(Washington, DC — Sept. 1, 2011) Radio Free Asia broadcast the following stories, and more, in August:
RFA Reports on labor camp sentencing of Chinese parent activist
Aug. 31 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on a Chinese court upholding the five-month sentencing of the father of a child sickened by a tainted tuberculosis vaccine. The Beijing Intermediate People’s Court refused to commute the five month “re-education through labor” sentence for parent activist Yang Yukui, who was tried and convicted after repeatedly campaigning for public acknowledgement his child’s situation.
RFA Reports on sentencing of Tibetan monks in self-immolation death
Aug. 30 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on the sentencing to jail of two Tibetan monks by a Chinese court over the recent self-immolation death of a fellow monk. The monks were convicted by a court in the southwestern province of Sichuan for “aiding and abetting” the March death of the Kirti monastery-based monk, who set himself ablaze to protest Chinese rule in Tibet.
RFA Reports on Chinese clampdown on bloggers to stop ‘rumors’
Aug. 29 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on authorities in Beijing calling on major Internet service providers to step up controls over online content, as some companies suspend the accounts of netizens accused of spreading “rumors.” Popular microblogging service Sina Weibo recently sent out notices to its 200 million users denying two reports posted by users, including one about the killing of a 19-year-old woman.
RFA Reports on proposals to legalize secret detentions in China
RFA Reports on suspicions over deadly food poisoning of Uyghurs
Aug. 25 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on doctors in northwestern China accusing authorities of withholding information about a food contamination case that led to the deaths of a dozen people and sickened some 120 others. The food contamination, which affected mostly ethnic Uyghur residents of a village outside of the city of Hotan in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on Aug. 20, was linked to vinegar served at a large communal meal to break the traditional daily fasting Muslims observe during the holy month of Ramadan.
RFA Reports on deportations of Uyghurs from Malaysia
Aug. 23 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on Malaysia repatriating about a dozen Uyghurs to China. The move has drawn widespread condemnation from international rights groups who say they are likely to face persecution upon their return.
RFA Reports on landmark talks between Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese president
Aug. 22 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on Burma’s democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi and President Thein Sein reaching “some political agreements” during recent landmark talks. Nyan Win, a spokesman for Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) party, told RFA the two leaders discussed "a lot" of ethnic and political issues, as well as issues that were aimed at bringing about peace following decades of war between armed ethnic groups and the government.
RFA Reports on Vietnamese court upholding activists’ sentences
Aug. 18 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on Vietnam upholding the jail sentences of two land activists and reducing the sentences of two others following an appeal. Human rights groups however said all should be freed and condemned the government for “criminalizing” freedom of speech.
RFA Reports on Cambodia’s ‘Avatars’ staging environmental protest
Aug. 18 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on villagers wearing blue and green face paint and calling themselves Cambodia’s “Avatars” staging protests against the destruction of forest land in the country. The protesters, joined by monks and environmental activists, wore dress and make-up inspired by the blockbuster film “Avatar,” which depicts the destruction of a forest on an alien world and its inhabitants’ bloody fight to protect their home from miners.
RFA Reports on Cambodian government making offer in land dispute
Aug. 16 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on the Cambodian government granting land to citizens facing eviction in Phnom Penh a week after the World Bank threatened to stop all loans to the country over the issue. In doing so, the government will set aside 31 acres of land for nearly 800 families at a controversial development site in the nation’s capital.
RFA Reports on checkpoints encircling Urumqi
Aug. 16 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on authorities in the troubled northwestern region of Xinjiang announcing a fresh “strike hard” campaign targeting “terrorism” and “Islamic extremism” following a wave of violent attacks. Security forces planned to set up a total of 39 checkpoints encircling the regional capital Urumqi, where nearly 200 people died in ethnic clashes between Muslim Uyghurs and Han Chinese in 2009, according to a statement on the Xinjiang government website.
RFA Reports on massive protests at Chinese chemical plant
Aug. 15 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on Chinese authorities in the northeastern port city of Dalian promising to close down a petrochemical plant following mass protests by residents fearing plant safety. In conjunction, Beijing has moved to delete references to the incident from social media sites. The pledge came from municipal Party secretary Tang Jun and mayor Li Wancai after thousands of residents took to the streets to call for the relocation of the Fujia Chemical Plant, which makes paraxylene, a toxic and carcinogenic substance.
RFA Reports on Tibetan monk setting himself ablaze in protest of Chinese rule
Aug. 15 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on the self-immolation death of a young Tibetan Buddhist monk in protest of Beijing’s rule in Tibetan-populated regions of China. The deceased monk set himself ablaze in Sichuan province’s Kardze prefecture. Kardze has been the scene of a recent round of Tibetan protests, both by individuals and by small groups, despite the threat of detentions and beatings by Chinese police.
RFA Reports on Aung San Suu Kyi’s political tour
Aug. 14 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on Burma’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi greeting crowds of cheering supporters and calling for national unity as she embarked on her first political trip outside her home city of Rangoon since her release from house arrest 10 months ago. Though the 66-year-old Nobel laureate made a private pilgrimage to the temple city of Bagan last month, this trip, billed by her National League for Democracy (NLD) party as a political tour, tested the limits of her freedom.
RFA Reports on support within Tibet for new exile leader
Aug. 11 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on a group of Tibetans meeting secretly outside the Tibetan capital Lhasa to voice support for the new Tibetan exile prime minister Lobsang Sangay. The group – including students, monks, farmers, nomads, and children from all regions of Tibet – recorded statements of congratulations, along with the sounds of cheering and applause, and sent the recording by telephone on Aug. 8 to an RFA Tibetan-language call-in show.
RFA Reports on concerns in Burma over Irrawaddy dam
Aug. 11 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on environmental concerns over a Chinese dam project being built on Burma’s Irrawaddy River. An environmental impact assessment report has generated concerns, particularly with regard to the safety aspect of the Myitsone Hydroelectric Project, a joint Burmese-Chinese venture involving eight dams.
RFA Reports on North, South Korea exchanging fire
Aug. 10 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on the two Koreas trading artillery fire in renewed tensions between the neighbors. The incident comes as the countries recently resumed high-level contact for the first time in more than two years. The South Korean military said nuclear-armed North Korea twice fired shells along their tense border, drawing warning shots from the South's marines in response.
RFA Reports on sentencing of blogger in Vietnam
Aug. 10 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on authorities in Vietnam sentencing a French-Vietnamese professor and blogger to three years in prison for “undermining national security” through his writings. The Ho Chi Minh People’s Court ruled that 56-year-old Pham Minh Hoang, a mathematician of dual nationality, had “blackened the image of the country” by writing articles which criticized the Vietnamese government’s handling of a number of national issues.
RFA Reports on artist Ai Weiwei describing harsh conditions in custody
Aug. 9 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on prominent Chinese artist and social critic Ai Weiwei firing his first salvo against the government since his release from detention in June. Risking being put back into custody, he used Twitter to criticize the treatment of his colleagues and fellow dissidents in custody who had suffered “great mental abuse and physical torture.”
RFA Reports on detention of Tibetan mining protesters
Aug. 5 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on Chinese authorities taking into custody two men identified as the “ringleaders” of Tibetan protests against mining in China’s Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). The detentions follow a wave of roundups of other protesters who have sought to block mine operations in the TAR’s Chamdo prefecture during the last three months.
RFA Reports on arrest of Dalai Lama’s envoy in Nepal
Aug. 5 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on authorities in Nepal arresting the Dalai Lama’s new representative in the Himalayan country after he held a news conference calling for protection of Tibetan refugee rights. The arrest came amid persistent pressure from Beijing urging the Nepalese government to stop “anti-China activities” by Tibetan refugees.
RFA Reports on lifting of China dog ban after online campaign
Aug. 5 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on officials reversing a controversial ban on pet dogs in a southeastern Chinese city following a backlash from netizens. The ban would have resulted in the culling or removal to rural areas of thousands of dogs in the Pengjiang, Jianghai and Xinhui districts of Guangdong province’s Jiangmen city.
RFA Reports on trafficked Lao women awaiting captors’ trial
Aug. 3 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on nearly 60 Lao women in southern Thailand waiting to testify against their alleged captors who lured them across the border to work as prostitutes. The case highlights an alarming trend in which a growing number of Lao women have been trafficked for sex to Thailand and other destination countries around Southeast Asia.
RFA Reports on North Korean photo fraud
Aug. 1 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on the distribution of an altered photo by North Korea’s official media possibly being part of a government attempt to defraud international insurance companies. The photo, which shows seven people wading along a submerged road near the Daedong River in the capital Pyongyang, was provided by the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) to the Associated Press as part of a recently signed licensing deal.