media agencies known as the Unification Media Group (UMG). … As well as news and music, RFA offers defector-based programs, for example, "interviews with former North Korean residents who are living in the South talking about their lives and journey to freedom," service director Max Kwak told VICE News. "The content focuses on issues such as human rights, democracy, and freedom," he said.


Sept. 23 “World Bank: North Korea ranks lowest for fairness of government
The World Bank said North Korea ranked the lowest across dimensions of governance, including in the areas of press freedom and rule of law. The international financial institution combined data from more than 30 organizations to produce its Worldwide Governance Indicators, and to assess conditions in 230 countries, Radio Free Asia reported.


Sept. 23 “Osborne wins China investment, criticised on rights

Chancellor George Osborne won an offer of more Chinese investment in Britain on Wednesday but his trip to a violence-prone region of China drew criticism from a human rights group. … At least five police officers were killed by separatists in Xinjiang, according to a report by U.S.-based Radio Free Asia on Wednesday.


Sept. 22 “Chinese dissidents not to stay in Taiwan

None of the five Chinese dissidents who were recently detained in Taiwan for either entering illegally or overstaying their visas have applied to remain in the nation, the Mainland Affairs Council said on Sunday. … According to a report on the Washington-based Radio Free Asia, three of the dissidents — Lu Ning (陸寧), Su Qianlong (蘇黔龍) and Shi Jian (石堅) — set sail on a motor yacht from a port in Shangdong in northeastern China early last month


Sept.  21 “Radio can help kickstart a revolution, North Koreans say

The DPRK’s announcement that it has relaunched its nuclear weapons complex has raised concerns on the Korean peninsula less than a month after a propaganda war – fought via radio and loudspeakers in the demilitarised zone – led to emergency talks between North and South Korea. … Kim said lot of people listen to Radio Free Asia, as it comes in the clearest.


Sept. 21 “OPINION: China, World Leader in Graft

China is ruled by thieves. Its cancerous system of kleptocracy must be confronted when Xi Jinping makes his first state visit to the United States this week. … It’s why U.S.-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Radio Free Asia must be given the requisite support for recruitment, training and supervision to ramp up their efforts in investigative journalism.


Sept. 21 “Workers Strike at Chinese Shipyard, Demand Three Months’ Back-Pay

More than 1,000 workers at a shipbuilding yard in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu are on strike over unpaid wages, workers told RFA, as the industrial action entered its third day.

Around one-fifth of the 5,000-strong workforce at the Sinopacific-owned shipyard in Jiangsu’s Dayang city walked out on Wednesday, saying they are owed three months’ wages by management, striking workers said.


Sept. 19 “Do not deport Chinese ‘asylum seekers’: activists

Civil activists yesterday urged the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation of the five Chinese nationals found on a yacht off Taoyuan County last week to determine whether they were planning to seek asylum in the US, as they claimed, or Chinese spies, coming as they did around the time of the Han Kuang military exercises. … The news was first reported by Radio Free Asia (RFA), which on Monday said that the five were found on a yacht on Sunday last week.


Sept. 18 “Government Is Fighting Itself on Encryption

The FBI has a long list of enemies. There are of course terrorists, organized criminals and street gangs. One can't forget hackers and foreign spies. Add to this list an unlikely foe: Radio Free Asia. ... … Since 2011, as part of the Clinton State Department's policy to support Internet freedom, Radio Free Asia has incubated easy-to-use technologies that help regular people cloak their Internet communications from surveillance. The program, the Open Technology Fund, has provided seed money in this field, including $1.4 million in 2013 and 2014 to Open Whisper. That small company's technology is now being used to encrypt texts and phone calls on Android devices and iPhones.


Sept. 18 “Quarter of N. Korean Children Suffer from Anemia

A recent report shows that one in four North Korean children suffers from anemia. Radio Free Asia (RFA) on Friday quoted the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) as saying that the percentage of anemia patients among North Korean children has improved over previous years, but the pace at which the rate is falling has slowed in the past four years.


Sept. 18 “OPINION: Sophie Richardson -- China is bringing sophisticated censorship to the US for president Xi’s state visit

Much of the high-gloss diplomacy surrounding Chinese president Xi Jinping’s state visit to Washington next week will be familiar to observers. … Radio Free Asia correspondent Shohret Hoshur, a US citizen who reports from Washington on developments, including human rights abuses, in his home province of Xinjiang, knows this problem all too well: his brothers are being prosecuted in Xinjiang in clear retaliation for his work.


Sept. 16 “Thailand bomb blast puts spotlight on China crackdown on Uighurs

When Thai authorities this week linked the trafficking of Chinese Muslims with the deadly bomb blast at a Bangkok temple, they placed the horrific attack squarely inside a much larger issue facing China, which has witnessed mounting hostility among its minority Uighur people. … A Uighur source, however, told Radio Free Asia that the group was fleeing an aggressive police crackdown in Xinjiang, and the attack was born out of their frustration with China.

Sept. 14 “Banned Tibetan flag fluttered in Golog

The banned Tibetan flag was found hung on a metal structure in Dida town, Pema County in Golok on September 6 and remained there until next day, according to a report by Radio Free Asia.


Sept. 14 “Don't return, a Sydney uni student is told after his father 'disappears' in China

Xin Hongyu, a Sydney University law student and commerce graduate, has been warned it is not safe to return to China. … Last year three siblings were arrested in the western province of Xinjiang after authorities insisted they persuade their brother, American journalist Shohret Hoshur, to quit his job at Radio Free Asia.


Sept. 10 “Feng Zhenghu: An Interview With CNN

After he was denied re-entry to China eight times, Feng Zhenghu lived in Tokyo’s Narita Airport for 92 days in 2009-2010. Now Feng is telling the story of his airport odyssey on his blog, and CDT is translating his account. … At 6:00 a.m., I was woken by a call from Mr. Yang in the U.S. and from a Radio Free Asia reporter. They told me that activists in the U.S. are going to protest in support of my return home at the Chinese Consulate in L.A.


Sept. 10 “Policeman shot dead in shoot-out with Uygurs in China

Two people died in a shoot-out between Uygurs and police officers in Henan province and at least two Uygurs were on the run, US-based Radio Free Asia said yesterday. More than 10 shots were fired in the skirmish near an antique market in Zhengzhou late on Monday, leaving a Uygur and a police officer dead, the report said.


Sept. 9 “Time for a change in tactics, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi

Last May and June saw the defeat of two attempts in parliament to amend the constitution, particularly those provisions that block the opposition leader from becoming president on the grounds that some of her family members have foreign nationality.  … In an interview with America-based Radio Free Asia on August 27, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi told the interviewer, U Khin Maung Soe, “We don’t have much of a friendly relationship with the military.”


Sept. 8 “BBC boss warns of budget cut

The BBC would have to cut budget by 20% over the next five years, its director general said yesterday, warning that some services might have to shut. … Currently the US-funded Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Asia (RFA) both make short-wave broadcasts in Korean to the communist state, where those who listen to unauthorised foreign broadcasts can face severe punishment.


Sept. 7 “BBC plan to broadcast radio programs to North Korea unlikely to happen

The BBC has unveiled a proposal to launch a radio service in North Korea, but the U.K. government will never fund it without a dramatic shift in foreign policy, experts say. … The U.S. government funds Voice of America and Radio Free Asia broadcasts, while South Korea has three stations including Voice of Freedom radio that transmit programs over the border.


Sept. 6 “New dock believed built on NK's east coast

North Korea is believed to have built a new dock at its eastern coastal city of Wonsan, Gangwon Province for leader Kim Jong-un observe artillery drills on the sea, according to an U.S. analyst, Sunday. In an interview with the Korean-language version of Radio Free Asia, Curtis Melvin, a researcher at the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, claimed Kim was at the dock when the military regime test-fired ship-to-ship missiles on June 14 and launched tactical rockets on Aug. 16, 2014.


Sept. 5 “Cambodia’s Political Truce Breaks Down

An excellent article in this month’s Foreign Affairs, by Stephanie Giry, outlines the strategies Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has used to stay in power. … In April, Hun Sen announced that he would be running for election in 2018 and said that a civil war could be averted only if he was re-elected prime minister. The armed forces, too, appear to be demonstrating that they will back Hun Sen to the hilt. In late July, Radio Free Asia’s Cambodia service reported: Cambodia’s armed forces belong to the country’s ruling party and must prevent a ‘color revolution’ from overtaking the Southeast Asian nation, a four-star general said.

Sept. 4 “International groups rushing to provide aid to flood-stricken North Korea

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), and other international organizations and private groups are scrambling to provide aid to victims of flooding in North Korea. The ICRC plans to increase aid from its emergency disaster relief fund to over 1,300 families in the city of Rason, which suffered severe damages, the US nonprofit Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported on Sept. 3.

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