RFA in the News (September 2014)

2014-10-08
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BBC - Live Blog

Sept. 30 “As it happened: Hong Kong protests

07:28: More on the emerging Canton Road gathering: Radio Free Asia [in Chinese] says it began in the early hours of Wednesday. Protesters used recycling bins and traffic signs to create a barrier and block off the road, and shortly afterwards vehicles turned up delivering goods for the demonstrators.

CAMBODIA DAILY

Sept. 29 “Commune Chief Leads Protest Against Adhoc

A CPP commune chief in Battambang province led more than 150 villagers in a demonstration on Friday outside the local office of rights group Adhoc after a representative of the organization accused the official of corruption for allegedly selling plots of public land to local residents. In an interview with Radio Free Asia on September 17, Adhoc provincial coordinator Yin Mengly accused Chhea Ny, the chief of Boeng Bram commune in Bavel district, of selling private plots inside a 3,638-hectare social land concession that was granted to 1,549 families in 2011.

BANGKOK POST
Sept. 27 “Fighting closes Mae Sot border post

Fighting between Myanmar government soldiers and Karen rebels has resulted in the closure on Saturday of a key border station in Mae Sot district of Tak province. … Col Saw Tiger, who leads the small armed group called the KNU/KNLA-Peace Council, said the order by the local armed forces commander in Myawaddy town threatened ongoing talks for a nationwide ceasefire agreement between ethnic groups and the government. "[Threatening us] is not a good practice while we are in the midst of the peace process," he was quoted as saying by the Myanmar service of Radio Free Asia.

NEW YORK TIMES (Also in TIME, USA TODAY, BLOOMBERG, LOS ANGELES TIMES, GUARDIAN, AL JAZEERA)

Sept. 25 “Death Toll in Xinjiang Violence May Be Higher Than Reported

Violent clashes last weekend in the Xinjiang region of western China killed and injured a higher number of people than state media had reported, witnesses and Western news media have indicated in recent days. Citing local officials and residents, Radio Free Asia, which is funded by the United States government, said on Thursday that more than a dozen people had been killed — including three police officers — and around 100 wounded in the violence, which took place on Sunday in three towns in the southern county of Bugur, known as Luntai in Chinese.

DAILY NK

Sept. 25 “NK Introduces Domestic Air Travel

Air travel, for the first time in North Korea, has now become an option for people wishing to travel domestically, according to Radio Free Asia [RFA].

LOS ANGELES TIMES (Also in WALL STREET JOURNAL-CHINA REAL TIME, DEUTSCHE PRESSE AGENTUR)

Sept. 23 “China sentences Uighur professor to life in prison on separatism charge

A Beijing economics professor who had become China’s most prominent critic of government policies toward the nation’s Uighur ethnic minority was convicted on charges of separatism Tuesday and sentenced to life in prison. … Tohti established the site in 2006, and told Radio Free Asia in 2008 that it occasionally received a million page views per day before it was blocked in China that year.

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE (Also in NEW YORK TIMES, UPI)

Sept. 22 “Man self-immolates in China

A Tibetan man has burned himself to death in northwest China, overseas media and a campaign group reported on Monday, the latest in a string of self-immolation protests in recent years against Beijing’s control. News of Tashi’s fatal burning on Wednesday emerged only at the weekend, due to a communication clampdown imposed by Chinese authorities, US-funded broadcaster Radio Free Asia (RFA) said.

PHNOM PENH POST

Sept. 20 “Students demand to see internet law

More than 200 university students yesterday called on the government to publicly release the latest version of the controversial cybercrime law, amid fears it will lead to a clampdown on their currently unrestricted use of social media sites like Facebook. … Chun Srey Phea, a 22-year-old philosophy student at the Royal University of Phnom Penh, said provisions in the leaked draft, which would criminalise content undermining “political cohesiveness” and “nonfactual” content that affects the “integrity” of government agencies, had left her concerned. “I like to share information from the Facebook pages of Radio Free Asia and Voice of America and also criticise the government for failing to solve this or that,” she said.

WASHINGTON POST

Sept. 19 “China's war on terror becomes all-out attack on Islam in Xinjiang

The month of Ramadan should have been a time of fasting, charity and prayer in China’s Muslim west. But here, in many of the towns and villages of southern Xinjiang, it was a time of fear, repression, and violence. … On July 18, hundreds of people gathered outside a government building in the town of Alaqagha, angry about the arrest of two dozen girls and women who had refused to remove their headscarves, according to a report on Washington-based Radio Free Asia (RFA). Protesters threw stones, bottles and bricks at the building; the police opened fire, killing at least two people, and wounding several more.Then, on July 28, the last day of Ramadan, a protest in Elishku was met with an even more violent response, RFA reported. Hundreds of Uighurs attacked a police station with knives, axes and sticks; again, the police opened fire, mowing down scores of people.

DAILY NK

Sept. 19 “NK Expected to Snub UN Climate Summit

North Korea is likely to be absent at the upcoming UN Climate Summit on September 23rd, Radio Free Asia [RFA] reported on the 17th. … A source at the UN reported to RFA, “There is a possibility that North Korea will observe the Summit, but without a speaker there, it seems unlikely any of their officials would attend.”

NEW YORK TIMES – SINOSPHERE

Sept. 18 “Beijing Police Say Uniform Vendor Instigated Veterans’ Protests

The Beijing police said on Thursday that they had arrested a man they accused of stirring up disgruntled military veterans and exploiting their protests for profit. … Human rights groups say that veterans of China’s 1979 war with Vietnam have protested over livelihood issues in several Chinese cities this year, the 35th anniversary of that conflict. In February, more than 1,000 petitioned at an office of the People’s Liberation Army in Beijing, according to Radio Free Asia.

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH (Also in UNPO)

Sept. 15 “Timeline of Ilham Tohti’s Case

2009 March 06 … In his interview with Radio Free Asia (RFA), Tohti criticizes Chinese policies in Xinjiang. He questions the central government’s policy of encouraging Han people to move to Xinjiang where the unemployment rate among Uighurs remained high. Tohti also refers to the then-governor of Xinjiang as “unqualified.”

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

Sept. 15 “Chinese writer Tie Liu, 81, held after criticising Communist Party propaganda chief

Beijing police detained liberal writer Huang Zerong on charges of “provoking trouble” on Sunday after he reportedly criticised the Communist Party’s propaganda chief Liu Yunshan online. … Radio Free Asia suggested Huang was detained for an article he wrote on the party’s propaganda chief. Huang has long been openly critical of Liu Yunshan, accusing him and his family of corruption in articles released online and calling on President Xi Jinping to dismiss the Politburo Standing Committee member.

CAMBODIA DAILY

Sept. 12 “Gov’t Spokesman Wants Critical Article Explained

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan on Thursday demanded that Radio Free Asia’s (RFA) Khmer service “clarify” a damning political commentary that attacked Prime Minister Hun Sen’s long-standing grip on power. In an open letter made public on Thursday, Mr. Siphan insisted that RFA Khmer chief Chun Chanboth explain the use of four phrases in an August 27 analysis piece entitled “How Important are Term Limits for Prime Ministers?”

ROADS AND KINGDOMS

Sept. 11 “The Day Imam Tahir Died

While it’s not out of the question that Tahir’s attackers stabbed the imam “because he distorted the doctrine”, it is equally likely that they killed the cleric for his pro-Beijing leanings. That seems to be why most Uighurs in Kashgar disliked the man. One resident told U.S. government broadcaster Radio Free Asia, that Tahir had “turned the mosque into a Communist Party propaganda school.”

NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS

Sept. 10 “From China to Jihad?

It’s a very long way from China’s arid Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in the country’s far northwest to its semi-tropical borders with Vietnam, Laos, and Burma in the south, and then it’s another precarious distance from there, down rivers and across fortified borders, all the way to the seaside Thai town of Songkhla, about forty miles from the Malaysian border. … Radio Free Asia (RFA), which maintains a network of Uighur reporters in Xinjiang and has probably the most extensive coverage of the region, reported that two of them were sentenced to life in prison after secret trials, another to seventeen years.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Sept. 8 “China's terrorism crackdown raises concerns of excessive force, summary killings by police

When attackers from China's minority Uighurs killed 37 people in a July rampage in far western Xinjiang, police responded by gunning down at least 59 of them. When three Uighurs allegedly killed a top state-appointed Muslim cleric, police shot dead two of them. When security forces led a raid on 10 suspected Uighur terrorists, they fatally shot all but one. … Uighur exile groups and the U.S.-government funded broadcaster Radio Free Asia report far more violent incidents than Chinese state media do, and in some cases, higher death tolls and police shootings of Uighur protesters.

SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST (Also in GULF NEWS)

Sept. 2 “Uygur-Han Chinese couples offered 10,000 yuan a year to marry in Xinjiang county

A county in the restive Xinjiang region has introduced a package of perks and cash rewards to encourage people from ethnic minorities to marry members of the Han majority. Under rules introduced late last month, any inter-ethnic couples in Qiemo county, also known as Qargan, who register their marriages there can apply for a 10,000 yuan (HK$12,570) annual payment, the local government said on its website. Payments will be made each year for up to five years as long as the marriage remains "harmonious". … Dilxat Raxit, of exiled group the World Uygur Congress, told Radio Free Asia the local government was using the rewards to try to speed up the assimilation of Uygurs.

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