RFA Reports (April 2009)

(Washington, DC—May 1, 2009) Radio Free Asia broadcast the following stories, and more, in April:

RFA Reports on Henan workers blocking major highway

April 30 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English] on hundreds of workers, including former soldiers, bringing highway traffic to standstill. This occurred after protestor staged a sit-in outside the factory gates to demand compensation and benefits they say they were owed after being laid off.

RFA Reports on N. Korean response on detained journalists

April 29 – RFA Korean aired story on [text in English] North Korean authorities saying they are allowing consular access to two detained U.S. journalists and the women will be dealt with according to international law, a U.N. human rights official in North Korea said.

RFA Reports on N. Korean women sold in China

April 29 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English] on border-crossing North Korean women falling victim to human traffickers. The women are then sold as brides to Chinese men, a human rights group charged.

RFA Reports on Malaysia opening probe on abuse claims
April 24 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English] on Malaysia’s prime minister saying his government will investigate a report by a U.S. Senate panel claiming thousands of Burmese migrants have been handed over to human traffickers. The migrants are reportedly then sent to work in the Thai sex industry.

RFA Reports on large police presence in Beijing as petitioners gather

April 22 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English] on authorities in Beijing tightening security and increasing police presence in the capital in anticipation of petitioners gathering to voice grievances with the Chinese government.

RFA Reports on Vietnamese newspaper editor seeking hearing on ban

April 17 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English] on a newspaper editor calling for a public discussion as to why the publication was banned for three months. Government authorities closed the paper after it published articles related to a dispute between Vietnam and China over the Spratly and Paracel Islands.

RFA Reports on sentencing of Uyghur man over allegations of separatism talk

April 15 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English] on a court in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region sentencing a man to 10 years in jail for sharing information about a local protest with friends abroad. The friends then passed on the information to Radio Free Asia, according to the man’s mother.

RFA Reports on reformists death anniversary sparking memories

April 15 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English] on Beijing authorities avoiding mention of the 20th anniversary of the death of China’s reformist Communist Party chief Hu Yaobang for fear of sparking similar protests as in 1989.

RFA Reports on North Korea quitting disarmament talks

April 14 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English] on North Korea ordering U.N. inspectors to leave the country, following statements that the country would drop out of international nuclear disarmament talks and restart operations at a plant that processes bomb-grade plutonium.

RFA Reports on China vowing to improve human rights

April 13 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English] on China’s cabinet pledging to improve human rights protections for its citizens. This would include hiring public supervisors to oversee the country’s prison and detention system, televising trials and improving public access for reporters.

RFA Reports on first witness testifying at Khmer Rouge trial

April 9 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English] on the first witness taking the stand at the U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal on Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge. A French scholar, Francois Bizot, one of the few survivors of detention under the Khmer Rouge, testified in the trial of the regime’s chief jailer and torturer, Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch.

RFA Reports on call for Chinese cyber-spy probe
April 8 – RFA Mandarin and Tibetan aired story [text in English] on a call for the Chinese government to open an investigation into cyber-espionage on the mainland. The request is being made by a Canadian researcher who recently helped to expose far-reaching cyber-spy operations originated from China.

RFA Reports on melting of Tibetan glaciers

April 7 – RFA aired story [text in English] on reports of glaciers across the Tibetan plateau melting “at an accelerated rate.” This has raised concerns for harvests and river-flows in China and India, according to environmental experts.

RFA Reports on allegations of Burmese snack being tainted

April 4 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English] on claims by the Burmese military junta that a popular tea snack has been tainted. This has prompted a public outcry for independent laboratories to prevent future food safety scares.

RFA Reports on health warnings of disease spreading in China

April 4 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English] on a Chinese health expert suggesting that hand, foot, and mouth disease could spread further in China, despite assurances from the government that measures are in place to contain the disease.

RFA Reports on Laos rejecting criticism of Hmong repatriation

April 2 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English] on denials of force being used in the repatriation of ethnic minority Hmong who have sought asylum in Thailand. A Lao official involved also rejected allegations that some Hmong have faced arbitrary detention and mistreatment upon their return.

RFA Reports on Uyghurs penalized for cross-village worship

April 2 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English] on local authorities in China’s northwest Xinjiang region detaining and fining members of the mostly Muslim Uyghur minority for conducting prayers outside their home villages, according to residents and officials.

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