RFA Reports (April 2013)


(Washington, DC — May 1, 2013) Radio Free Asia broadcast the following stories, and more, in April:

RFA Reports on recall of North Korean workers at Kaesong

April 30 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Korea assigning workers withdrawn from the Kaesong Industrial Complex to new jobs. The swiftness of the workers’ reassignments indicates to some that Pyongyang may have planned the withdrawal well in advance of its announcement.

RFA Reports on court calling for new probe into Cambodian reporter’s murder
April 30 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on a court in Cambodia ordering a renewed probe into the murder of a journalist who had exposed corruption among local elites. The court issued its order, stating that an earlier investigation had neglected important evidence that could shed new light on the case.

RFA Reports on China supplying helicopters to Burmese ethnic rebels

April 30 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on China providing missile-equipped helicopters to Burma’s largest armed ethnic rebel group. The move could hurt bilateral ties between the two countries.

RFA Reports on police withdrawing some charges against Chen Guangcheng’s family

April 29 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on authorities in the eastern Chinese province of Shandong withdrawing charges against some family members of legal activist Chen Guangcheng. Chen’s nephew still remains jailed, however.

RFA Reports on protests over Uyghur student’s assault
April 29 – RFA Uyghur and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Uyghur/Mandarin] on the assault of a Uyghur student at the Beijing-based Central University for Nationalities by his Han Chinese roommates. The incident sparked protests and an order by university authorities for the two ethnic groups to be housed separately in a bid to ease tensions.

RFA Reports on calls for probe over Burma mine crackdown

April 29 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on hundreds of villagers holding a protest to back their persistent calls for a government probe into a harsh crackdown over a China-backed copper mine. The incident in northern Burma’s Sagaing division left more than 100 injured and was strongly condemned by rights groups.

RFA Reports on North Korean elites evading military service

April 26 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on the children of North Korea’s privileged class shirking military duties through payment of bribes. A source in North Korea’s South Hamgyong province, near the country’s border with China, told RFA’s Korean Service that the problem of the elite avoiding conscription had become “severe” but has so far not led to an official crackdown.

RFA Reports on calls to reopen investigation into murder of Cambodian activist
April 26 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on family members of slain Cambodian environmental activist Chut Wutty calling for the reopening of investigations into his murder on the one-year anniversary of his death. The call came as members of Cambodia’s civil society held a memorial service for the activist in the country’s capital Phnom Penh, appealing to the government to end a “culture of impunity.”

RFA Reports on call for US envoy to press Uyghur rights following violence

April 25 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on an exiled rights group calling on the U.S. envoy to China to raise human rights violations against the mostly Muslim Uyghur minority with the government in Beijing. The call came two days after 21 people were killed in the worst episode of violence in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in nearly four years.

RFA Reports on Vietnamese land dispute remaining unresolved one year on

April 24 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on more than 1,000 families reeling from one of Vietnam’s biggest land disputes. They say officials are ignoring their legal complaints over the loss of their rice fields confiscated for a satellite city on the edge of the country’s capital.

RFA Reports on trial beginning for Liu Xiaobo’s brother

April 23 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on authorities in the Chinese capital beginning the trial of a relative of jailed Chinese Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo. His wife, Liu Xia, appeared in public for the first time following years of house arrest to attend the trial.

RFA Reports on Laotians highlighting legacy of unexploded bombs

April 23 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on two young Laotians touring the U.S. to educate Americans on the dangers of unexploded bombs dropped on their country by the U.S. during the Vietnam War. The U.S. military dropped two million tons of bombs on Laos over a nine-year period up to 1973 while attempting to disrupt the Vietcong supply line known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail during the Vietnam War.

RFA Reports on questions over official inquiry into Uyghur boy’s murder

April 22 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on authorities in northwestern China claiming the Han Chinese suspect in the murder of a 7-year-old Uyghur boy suffered from mental problems. Observers question whether ethnic hatred played a role in the incident.

RFA Reports on authorities blocking monks, groups from aiding Sichuan quake victims

April 21 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on Chinese authorities blocking rights groups and Tibetan monks from participating in rescue efforts in an earthquake-struck zone in southwestern Sichuan province. The quake—measured by the U.S. Geological Survey at 6.6—struck in Lushan county, close to where a devastating 7.9 quake hit in May 2008, leaving 90,000 dead or missing.

RFA Reports on charges for Burmese pipeline protesters

April 19 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on Burmese authorities charging six villagers with illegal assembly for protesting a controversial China-backed pipeline project in western Rakhine state. The six were believed to be among organizers of mass protests against the Shwe Gas Project, a joint venture largely between the official petroleum groups of China and Burma in Maday Island in the Bay of Bengal.

RFA Reports on Cambodian leader predicting civil war if he loses election

April 19 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen issuing a stark warning if he lost the election. A loss at the polls, he claimed, would likely plunge Cambodia into civil war.

RFA Reports on Aung San Suu Kyi expressing sadness over Muslim plight

April 17 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi expressing sadness that some of Burma's Muslim leaders whom she recently met feel as if they do not belong to the country. In rare comments on sectarian violence at a news conference during her Japan visit, she said Buddhist-majority Burma must learn to accommodate divergent views and that the minority Muslim community must be made to feel secure.

RFA Reports on accusations of Cambodia doctoring map in border dispute

April 17 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Thailand accusing Cambodia of submitting doctored maps to the International Court of Justice, which is hearing a dispute between the two Southeast Asian neighbors over an ancient temple site along their shared border. Thai officials also asked the top U.N. court in The Hague not to make a ruling on the territorial boundaries surrounding the long-running feud over land around the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple.

RFA Reports on detention of Vietnamese rights activists over meeting with US official

April 16 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on Vietnamese government security agents bundling a local activist from his home and holding him for five hours to prevent him from meeting a U.S. official visiting Hanoi. Pham Hong Son, a Vietnamese physician and businessman, and human rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai were invited for talks with Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Dan Baer, but the two activists, who had spent time previously in prison, were barred from the meeting by the Vietnamese authorities.

RFA Reports on outpouring of sympathy from China over Boston bombings

April 16 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on the rapid sharing of social media from the Boston Marathon bombings by Chinese eyewitnesses. The online candor and lack of Internet controls in the wake of the tragedy surprised many Sina Weibo users.

RFA Reports on Tibetan mother self-immolating

April 16 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on a young Tibetan mother burning herself to death in Sichuan province to protest Chinese rule in Tibetan areas. Her death drew thousands of villagers and monks to her home and a monastery near which she self-immolated.

RFA Reports on targeting of Chinese women’s labor camp whistleblowers

April 15 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on police targeting women who blew the whistle on abuses and torture at a labor camp in northeastern China. Chinese authorities have begun probing reports of abuses of women inmates, many of them pregnant.

RFA Reports on China pollution crisis prompting protests

April 12 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on ordinary Chinese citizens becoming increasingly more involved in environmental protection and protest. Worsening levels of air and water pollution, as well as disputes over the effects of heavy metals from mining and industry, are among the leading reasons behind the wider public awareness and concern.

RFA Reports on release of Tibetan activist

April 12 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on authorities in northwest China’s Qinghai province releasing a Tibetan activist after he served five years of a six-year jail term for protesting against Beijing’s rule in Tibetan areas. The release follows the freeing in March of two other Tibetan activists, both of whom served 17-year terms and were let go in poor health after suffering ill-treatment and torture in prison.

RFA Reports on China pulling Tarantino film without explanation

April 11 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on Chinese authorities pulling Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" from movie theaters around the country just before the film went to general release. The move sparked calls for a transparent film classification system.

RFA Reports on detentions for Tibetans in demolition protest

April 11 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on Chinese security forces detaining 21 Tibetans following clashes with police over the forced demolition of recently rebuilt homes in an earthquake-hit region of northwest China’s Qinghai province. At least six Tibetans and four policemen were injured in the clashes after a protest by over 100 area residents angered by the demolition of Tibetan homes in the Yulshul Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.

RFA Reports on North Korean hackers targeting banks

April 11 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on hackers trained by North Korea’s military expanding their repertoire from cyberwarfare to financial fraud as part of a bid to skirt international sanctions. A source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told RFA’s Korean Service about the move to not only disrupt foreign banking network systems but also access money.

RFA Reports on detentions for Chinese netizens over bird flu tweets

April 10 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on authorities in China detaining at least 10 people for online posts about the new H7N9 strain of avian influenza. Netizens in Shaanxi, Guizhou, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, and Fujian were detained for posting "fake information" online regarding alleged new cases of the virus where they lived.

RFA Reports on North Korea urging foreigners to leave

April 9 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Korea urging all foreigners in South Korea to prepare for evacuation in anticipation of “thermonuclear war.” The statement was greeted largely with indifference by foreigners in the South, where offices remained open and traffic bustled as usual.

RFA Reports on arrest of Burmese monk aiding Rohingya

April 8 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on authorities in Burma arresting a monk who tried to smuggle eight Rohingya Muslims disguised in Buddhist robes to Rangoon from troubled Rakhine state. The eight Rohingyas as well as their driver were also being held by police in Aunn township—also in Rakhine—after they attempted to make their way in a van to Burma’s largest city dressed as Buddhist monks, a local police officer told RFA’s Burmese Service.

RFA Reports on warning for China over cyber attacks

April 5 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on a warning from a member of the U.S. Congress for China’s new leadership over cyber attacks and cyber espionage against U.S. targets. “Friends don't spy on one another, and most of the major companies in America have been hit with cyber attacks," Congressman Frank Wolf said in an interview with RFA's Mandarin Service. He added that computers in the Pentagon and his own office had suffered attacks linked to China.

RFA Reports on eight Vietnamese women being trapped in Russian brothel

April 4 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on eight of 15 Vietnamese women who fell prey to a trafficking ring in Russia remaining trapped in a Moscow brothel. Russian authorities are investigating the brothel where the 15 have been forced into sex slavery, but the traffickers have evaded police through tip-offs from officials at the Vietnamese embassy.

RFA Reports on questioning of Tibetan students over observance

April 4 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on authorities in China’s northwestern Gansu province questioning Tibetan students who commemorated the anniversary of a protest in the Tibetan capital Lhasa. The students were threatened with “serious consequences” if they did not identify the organizers of the event.

RFA Reports on Tibetan evictee setting herself on fire
April 4 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on a Tibetan woman setting herself on fire to protest the demolition of her home. Chinese authorities bulldozed around 1,000 houses rebuilt in an earthquake-hit region of China’s northwest Qinghai province.

RFA Reports on award for Cambodian land rights activist

April 3 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Cambodian land rights activist Tep Vanny receiving an international award for leading a battle against forced evictions. The housewife, who has been representing evicted residents from the Boeung Kak lake neighborhood in Phnom Penh which was razed to make way for a luxury residential development, was presented with the Leadership in Public Life Award by Vital Voices—a Washington-based organization that trains women leaders and social entrepreneurs.

RFA Reports on Burma officials declaring mosque fire an accident

April 2 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on officials claiming a fire at a mosque and religious school that killed more than a dozen Muslim children in Burma was an accident, not arson. Rangoon division Chief Minister Myint Swe told reporters that the fire at the two-story building in Bothahtaung township which left 13 children dead was sparked by an overheated transformer and had nothing to do with any “criminal activity.”

RFA Reports on Laos pursuing China loan for rail project

April 2 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on the ruling Communist Party in Laos removing obstacles to pursue a controversial U.S. $7.2 billion loan with China to finance a high-speed railway project linking the two countries. Observers are concerned that Laos would be unable to pay off the loan and ultimately become beholden to China’s interests.

RFA Reports on debut of four private dailies in Burma

April 1 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on the launch of four daily newspapers of 16 groups in Burma. This milestone marks the first time privately run daily newspapers hit the streets in nearly 50 years.

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