(Washington, DC — Sept. 1, 2015) Radio Free Asia broadcast the following stories, and more, in August:
RFA Reports on ongoing border dispute between Cambodia, Vietnam
Aug. 28 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on a Cambodian official accused of lying by an opposition lawmaker about a map he found in the U.S. Library of Congress. The accusation comes amid ongoing debate over the demarcation of Cambodia’s border with Vietnam.
RFA Reports on China jailing 45 over illegal border crossings
Aug. 28 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on authorities in China’s Xinjiang region jailing 45 alleged human traffickers who had helped people cross the border and illegally leave China. Many who leave China illegally, such as Uyghurs, say they are fleeing systematic persecution by the ruling Chinese Communist Party.
RFA Reports on Lao migrants testifying in Thai trafficking trial
Aug. 28 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on 13 migrant Lao workers who had been rescued by Thai police and military officers from a pig farm outside Bangkok where they were kept in slave-like conditions. They will be serving as witnesses in a human trafficking case against their former employer.
RFA Reports on restrictive campaign speech rules in Myanmar
Aug. 28 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on Myanmar election authorities warning political parties not to criticize the military or the army-drafted constitution during campaign speeches. Parties are given free air time for campaign speeches on state media, but draft speeches must first be vetted and may be rejected for improper content.
RFA Reports on purge of North Korean border guards
Aug. 28 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on as many as 40 North Korean border guards being arrested following an incident in which two guards crossed the border and killed two Chinese. It is believed the guards were trying to obtain food when they killed the two Chinese.
RFA Reports on 143rd Tibetan self-immolator
Aug. 28 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on a Tibetan woman self-immolating in protest against the demolition of her home. More than 150 Chinese police and government officials had raided and completely destroyed the woman’s house, which witnesses say motivated her to self-immolate.
RFA Reports on China’s failed policy of forcing Uyghur Muslims to sell alcohol
Aug. 28 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on a policy directive ordering ethnic Uyghur shopkeepers in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region to stock alcohol and cigarettes failing in its intended effect. Consumers have refused to buy the products and openly mock the government’s apparent bid to undermine local Islamic customs.
RFA Reports on Hong Kong police charging protest leader Joshua Wong
Aug. 27 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on Hong Kong police charging student leaders of the Occupy Central movement with public order offenses for their role in the protests. Protest leader Joshua Wong, 18, could face a jail term of up to five years.
RFA Reports on Uyghur university students closely watched for their political views
Aug. 27 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on ethnic Uyghur students in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region being closely checked for their political and religious views by student informers who report to “political guides” embedded in the university staff. “Student spies are hidden in every classroom, dormitory, and lecture hall,” a former university staff member said.
RFA Reports on fraudulent ‘ghost projects’ in Laos
Aug. 25 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on a scheme in Laos in which private companies cash government bonds for work they never performed. The so-called “ghost projects” involve senior government officials who state auditors say will never be brought to trial.
RFA Reports on Myanmar students urging legal action against police
Aug. 25 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on nearly 60 imprisoned students urging legal action against police who beat them during a peaceful protest over national education policy. The students were charged with unlawful assembly, rioting, and causing injury to government workers.
RFA Reports on shutdown of popular Tibetan literary website
Aug. 25 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on Chinese authorities shutting down a popular Tibetan cultural and literary website. “Butter Lamp,” one of the oldest Tibetan websites promoting Tibetan culture, also featured news and other resources in the Tibetan language.
RFA Reports on continuation of Myanmar nationwide cease-fire deliberations
Aug. 24 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on a delegation of armed ethnic groups meeting with President Thein Sein to discuss an “all-inclusive” nationwide cease-fire agreement. Ongoing tensions in the Kokang region have proved a challenge to Thein Sein’s goal of signing a cease-fire with the nation’s armed ethnic groups prior to Nov. 8 general elections.
RFA Reports on defiant Vietnamese blogger relaunching website
Aug. 24 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on a recently released prominent blogger and rights campaigner relaunching his website, vowing to continue his scrutiny of the country’s communist government. The man said he refused to be intimidated by the threat of prison in deciding to write and publicize his work.
RFA Reports on China indicting journalists, media companies for ‘extortion’
Aug. 21 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on Chinese authorities indicting more than 30 journalists and 15 companies on extortion charges. They are accused of extorting more than 100 million yuan (U.S. $15.6 million) from dozens of Chinese companies since November 2013.
RFA Reports on Myanmar general saying leader must ‘get along with the military’
Aug. 21 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on Myanmar Senior General Min Aung Hlaing telling RFA in an exclusive interview that the next president must be able to “get along with the military.” He also said that the next president should not have any foreign family members.
RFA Reports on North Korean ‘tailing squads’ hunting down defectors
Aug. 21 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Korea employing the use of ‘tailing squads’ to nab defectors inside China. The special squads are proficient in Chinese and disguise themselves as Chinese security agents.
RFA Reports on jailing of Cambodian environmental activists over sand dredging protest
Aug. 20 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on a Cambodian court keeping environmental activists in jail while they await trial. The activists face charges related to a protest against a company accused of illegal sand dredging.
RFA Reports on Chinese feminist lawyers barred from leaving country
Aug. 20 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on a top Chinese rights lawyer being barred from flying from China to the United States. The woman was one of the “feminist five,” a group of rights campaigners originally detained ahead of International Women’s Day and later released on bail.
RFA Reports on Lao forests devastated by illegal logging
Aug. 20 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on illegal logging destroying large swaths of forest in southern Laos. High-ranking officials colluded with businessmen to cut the timber, while local police told RFA they were helpless to stop the practice.
RFA Reports on North Korea canceling high-tech gifts for households
Aug. 20 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Korea reneging on a plan to provide every household with high-tech products. A lack of financial resources was cited by the regime as reason for the reversal.
RFA Reports on detentions of more than 15,000 in China for alleged cybercrimes
Aug. 19 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on China holding more than 15,000 for alleged cybercrimes, including hacking and fraud. Activists say the crackdown is linked to China’s ongoing war on online public opinion.
RFA Reports on Cambodia’s response to U.S. congressman’s comments on land grabs
Aug. 18 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Cambodia’s Ministry of Land Management rejecting comments made by U.S. Representative Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on land grabs. Royce asserted that Cambodian citizens “are still denied basic protections under the law.”
RFA Reports on jailing of Chinese dissident over retweet
Aug. 18 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on a Chinese dissident being jailed after he retweeted a social media post about the devastating warehouse explosions in Tianjin. The man had retweeted a post about the explosion’s death toll, which authorities said was inaccurate.
RFA Reports on Chinese police beating elderly Tibetan villagers
Aug. 18 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on Chinese security forces attacking and beating a group of elderly Tibetan villagers and women who were blocking construction of a dam. The group was taken to a secluded place and beaten, RFA’s source said.
RFA Reports on lack of press freedom in Laos marring media anniversary
Aug. 17 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on a Lao official saying reporters in Laos must cover the news in greater depth as the country marked the 65th anniversary of Media and Publication Day. But sources claim journalists are hamstrung by a lack of press freedom in the communist nation, with the public increasingly turning to social media for information.
RFA Reports on PM Hun Sen ordering arrest of opposition senator
Aug. 13 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen ordering the arrest of an opposition senator. Hun Sen accused him of treason and posting a “fake” international treaty related to the ongoing Cambodia-Vietnam border dispute on his Facebook page.
RFA Reports on denial of parole for Liu Xiaobo amid US-China rights dialogue
Aug. 13 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on the ruling Chinese Communist Party denying an application for parole by jailed Chinese Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo. The announcement came just as U.S. and Chinese officials geared up for an annual dialogue on human rights in Washington.
RFA Reports on ouster of Myanmar ruling party chairman
Aug. 13 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on USDP party chairman Shwe Mann being forced out of his position by President Thein Sein. The removal of Shwe Mann comes just months ahead of the November general elections.
RFA Reports on HIV/AIDS spreading among Uyghurs
Aug. 11 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on HIV/AIDS increasing among young Uyghur men in China’s far west due to an influx of infected prostitutes. A former senior government official said that thousands of Han-Chinese immigrants moved to the Uyghur region, providing cheap sex to young Uyghur farmers.
RFA Reports on trouble for Chinese TV host who mocked Mao
Aug. 10 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on Chinese state media officials saying a popular television host for China's state-run broadcaster CCTV should be "seriously punished" for a private joke at the expense of late supreme leader Mao Zedong that was leaked online. Bi Fujian was relieved of on-air duties at CCTV in April after a video of his ridiculing Mao went viral online.
RFA Reports on Chinese rights lawyer held for ‘subversion’
Aug. 7 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on a top rights lawyer being held under “residential surveillance” on suspicion of subversion. Wang Yu is being denied visits from her defense attorney amid an ongoing crackdown on legal professionals in China.
RFA Reports on Vietnamese authorities twice arresting son of evicted family
Aug. 7 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on Vietnamese authorities arresting a 15-year old Vietnamese boy for a second time. The boy had allegedly blocked and injured police who tried to evict his family from their home.
RFA Reports on misogyny charges against Cambodian president over comments
Aug. 6 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Cambodia’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs defending Prime Minister Hun Sen’s use of derogatory language in criticizing a female protester. In a statement posted on its Facebook account, the ministry said Hun Sen’s use of the terms nhee—a female animal—and mee srey—a phrase expressing contempt—was directed at a young woman who allegedly kicked a security guard during a protest last year.
RFA Reports on Chinese engineer jailed 12 years over Tiananmen hack
Aug. 6 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on a Chinese engineer hacking into a local cable TV network and posting an image of the iconic 1989 Tiananmen “Tank Man.” Wang Yibo broadcast slogans denouncing the ruling Communist Party to 465,000 customers and received a 12-year jail term for his efforts.
RFA Reports on special police stationed inside Chinese Internet companies
Aug. 5 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on the stationing of special police officers inside major Chinese Internet companies. The officers will be tasked with preempting “any situation in which illegal behavior or crime is suspected,” in a move that activists say will increase censorship on China’s Internet.
RFA Reports on Chinese Christians detained over cross demolitions
Aug. 5 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on a group of Chinese Christians being detained after they tried to prevent the demolition of their church’s cross by government-hired workers. The detention comes amid a broader campaign across China to remove Christian crosses from churches.
RFA Reports on Tibetans worrying over new mine in polluted valley
Aug. 5 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on Chinese road-building crews cutting a new track in the Gyama Valley near the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, leading locals to fear that a new mine may soon be built. The region is already heavily polluted by Chinese extraction operations.