RFA Reports (April 2017)

2017-05-23
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(Washington, DC — May 1, 2017) Radio Free Asia broadcast the following stories, and more, in April:

RFA Reports on Hong Kong arresting pro-democracy activists in ongoing 'purge'

April 27 – RFA Cantonese aired story [text in English/Cantonese] on Hong Kong police arresting nine pro-democracy activists in what rights groups and pan-democratic politicians said is an ongoing purge of dissenting voices in the former British colony.

RFA Reports on Burmese farmers staging protest over illegal land grabs

April 27 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Burmese] on thirteen farmers staging a protest in the Myanmar capital of Naypyidaw to demand compensation for farmland seized in both 2007 and 2015, seizures they said did not follow proper legal procedures.

RFA Reports on the international community pressuring Myanmar to conduct UN Rakhine mission

April 27 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Burmese] on an open letter signed by 23 rights groups calling on world governments to urge Myanmar’s cooperation with a forthcoming U.N. fact-finding mission sent to investigate abuses in Rakhine state and other conflict zones in the country.

RFA Reports on Beijing 'likely to sacrifice' North Korean interests in self defense

April 24 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on the growing nuclear tension on the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) doorstep, saying that some level of cooperation with the United States on North Korea is to be expected.

RFA Reports on social media bringing ‘humane’ end for Vietnam farmers’ standoff

April 24 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on the peaceful ending to a week-long standoff between authorities and Hanoi farmers. The farmers freed 19 hostages after winning the city government’s pledge to investigate their complaints with no prosecution.

RFA Reports on elderly woman dying in forced demolition in southeast China

April 21 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on a woman in her eighties dying after being trapped in the rubble as bulldozers destroyed her home. Local officials pushed this “village improvement” project without consent from the neighborhood.

RFA Reports on Kem Ley shooter appealing for reduced life sentence

April 21 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Oeuth Ang saying his prison term for murdering Kem Ley does not offer an opportunity to reform himself. However, many believe the court should first clear up public doubt about how the controversial case has been handled.

RFA Reports on North Koreans overcoming border guards in escape

April 21 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on seven North Koreans overpowering border guards in a dramatic escape across the Tumen River to China. Their escape took place on the 105th birthday of country founder Kim Il Sung amid heightened security for the national holiday.

RFA Reports on Myanmar police arresting married couple over publisher murder

April 21 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Burmese] on Myanmar police arresting two suspects in the murder of a Yangon news magazine publisher, saying the crime was in retaliation for a romantic affair, rather than for his critical coverage of the military.

RFA Reports on Myanmar allowing political talks in volatile Shan state

April 20 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Burmese] on the government allowing regional-level political discussions in the run-up to national-level talks. However, the government will not permit talks where militias are engaged in hostilities with the national army.

RFA Reports on China banning 'extreme' Islamic baby names among Uyghurs

April 20 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on Chinese authorities banning dozens of baby names with religious meanings that are widely used by Muslims elsewhere in the world, including Islam, Quran, Mecca, Jihad, and Saddam.

RFA Reports on five detained following Tibetan self-immolation in western China

April 19 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on Chinese authorities in Sichuan province detaining five Tibetans following the self-immolation of a 39 year-old father of four, severely beating at least three suspected of close ties to the protest.

RFA Reports on Han Chinese offered triple salary of Uyghurs in police recruitment drive

April 14 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on Xinjiang increasing the numbers of out-of-province Han Chinese security personnel by offering competitive compensation packages since deadly February attack in Hotan prefecture.

RFA Reports on Vietnam's security ministry drafting ban on recording devices

April 13 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on the government proposing to ban the use of audio and video recording devices as a national security measure, a move that journalists believe is intended to further restrict media.

RFA Reports on China warning Taiwanese ‘don’t make a fuss’ over detained NGO worker

April 13 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on China criticizing Taiwan for "playing up" the detention of the first overseas NGO worker known to be detained since a recent law gave Chinese police control over foreign nongovernment groups.

RFA Reports on Chinese-owned banana plantations closing down in Laos

April 12 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on the Lao government shuttering environmentally destructive Chinese banana farms in six more provinces after its initial ban beginning in January. Authorities are now investigating how to rehabilitate polluted land by growing new crops.

RFA Reports on Chinese authorities urging Kyrgyz herdsmen to spy on Uyghurs

April 12 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on local authorities urging herdsmen in Xinjiang’s western mountains to report suspicious activity and protect the borders in a new move to monitor Muslim Uyghurs in the restive area.

RFA Reports on jailed Myanmar ruling party researcher freed during prisoner amnesty

April 12 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Burmese] on a government researcher being released from prison early as the country celebrates its New Year. He was charged with defamation for criticizing Myanmar’s commander-in-chief of the armed forces in a Facebook post.

RFA Reports on rewards for unmasking foreign 'spies' in Beijing

April 12 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on Beijing encouraging citizens to tip authorities off about foreign spies, meaning that foreign journalists and nongovernmental organization (NGO) workers are at risk of detention at any time.

RFA Reports on China blocking South Korean TV in dispute over missile defense

April 11 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on Chinese cable television companies cutting off access to South Korean programming in a move by Beijing to punish Seoul for installing a missile defense system aimed at North Korea, but which China says threatens its own security.

RFA Reports on Cambodia taking legal action against woman for throwing shoe

April 10 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on a woman who threw a shoe at a government billboard featuring the Cambodian prime minister, prompting the ruling party to take legal action against.

RFA Reports on Dalai Lama saying succession issue is a Tibetan matter

April 10 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on the Dalai Lama saying China must first profess to believe in rebirth in the latest round of debates on reincarnation—the Tibetans’ traditional method of identifying future religious leaders, which Beijing seeks to control.

RFA Reports on Larung Gar Buddhist Academy expulsions now complete

April 7 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on Chinese authorities removing the last batch of 250 monks and nuns from Sichuan province’s Larung Gar, one of the world’s largest and most important Tibetan Buddhist study centers.

RFA Reports on North Korean railroad workers jailed for criticizing missile launch

April 7 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on the arrest of seven North Korean railroad workers who were heard criticizing a missile test, saying that the money spent on weapons would be better spent on the country’s crumbling infrastructure

RFA Reports on Myanmar President reconsidering controversial dam

April 6 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Burmese] on China “walking away” from a $3.6 billion dam project, suspended since 2011 in the face of popular opposition. According to local sources, China is pausing the project in exchange for other economic opportunities in Myanmar.

RFA Reports on China ordering businesses to monitor public Wi-Fi

April 6 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on authorities in northern China rolling out a series of measures that will require any business or workplace with public Wi-Fi to install surveillance technology that records user activity online.

RFA Reports on USAID awarding $1.8 million to Cambodian electoral body ahead of polls

April 6 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on USAID announcing that it will provide Cambodia with a $1.8 million grant to support the electoral body by launching voter education campaigns and strengthening the election dispute resolution process.

RFA Reports on Vietnamese demonstrators marking anniversary of Formosa chemical spill

April 6 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on hundreds of Vietnamese Catholics demonstrating to mark the one-year anniversary of a toxic waste spill that polluted more than 125 miles of coastline in four coastal provinces.

RFA Reports on China calling the Dalai Lama a ‘diplomatic tool’ amid India border trip

April 5 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on the Dalai Lama denying China’s accusations of him inciting Tibetan separatism, saying he is traveling in the Sino-Indian border area to promote religious harmony.

RFA Reports on China arresting pastors for helping North Koreans flee regime

April 5 – RFA Cantonese aired story [text in English/Cantonese] on the arrests of two South Korean Protestant pastors occurring amid rising tensions between South Korea and China over Seoul's deployment of a U.S.-made missile defense system.

RFA Reports on Cambodian real estate firm defrauding Lao investors

April 4 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on a Cambodian-owned real estate firm operating in the Lao capital of Vientiane halting payments to its investors, defrauding them of an estimated $10 million.

RFA Reports on Xinjiang police searching Uyghur homes for ‘illegal items’

April 4 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on Chinese authorities searching the homes of Muslim Uyghurs for “illegal items,” including religious materials and attire, after a deadline for handing in contraband expired.

RFA Reports on detained Vietnamese attorney receiving human rights award

April 4 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on activist Nguyen Van Dai receiving an award from the German Association of Judges, making him the first Vietnamese awarded the honor for his work in human rights.

RFA Reports on North Korean traders shunning email correspondence with foreign partners

April 3 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on traders avoiding email-use because the state exacts exorbitant fees for sending and receiving messages. Authorities have long tried to block unwanted foreign influences from seeping into the isolated nation.

RFA Reports on ethnic political party sweeping elections in Myanmar’s Shan state

April 3 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Burmese] on an ethnic Shan political party winning all six seats in state parliament by-elections in eastern Shan state, giving it a landslide victory over candidates from the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) party.

RFA Reports on U.S.-based Chinese activists protesting President Xi Jinping’s Florida visit

April 3 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on Chinese rights activists protesting during the visit of Xi Jinping for talks with President Donald Trump, in spite of threats of retaliation against their relatives back home.

RFA Reports on Lao police arresting wanted drug kingpin

April 2 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on Lao police arresting fugitive drug kingpin and associate of big-time drug trader Xaysana. He had been on the run since Xaysana’s capture in January.

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