RFA Reports (August 2013)


Washington, DC — Sept. 1, 2013) Radio Free Asia broadcast the following stories, and more, in August:

RFA Reports on warning for Tibetans over mine protests

Aug. 30 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on authorities in China’s Qinghai province warning Tibetans of “serious consequences” if they restart protests against Chinese mining operations. The warnings come after massive demonstrations were violently suppressed, leaving dozens injured.

RFA Reports on Aung San Suu Kyi cautioning media on social media rumors

Aug. 30 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi cautioning journalists on social media rumors, especially in regard to sectarian divisions. Ongoing violence among Buddhists and Muslims, which began last year in Rakhine state, continue to erupt throughout the country.

RFA Reports on fresh accusations in Lao activist’s disappearance

Aug. 29 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on European parliamentarians accusing the Lao government of lying to the international community about the disappearance of civil society activist Sombath Somphone. Lao authorities have not shown "adequate willingness or capacity to find a solution" to Sombath's case, according to the third European Parliament delegation that visited Laos within a week to look into the "enforced disappearance" of the 60-year-old.

RFA Reports on Cambodian protests amid vote-tampering suspicions

Aug. 28 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Cambodia’s main opposition party threatening to hold a week of daily demonstrations climaxing with a rally on Sept. 7. The warning of continued protests in the capital beginning on Aug. 30 by the Cambodia National Rescue Party came as election officials acknowledged the mishandling of sealed ballot records in a second province.

RFA Reports on sentencing of Tibetan singer

Aug. 28 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on a court in northwestern China’s Qinghai province sentencing a popular Tibetan singer to five years in prison. Shawo Tashi was charged for publicizing the actions of a self-immolation protester and for performing songs with banned political themes.

RFA Reports on Cambodian court acquitting two in reporter’s murder

Aug. 28 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on a Cambodian provincial court dropping charges against a military police officer and his wife accused of murdering a reporter investigating the country’s illegal timber trade. The ruling drew protests from the journalist’s wife and from human rights and environmental advocacy groups.

RFA Reports on Bo Xilai trial prompting petitioner, activist detentions

Aug. 27 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on the corruption trial of disgraced Chinese politician Bo Xilai sparking a wave of detentions of petitioners and rights activists. "According to our investigations ... several hundred people had their freedom curtailed during the trial of Bo Xilai," said Huang Qi, founder of the Sichuan-based rights group Tianwang, in an RFA interview.

RFA Reports on climbing death toll in Uyghur raid

Aug. 27 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on authorities in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region revising the death toll upwards from a recent raid. The number of Uyghurs killed during the operations reached 22, making this incident one of the biggest crackdowns on the ethnic minority Muslims since 2009.

RFA Reports on dismissal of Cambodian monk over attending rally

Aug. 27 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on the brief dismissal of a politically active Cambodian monk from his place of religious study after participating in an opposition rally over disputed national elections.

RFA Reports on concerns over police inaction in Myanmar violence

Aug. 26 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on residents and legislators in central Myanmar’s Sagaing region expressing anger over a lack of action by authorities in containing sectarian violence against Muslims in the region. Buddhist mobs went on a rampage burning Muslim shops and houses, leaving hundreds homeless.

RFA Reports on police detaining Chinese graft journalist

Aug. 23 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on Beijing police detaining a graft-busting journalist who reported on corruption among officials of the ruling Chinese Communist Party from his hometown of Chongqing. The Sina Weibo account of Liu Hu, the detained reporter with Guangzhou's Modern Express newspaper, was also suspended.

RFA Reports on proposed reconsideration of draconian Myanmar law

Aug. 21 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on Myanmar’s parliament discussing a proposal to amend a draconian law used by the previous military junta to jail activists. Talks have included the possibility of revamping provisions on offenses and penalties that could see jail terms for those found guilty slashed by about half.

RFA Reports on authorities limiting Chen Guangcheng’s brother’s Shanghai visit

Aug. 20 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on the brother of Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng being forcibly returned to the family's home village in the eastern province of Shandong after visiting Shanghai. His trip to Shanghai was to thank rights activists for their support.

RFA Reports on death sentence for Tibetan self-immolator’s spouse

Aug. 19 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on a court in China’s western Sichuan province sentencing a Tibetan man to death in connection with the self-immolation of his wife. Authorities have accused him of killing her and burning her body to cover up his crime in a conviction condemned by a rights group as a part of Beijing’s "smear campaign" against dissidents.

RFA Reports on new political party in Vietnam

Aug. 19 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on a veteran member of the ruling Communist Party of Vietnam spearheading efforts to form a new political party. The Social Democratic Party aims to establish multiparty rule and “build a true democracy,” its leaders said, vowing to confront the government despite the risk of arrest.

RFA Reports on rare reversal of Vietnamese student’s sentence

Aug. 16 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on an appeals court in Vietnam freeing a student activist serving a six-year jail term for alleged subversion. Few expected 21-year-old Nguyen Phuong Uyen, who was sentenced for distributing anti-government leaflets, to walk free from the hearing.

RFA Reports on Chinese court upholding sentence for Liu Xiaobo’s brother

Aug. 16 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on authorities in the Chinese capital rejecting an appeal against a jail term handed to the brother-in-law of jailed Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo. The 11-year sentence of Liu Hui for alleged fraud still stands, the court declared.

RFA Reports on criticism of military buildup in Phnom Penh after polls

Aug. 16 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Cambodian opposition leader Sam Rainsy slamming the government for deploying troops, tanks, and armored vehicles in the capital Phnom Penh. He said the move was aimed at intimidating the people following his call for mass protests if widespread election irregularities were not investigated.

RFA Reports on detentions of Uyghurs amid religious restrictions

Aug. 15 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on the forced disappearance of hundreds of ethnic minority Muslim Uyghurs since unrest in early August, suggesting a silent crackdown. The hundreds of Uyghurs missing in a small town in the Aksu prefecture were most likely detained after the deadly violence on Aug. 7, on the eve of the Eid al-Fitr marking the end of Islam's holy month of Ramadan.

RFA Reports on North Korean officers siphoning off infant formula

Aug. 14 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on military officers in North Korea pocketing and selling off supplies of South Korean-donated milk powder that was intended for babies. North Korean sources told RFA that the Pyongyang regime also gave the order for much of the baby formula to be distributed to undernourished soldiers instead of families with infants.

RFA Reports on Shanxi water concerns sparking protests, police raid

Aug. 14 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on authorities in the central Chinese province of Shanxi detaining an unknown number of villagers who protested the diversion of their drinking water supply following clashes. The detentions came after a police raid on Tiejiangpu village in Shanxi's Baode county sparked demonstrations by local people.

RFA Reports on 4-year-old Uyghur girl’s wounding sparking clashes with Chinese forces

Aug. 13 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on intensifying clashes between Chinese security forces and Muslim Uyghurs on the eve of the Eid al-Fitr festival. The incident might have been contained if Chinese troops had not opened fire at random, killing three and wounding about a dozen other civilians, including a four-year-old girl.

RFA Reports on Cambodia suspending U.S. military aid amid election crisis

Aug. 13 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Cambodia deciding to put off accepting military aid from the U.S. and several other countries until a new government is formed. Some called it a preemptive move in the event Western governments decide to cut assistance to Phnom Penh if the July 28 elections are found to be flawed following opposition claims of widespread poll irregularities.

RFA Reports on detention of forced-eviction reporter

Aug. 12 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on authorities in Sichuan detaining a reporter after he became involved in a forced-eviction dispute. Top Beijing-based rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang said forced evictions are an increasingly frequent issue for average Chinese people.

RFA Reports on foreign companies in Laos skirting regulations, taxes

Aug. 12 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on foreign companies in Laos bribing corrupt Lao officials to bring in additional fuel supply to sell on the local market. The mostly Vietnamese, Thai, and Chinese companies abuse tax exemptions, shortchanging the government of much-needed tax revenue.

RFA Reports on jailed Myanmar land grab activist’s hunger strike

Aug. 9 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on the hunger strike of a Myanmar activist held in Yangon’s Insein prison. Htin Kyaw was protesting his arrest over his role in an anti-land grabbing campaign.

RFA Reports on resignation of Hainan sex scandal reporter

Aug. 9 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on the sudden resignation of a Chinese journalist from the southern island province of Hainan who reported on the sexual abuse of schoolgirls there. In June, the authorities in Hainan's provincial capital, Haikou, indicted Chen Zaipeng on rape charges and removed him from his post as principal of the island's Wanning No. 2 Primary School.

RFA Reports on questions over death of jailed Uyghur teacher ­

Aug. 8 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on the mysterious death of a Uyghur teacher sentenced to life in prison for “anti-state” activities China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Friends and family have requested that authorities provide more information.

RFA Reports on call for unity in Myanmar on crackdown anniversary

Aug. 8 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on Myanmar’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi calling for sustained unity and a faster pace for democratic reforms in the country. She addressed thousands gathered in the former capital Yangon for the commemoration of a brutal 1988 military crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators.

RFA Reports on popularity of used PCs in North Korea

Aug. 6 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on the popularity among North Koreans of used desktop computers smuggled in from China. North Koreans are going to great lengths to acquire the secondhand computers—which are often cobbled together from discarded machines—running them on car batteries and hiding them from authorities in their homes.

RFA Reports on family of missing Uyghur losing hope

Aug. 6 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on the Uyghur family of a missing man giving up hope of finding him alive after four years of asking Chinese authorities for information. The family believes the construction worker who disappeared in the wake of ethnic riots in Xinjiang in 2009 may have been tortured to death or simply killed in jail.

RFA Reports on Tibetan’s self-immolation in Nepal

Aug. 6 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on a Tibetan monk burning himself to death in Nepal to protest against Beijing's rule in Tibetan-populated areas of China. The incident was the third Tibetan self-immolation in the small Himalayan nation.

RFA Reports on China extending North Korean border fence

Aug. 5 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on Chinese authorities in an area bordering northeastern North Korea installing miles of barbed-wire fencing along a stretch of river dividing the two countries. The barrier is sharply reducing the number of people escaping the isolated Stalinist state into China.

RFA Reports on North Korean comedian getting hard-labor sentence

Aug. 5 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on the sentencing to hard labor of a popular North Korean comedian who once performed for late dictator Kim Jong Il. Lee Choon Hong, who is known for satirizing aspects of North Korean society by mimicking voices, made the mistake on "sensitive issues" while performing for workers at a pastureland project in southeastern Kangwon province, said a resident of the North who spoke to RFA’s Korean Service.

RFA Reports on global criticism of Vietnam’s Internet restrictions
Aug. 2 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on a global media watchdog slamming Vietnam’s new rules that bar Internet users from sharing news stories on social media sites. Decree 72, which has ignited a storm of protest among Vietnam’s Internet users since it was made public, contains a clause stipulating that blogs and social media sites should only be used to share “personal information.”

RFA Reports on Tibetans’ detentions for not flying Chinese flag

Aug. 1 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on Chinese authorities in Tibet detaining three villagers for refusing to fly the Chinese national flag from their homes. Local officials continue to press a campaign forcing displays of loyalty to the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

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