RFA Reports (April 2008)


(Washington, DC—May 1, 2008) Radio Free Asia broadcast the following stories, and more, in April:

RFA Reports on rice speculation in Vietnam

April 28 -- RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in Vietnamese] on people rushing to buy and store rice in an attempt to speculate its supply. Vietnam Fast News Web site reported that in Ho Chi Minh City the price of certain kinds of rice had increased by 200 percent. In addition to the inhabitants of Saigon City, people living in Mekong River Delta cities, such as Can Tho and Soc Trang, have also speculated. Speculation of rice supply or spreading rumors to boost rice prices will be seriously punished, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung announced, after rice prices had been raised.

RFA Reports on two Tibetan nuns being detained in protest

April 27 -- RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English /Tibetan] on two Buddhist nuns being taken into custody after staging a public protest in Sichuan province. The nuns, identified as Bumo Lhaga, 32, and Sonam Dekyi, 30, belong to the Drakar nunnery in Kardze [in Chinese, Ganzi] prefecture, Sichuan province. On April 23, around 1 p.m., they handed out leaflets in Kardze town center calling for the return of Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, sources told RFA's Tibetan service.

RFA Reports on NLD comments about nomination of Daw Aung San Sui Kyi

April 25 -- RFA Burmese aired story [text in Burmese] on the National League for Democracy’s (NLD) reaction to the nomination of Burmese democracy leader Aung San Sui Kyi for the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal. NLD Secretary U Lwin commented that having Aung San Sui Kyi amongst them was much like having her father, General Aung San, fighting for their cause. She will be the first person under detention to be awarded the medal in its 230 year history.

RFA Reports on the wife of a Chinese dissident making a parole plea
April 24 -- RFA Cantonese aired story [text in English /Cantonese] on Li Jingfang, the ex-wife of Wuhan-based veteran Chinese dissident Qin Yongmin, who was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment in 1998 for subverting state power. In a video made ahead of Beijing's hosting of the Olympics, she calls for his early release from jail on medical grounds.

RFA Reports on an Olympic rally planned in Tibet

April 23 -- RFA Cantonese aired story [text in English /Cantonese] on Chinese authorities in Tibet planning a mass rally of Han Chinese government backers to support the arrival of the Olympic torch in Tibet’s iconic Potala Palace, former home of the exiled Dalai Lama. Travel agencies in the Tibetan capital said they had received approval from the ruling Communist Party’s Youth League to organize a “patriotic activity” on the arrival of the torch at the palace, formerly the heart of Tibetan Buddhism.

RFA Reports on China dampening patriotic fervor

April 22 -- RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English /Mandarin] on China moving to dampen a wave of mass popular anger among young people, sparked by recent protests during its Olympic torch relay over the crackdown in Tibet, according to journalists and academics. “All the student counselors have been told to ‘manage student sentiment’ and to learn what students are going to do, and to make sure that students don’t go out to demonstrate,” a professor at Nanjing Normal University in eastern China said.

RFA Reports on high food prices in Laos

April 22 -- RFA Lao aired story [text in Lao] on the strong effects of the continuing rise of high prices of food and other commodities throughout the world on people with low income. Those in the Lao PDR, where the population has difficulties finding employment, are especially affected.

RFA Reports on China stepping up crackdown in Tibet

April 17 -- RFA Tibetan, Cantonese, and Mandarin aired story [text in English /Mandarin /Cantonese] on China intensifying its crackdown on Tibet after the largest anti-Chinese protests there in almost 50 years. But many monks continue to refuse to fly the Chinese flag on monastery roofs, sources in China and India say. In addition to reports from remote Qinghai province this week that authorities have arrested Tibetan feminist and writer Jamyang Kyi, Tibetans say five other Qinghai Tibetan community leaders are in custody as well. All are residents of Machen [in Chinese, Maqin] county in Golog [Guoluo] prefecture, and all are now being held in the provincial capital, Xining, sources said.

RFA Reports on Chinese journalist calling for press freedom
April 16 -- RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on a Beijing-based news researcher for The New York Times and cutting-edge Chinese investigative reporter calling for greater press freedom in China following his release from a three-year jail term. “There is not enough press freedom now,” Zhao Yan, who was jailed for fraud after charges of “revealing state secrets” were withdrawn, told RFA’s Mandarin service. “A law enshrining such freedoms should be enacted,” he told reporter Xin Yu shortly before leaving for the United States.

RFA Reports on the arrest of a noted Tibetan writer

April 15 -- RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English /Tibetan] on Chinese authorities in Tibet arresting a leading Tibetan writer, television producer, and performer in the midst of a major crackdown on anti-Chinese protests in the region. Plainclothes state security officers escorted Jamyang Kyi, who has travelled widely and performed and lectured in the United States, from her office at state-owned Qinghai TV on April 1, a source told RFA’s Tibetan service.

RFA Reports on privacy issues in North Korea

April 14 -- RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Korea’s well-earned reputation as one of the most tightly closed and rigorously controlled countries in the world. But when it comes to the privacy of the bedroom, even the all-powerful North Korean Workers’ Party is largely hands-off, according to North Korean defectors. Intellectuals and artists in the ‘Workers’ Paradise’ have long espoused a fairly open and liberal set of views around sexual relationships, according to former North Korean artist and defector Lee Yoon Jeong, despite a widespread lack of sex education for young people.

RFA Reports on Tibetans wounded in Sichuan protest

April 5 -- RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English /Tibetan] on Tibetan exiles and a witness in China’s southwestern Sichuan province reported further protests in the troubled Kardze region, saying four to five people were seriously injured when police fired on a crowd of up to 1,000 people. A Tibetan witness in Daofu (Dawu), in Kardze (in Chinese, Ganzi), told RFA’s Tibetan service on April 5 that a protest was under way, with 15 people injured, five people of them seriously. The five who were gravely wounded were all initially taken into custody, the witness said.

RFA Reports on jailing of Chinese activist Hu Jia for “incitement to subversion”

April 3 -- RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English /Mandarin /Cantonese] on authorities in Beijing sentencing AIDS activist Hu Jia to 3-1/2 years in jail for "incitement to subversion" after he wrote articles online critical of China's hosting of the Olympics, his lawyer and family said. “We cannot accept this verdict, because the peaceful words Hu expressed are irrelevant to state power," Hu's lawyer, Li Fangping, told RFA's Mandarin service after the trial. "Therefore, the 3-1/2-year prison sentence is inappropriate." Hu's wife, blogger and fellow activist Zeng Jinyan, was allowed to attend the hearing where the sentence was handed down. She rejected the court case against her husband.

RFA Reports on Chinese police raiding houses in Xinjiang

April 2 -- RFA Uyghur and Mandarin aired story [text in English /Uyghur/Mandarin] on Chinese police conducting raids on several houses in the restive northwestern region of Xinjiang, possibly looking for weapons. Authorities in Yengiyer township near Gulja (in Chinese, Yili) city raided family homes belonging to Muslim Uyghurs, detaining several people, a local government official told RFA's Uyghur service.

RFA Reports on the resurfacing of abuses related to China’s one-child policy

April 2 -- RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English] on China pledging to maintain tough family planning policies that limit most of the country’s families to just one child, in a bid to keep its burgeoning population under control. Pregnant women who fall foul of the system and civil rights activists are still reporting widespread abuses by officials in many parts of the country, including forced abortions, arbitrary detentions and torture.

RFA Reports on landslide that left many Cambodians homeless or missing

April 1 -- RFA Khmer aired story [text in English /Khmer] on residents in a crowded area of the Cambodian capital scrambling to account for relatives and salvage what they could after a 50-meter bank of the Tonle Sap River slid into the water, leaving some 300 people homeless and an unknown number missing. Phnom Penh Police Commissioner General Touch Naroth said 500 to 600 officers had been mobilized to rescue the victims from the landslide at Reussey Keo.

RFA Reports on Uyghur protests in China’s remote Xinjiang region

April 1 -- RFA Uyghur and Mandarin aired story [text in English /Uyghur/Mandarin] on several hundred ethnic Uyghurs staging protests in China’s remote and restive Xinjiang region following the death in custody of a prominent Uyghur businessman and philanthropist. Witnesses reported protests at two locations in Khotan prefecture—in Khotan city March 23-24 and Qaraqash county March 23. Several hundred protesters were taken into custody, numerous sources said, amid tight security. Numerous sources said the demonstrations followed the death in custody of a wealthy Uyghur jade trader and philanthropist, Mutallip Hajim, 38. Police returned his body to relatives March 3 after two months in custody, saying he had died in the hospital of heart trouble.

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