(Washington, DC — Jan. 1, 2014) Radio Free Asia broadcast the following stories, and more, in December:
RFA Reports on North Korean television ending broadcast of Russian, Chinese films
Dec. 30 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Korea’s state television station stopping the broadcast of Chinese and Russian films. The move is part of an attempt to protect the already reclusive country from foreign influences.
RFA Reports on jailing of Chinese filmmaker over constitution documentary
Dec. 30 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on a court in the Chinese capital handing down a 12-month jail term to a documentary filmmaker after he made a film about constitutional government. Shen Yongping was sentenced to one year's imprisonment for "running an illegal business" by Beijing's Chaoyang District People's Court after the country's powerful media censors declared his film "an illegal publication."
RFA Reports on Hong Kong police deploying en masse ahead of New Year celebrations
Dec. 30 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on Hong Kong authorities mobilizing thousands of police ahead of New Year celebrations in a bid to stave off a new phase of the Occupy Central pro-democracy movement.
RFA Reports on mass HIV infection in Cambodia
Dec. 29 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on a parliamentary commission summoning Cambodia’s health minister for questioning over an apparent mass HIV infection in Battambang province. The number of villagers who tested positive for the virus has exceeded 190.
RFA Reports on the arrest of prominent Vietnamese blogger
Dec. 28 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on Vietnamese authorities arresting a prominent blogger who published articles critical of the government. The arrest is the latest incident in the one-party communist state’s ongoing crackdown on online dissent.
RFA Reports on China recruiting ‘Internet monitor’ informants
Dec. 26 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on Chinese authorities launching a new recruitment drive for human censors to help maintain the"Great Firewall," which controls what most people can see online.
RFA Reports on Laos’ plans to break ground on Don Sahong dam
Dec. 24 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on the plan to begin construction of the much-criticized Don Sahong Dam in January despite a host of concerns raised during an open consultation period with stakeholders.
RFA Reports on Chinese authorities killing a Uyghur ‘extremist’ and detaining 21
Dec. 24 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on police in southwest China’s Guangxi province killing one person and detaining 21 others who were part of a group of “religious extremists” seeking to cross into neighboring Vietnam. Chinese authorities frequently blame religious extremism for violence involving ethnic Uyghur Muslims from China’s northwestern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
RFA Reports on death of 3-year-old Uyghur boy in Thai detention
Dec. 24 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on a 3-year-old Uyghur boy dying while being held at a government shelter in southern Thailand. He died from health complications due to unhygienic conditions at the cramped facility, some nine months after the group fled northwestern China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
RFA Reports on self-immolating Tibetan monk
Dec. 23 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on a Tibetan monk setting himself on fire in Sichuan province in the second self-immolation protest in the period of a week against Beijing’s rule in Tibetan-populated areas of China.
RFA Reports on Tibetan woman dying in burning protest
Dec. 22 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on a Tibetan woman self-immolating in Sichuan province in protest against Beijing’s rule in Tibetan-populated areas of China. Chinese authorities have tightened controls in a bid to check self-immolation protests, arresting and jailing Tibetans linked to the burnings.
RFA Reports on Myanmar police shooting woman during clash over mine
Dec. 22 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on riot police killing one protestor and injuring at least 10 during a clash near the site of a controversial Chinese-backed copper mine project in northwestern Myanmar. Protesters tried to prevent their land from being fenced off by the mine’s operator.
RFA Reports on ethnic Montagnards fleeing persecution in Vietnam
Dec. 20 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on 13 ethnic minority Montagnards emerging from the jungles of Cambodia. They hid in the jungles for more than seven weeks after entering the country from Vietnam to flee alleged persecution.
RFA Reports on Chinese authorities tearing down crosses before Christmas
Dec. 19 – RFA Cantonese aired story [text in English/Cantonese] on authorities in the central Chinese province of Henan demolishing the cross of a major Protestant church ahead of its Christmas celebrations. The crackdown was part of the government’s campaign to limit the more visible manifestations of China’s large Christian population.
RFA Reports on Myanmar activist charged with defamation following arrest
Dec. 19 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on Myanmar authorities arresting an activist who assisted protesters demanding the return of land they say was unlawfully confiscated by the country’s former military regime. Authorities charged him with “defamation of the state.”
RFA Reports on Tibetan youth killed by police during election clash
Dec. 19 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on a young Tibetan who was beaten to death by police during a clash in northwestern China’s Qinghai province. The incident occurred after county officials ordered villagers to vote for a government-backed candidate for local office instead of the candidate they preferred.
RFA Reports on Mongolian dissident calling for help to flee China
Dec. 17 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on veteran ethnic Mongolian dissident Hada calling on the international community to help him and his family leave China. Hada is being held under "residential surveillance" after his release from extrajudicial detention.
RFA Reports on North Korean refugee assaulted by suspected government agents in Denmark
Dec. 17 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on suspected North Korean government agents assaulting an expatriate North Korean living in a refugee center in Denmark. Bae Jun Sik was choked with a plastic string in what was the latest in a series of attacks on defectors and refugees.
RFA Reports on Uyghur land and property seizures
Dec. 17 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on ethnic minority Uyghurs risking loss of their farmland and personal belongings if they do not respond to calls to appear before the police. In Hotan county, any Uyghur on the police suspect list who fails to present himself or herself to authorities will have their name “erased from township household registers.”
RFA Reports on Tibetan self-immolation in front of police station
Dec. 16 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on a Tibetan man setting himself on fire and dying in Gansu province in the first self-immolation protest in three months against Beijing’s rule in Tibetan-populated areas in China. Sangye Khar, 33, set himself on fire in front of a police station in the Kanlho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.
RFA Reports on China jailing more journalists than any other country in 2014
Dec. 16 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on China’s heavily restricted press environment in 2014, a year in which Chinese authorities jailed more journalists than any other country. China imprisoned 29 journalists and 73 netizens.
RFA Reports on North Korea shutting down telecom towers
Dec. 16 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Korean authorities shutting down telecommunication towers in the country’s northern border areas and using equipment that can locate cell phone signals in a bid to flush out users of illegal mobile phones brought in from China.
RFA Reports on Hong Kong protesters’ vow to continue pro-democracy movement
Dec. 15 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on Hong Kong protesters pledging that their fight for democracy will continue, even as police cleared away the last of their encampments. The pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong known as the “Umbrella Movement” lasted 78 days.
RFA Reports on upholding of jailed Vietnamese bloggers’ sentences
Dec. 12 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on a Vietnamese court rejecting the appeals of three jailed bloggers. The trio were convicted in August and sentenced to up to three years in jail on charges believed to be politically motivated.
RFA Reports on Chinese dissident’s daughters being granted political asylum in the U.S.
Dec. 11 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on the daughters of a veteran Chinese dissident being granted political asylum in the United States. The dissident was jailed in September after he protested his youngest child's ban from schools in the eastern province of Anhui.
RFA Reports on the detention of hundreds in Beijing on Human Rights Day
Dec. 11 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on the detention of hundreds of activists in Beijing after they gathered outside U.N. offices and other major buildings in Beijing, calling on the ruling Chinese Communist Party to uphold human rights.
RFA Reports on Aung San Suu Kyi speaking of moves to scuttle talks on constitutional reforms
Dec. 10 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s regret over attempts by some groups to scuttle talks among the country’s leaders on constitutional reforms. Aung San Suu Kyi made the statement after the Yangon regional parliament approved a motion calling for 12-way talks on constitutional amendments – a move she says is intended to thwart efforts to hold meaningful discussions on amending the constitution.
RFA Reports on religious extremism law imposing new restrictions on China’s Uyghurs
Dec. 10 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on Chinese authorities introducing a new law effective January that they say is meant to combat religious extremism in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
RFA Reports on jailing of sentenced Uyghur dissident’s students
Dec. 10 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on China's sentencing of seven students of jailed Uyghur dissident and former economics professor Ilham Tohti on separatism charges. If convicted, the students could face jail terms of between three and eight years.
RFA Reports on Cambodians calling for international pressure to free jailed activists
Dec. 9 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on supporters of 18 jailed Cambodian opposition party members, activist monks, and land rights campaigners calling on foreign embassies to pressure the government for their release. Family members of the 18 marched to the embassies of the United States and other nations to petition for intervention in their cases.
RFA Reports on North Korea blocking the sale of ‘unpatriotic’ foreign cigarettes
Dec. 9 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Korean authorities blocking the sale of foreign-made cigarettes in the dictatorship. The ban follows a declaration from the country’s leader that smoking imported tobacco products is “unpatriotic.”
RFA Reports on nullification of Chinese village land activist’s election victory
Dec. 9 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on authorities in the eastern Chinese province of Shandong nullifying a winning result in the election for local village leaders, accusing a popular local leader and activist of stirring up unrest. Zhang Yuxi polled the highest number of votes, but his win will not be recognized. Zhang said his activism in a local land dispute was likely behind the move.
RFA Reports on loopholes in China’s organ harvesting ban
Dec. 7 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on China's claim that it will end the practice of using transplant organs harvested from executed prisoners. China has repeatedly pledged to end the controversial practice, but skeptics believe the sheer demand for transplant organs makes the latest announcement mostly cosmetic.
RFA Reports on torture and death of a Tibetan political prisoner
Dec. 7 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on a Tibetan activist who died after suspected beating and torture by Chinese authorities. Tenzin Choedak died less than six years into his 15-year jail term and just two days after he was released in an extremely weak condition to his family.
RFA Reports on jailing of Tibetan musician
Dec. 7 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on a Tibetan musician being sentenced to jail for more than two years for producing patriotic Tibetan songs that have been banned by the Chinese authorities amid a crackdown by Beijing on Tibetan cultural figures.
RFA Reports on a Myanmar Army officer jailed for endorsing constitutional reform
Dec. 5 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on a Myanmar military officer who was jailed for two years for signing an opposition-led petition calling for amendments to the country’s military-drafted constitution in what is believed to be the first case of its kind since the country began embracing reforms more than three years ago.
RFA Reports on Myanmar president approving religion and family planning law
Dec. 3 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on Myanmar President Thein Sein approving a controversial religion and family planning draft law. Thein Sein submitted the legislation to parliament amid renewed criticism from rights advocates who say it unfairly targets and discriminates against Muslims and women.
RFA Reports on Myanmar pledging free treatment to half of HIV/AIDS patients by 2016
Dec. 3 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on Myanmar pledging to provide free treatment to around half of the country’s patients affected by HIV and AIDS by 2016. Civil society groups called on the government to increase efforts to meet upcoming global eradication targets on World AIDS Day.
RFA Reports on election reform dispute in Cambodia
Dec. 1 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Cambodia’s ruling and opposition parties completing a draft law on electoral reform. But officials say they remain at odds on how to establish a secretariat to manage the country’s national election body.
RFA Reports on Chinese authorities holding an HIV activist under house arrest
Dec. 1 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on authorities in the central Chinese province of Henan clamping down on public activities by AIDS activists in the provincial capital Zhengzhou to mark World AIDS Day. A key participant was held under house arrest.
RFA Reports on arrest of Vietnamese police arresting prominent anti-China blogger
Dec. 1 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on Vietnamese authorities arresting a prominent anti-China blogger. Hong Le Tho’s arrest came a month after Vietnamese authorities decided to press charges against prominent blogger Nguyen Huu Vinh, also known as Anh Ba Sam, and his assistant, Nguyen Thi Minh Thuy, after detaining them for publishing anti-government essays.