(Washington, DC — May 1, 2010) Radio Free Asia broadcast the following stories, and more, in April:
RFA Reports on new curbs on media ahead of Expo
April 30 – RFA Mandarin and Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan/Mandarin] on China’s propaganda department calling for curbs on reporting negative news about the devastating earthquake that struck Yushu county in western China’s Qinghai province. This directive was issued ahead of the Shanghai World Expo.
RFA Reports on detention of Tibetan quake critic
April 30 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on authorities in the western Chinese province of Qinghai extending the detention of a Tibetan writer who signed an open letter critical of the government’s quake response. The writer, who publishes under the pen name Shogdung, was one of eight intellectuals who signed an April 17 letter that expressed sorrow over the disaster that left more than 2,000 people dead, mostly Tibetans, and urged wariness of Chinese government relief efforts.
RFA Reports on petitioners sent to mental hospitals
April 29 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on Chinese psychiatric hospitals facing pressure to accept “patients” with no demonstrable mental illness from government officials keen to silence people who criticize them. Authorities in the central province of Henan announced they would fire five local officials after they sent 59-year-old petitioner Xu Lindong to a mental institution for 6-1/2 years based on forged documents.
RFA Reports on suicide bombing in Burma
April 28 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on a man held at a police station in Burma who detonated a bomb, killing himself and wounding at least four police officers. This was the seventh known bombing in recent weeks in military-ruled Burma that have left about a dozen people dead.
RFA Reports on Uyghur scholar speaking out on travel ban
April 28 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on a Beijing-based ethnic Uyghur scholar criticizing Chinese authorities for preventing him from participating in an academic conference in Turkey. Ilham Tohti, an outspoken economist who was detained by Chinese authorities last year, accused Beijing of operating “in flagrant violation of the law to maintain ‘social order’” by banning him from traveling outside the mainland.
RFA Reports on calls for transparency of energy companies in Burma
April 27 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on calls for three energy giants to make public the details of their contractual agreements with the country’s highly secretive military regime.
RFA Reports on effort to rid Laos of unexploded munitions
April 24 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on the U.S. effort to clean up unexploded ordnance dropped on Laos during the Vietnam War. Leftover UXO, scattered throughout the country, is blamed for close to 300 casualties in Laos every year.
RFA Reports on new calls to restore online access in Xinjiang
April 22 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on a retired physics professor and prominent rights activist from eastern Shandong province calling for the restoration of Internet access in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Since last July’s unrest in the region, the Chinese government has severely restricted online access there despite repeated calls for access to resume.
RFA Reports on Chinese authorities sending monks away after quake
April 20 – RFA Tibetan, Mandarin, and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Tibetan/Mandarin/Cantonese] on Chinese authorities telling Buddhist monks aiding rescue efforts to return home. As Beijing declared a day of mourning for the more than 2,000 people killed in an earthquake in western Qinghai province, witnesses told Radio Free Asia that authorities were no longer welcoming help from monks.
RFA Reports on guns greeting Vietnamese land protesters
April 20 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on protests of government rural land grabs being met by security forces with raised firearms. Complaints of corrupt rural officials have become widespread in recent years, as market-based reforms have widened economic disparities in the Vietnamese countryside.
RFA Reports on questions over North Korean food aid
April 19 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on questions over distribution of humanitarian nutritional aid in North Korea. The success of breeding programs of donated animals, including giant rabbits, remains in doubt after recent inquiries.
RFA Reports on unease over official coverage of quake relief
April 19 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on conflicting reports emerging in official Chinese media coverage on rescue and relief efforts after the devastating earthquake in Western China. Tibetans complain that Buddhist monks aiding recovery efforts receive little acknowledgement in the Chinese press.
RFA Reports on possible alliance of Burmese junta, insurgents
April 19 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English] on the armed wing of Burma’s ethnic Kachin independence movement entering into negotiations to join forces with the ruling government.
RFA Reports on villagers beaten in land grab
April 13 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on peasants in southern China being beaten and detained in a clash with police after their land was secretly sold to developers by local cadres.
RFA Reports on China cutting off Kyrgyzstan links to Xinjiang
April 13 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on Chinese authorities suspending road and rail links between China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and neighboring Kyrgyzstan, following the president’s ouster there. According to official Kyrgyz statistics, an estimated 50,000 Uyghurs live in Kyrgyzstan, although some estimates put the number as high as 250,000.
RFA Reports on Rohingya refugee status rejected again
April 12 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English] on Bangladesh rejecting a U.N. proposal to grant refugee status to tens of thousands of ethnic minority Muslims from Burma.
RFA Reports on ill AIDS activist denied parole
April 12 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on Chinese authorities denying jailed AIDS and civil rights activist Hu Jia’s request for medical parole. Hu’s wife Zeng Jinyan said she has submitted an appeal to authorities on behalf of her husband, whose health has deteriorated in recent months.
RFA Reports on censorship of tainted milk activist’s trial
April 1 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on Chinese authorities censoring online news and information about the trial of an activist seeking compensation for children and families affected by the 2008 tainted infant formula scandal.