(Washington, DC — January 1, 2009) Radio Free Asia broadcast the following stories, and more, in December:
RFA Reports on Hmong forced back to Laos
Dec. 28 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on members of the Thai military emptying an ethnic minority Hmong refugee camp in northern Thailand and forcibly repatriating them to Laos, despite protests from U.N. refugee officials, international rights groups, and the United States. International observers fear the thousands of deported Hmong may face persecution and imprisonment back in their homeland.
RFA Reports on Korean-American who entered N. Korea
Dec. 26 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on the Korean-American missionary who entered North Korea on Christmas Day with a letter to leader Kim Jong Il calling for political change in the Stalinist state.
RFA Reports on more Uyghur death sentences
Dec. 25 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on a Chinese court handing down death sentences to another five people for their alleged roles in deadly ethnic rioting in Urumqi, capital of the far western Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
RFA Reports on sentencing of Chinese activist
Dec. 25 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on Beijing authorities handing an 11-year jail term to prominent pro-democracy activist Liu Xiaobo for “incitement to subversion of state power.” Liu helped draft and organize the signing of Charter 08, a document calling for sweeping political change in China.
RFA Reports on netizens’ concerns over new Web rules
Dec. 24 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on the negative reaction among Chinese netizens to recently proposed Internet controls. The rules, many Web users allege, will concentrate more control of the Internet in the hands of government-approved companies and agencies.
RFA Reports on deported Uyghur having Cambodian visa
Dec. 23 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on one of the 20 ethnic Uyghur asylum-seekers deported from Cambodia to China having entered the country legally and on the advice of U.N. refugee officials.
RFA Reports on Cambodia returning Uyghur asylum-seekers to China
Dec. 19 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer/Uyghur] on Cambodian authorities returning to China a group of ethnic Uyghurs who had sought asylum there. This occurred despite international concerns that the Uyghurs could face torture and execution for allegedly taking part in deadly ethnic riots in China in 2009.
RFA Reports on standoff in Vietnam with monk’s followers
Dec. 17 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on an international rights group calling on the European Union (EU) and other donors to step up pressure on Vietnam after a standoff between government supporters and followers of a top Zen Buddhist. Some 400 disciples of Thich Nhat Hanh, who has helped to popularize Buddhism in the West, were evicted from the Bat Nha monastery in Lam Dong province in September. Nearly 200 then took refuge at the nearby Phuoc Hue pagoda, but were ordered to leave.
RFA Reports on Suu Kyi’s request to meet with policymakers
Dec. 16 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on Burma’s most prominent opposition group hoping the ruling military junta will grant a request by party leader Aung San Suu Kyi to meet with her policymakers despite her house arrest.
RFA Reports on China blocking news Web site
Dec. 15 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on China blocking the Web site of an influential Singapore news organization for unknown reasons. Lianhe Zaobao, or The United Morning News, is a Chinese-language newspaper whose Web site, zaobao.com, could previously be accessed in China without using any firewall-scaling software.
RFA Reports on call for Uyghurs’ release
Dec. 15 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on an exiled Uyghur Web editor calling for the release of dozens of his colleagues. Dilmurat Parhat, co-founder of the Uyghur-run Web site Diyarim, says the individuals were detained by Chinese authorities in the wake of deadly ethnic violence in the Xinjiang regional capital, Urumqi, last July.
RFA Reports on demotion of Obama interviewer
Dec. 14 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on authorities in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou demoting the editor-in-chief of a cutting-edge newspaper shortly after he interviewed visiting U.S. President Barack Obama. Xiang Xi, who was shown in photographs of the interview seated in an armchair opposite Obama in the Nov. 19 edition of the newspaper, was renamed “executive” editor-in-chief of Southern Weekend last week, with another editor brought in to fill his former slot.
RFA Reports on Tibetans demanding release of jailed monk
Dec. 10 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on Chinese security forces threatening thousands of Tibetan protesters gathered on a road in southwestern Sichuan province. The Tibetans had sought to join protests in the Tibetan Autonomous Region calling for the release of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a popular Tibetan community leader serving a life sentence for his alleged role in a series of bombings.
RFA Reports on activist refused lawyer visit
Dec. 8 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on Chinese authorities refusing legal counsel to a detained spokesman for victims in last year’s tainted-milk scandal. Zhao Lianhai, the organizer of the victims’ group Coalition of Families of Children with Kidney Stones, recently was detained by police for “provocative conduct” in the Daxing district of China’s capital, Beijing.
RFA Reports on China’s left-behind children
Dec. 8 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on millions of Chinese children being left behind in poorer regions of China as their parents find work elsewhere. These neglected children are often vulnerable to mental health problems, sexual abuse, and poor grades in school, according to a new study.
RFA Reports on activists marking Human Rights Day
Dec. 8 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on authorities in the southwestern Chinese province of Guizhou detaining an activist who applied to hold a symposium on World Human Rights Day, one year after Chinese democracy activists signed a charter calling for political reform.
RFA Reports on N. Korea’s currency hike
Dec. 4 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Korea drastically hiking the value of its currency. The sudden redenomination will likely affect the country’s growing merchant class, many of whom have made their money through black market activities.
RFA Reports on Uyghurs seeking asylum in Cambodia
Dec. 3 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on China tightening its southeastern border after several groups of ethnic Uyghurs bribed their way into Vietnam and then Cambodia. The Uyghurs were seeking to avoid possible detention for allegedly taking part in deadly ethnic riots in July.
RFA Reports on HIV/AIDS bias in Vietnam
Dec. 1 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on a World Health Organization representative calling for Vietnamese caregivers to stop discriminating against HIV/AIDS patients and to treat mothers who can transmit the virus to their children.
RFA Reports on Asia’s growing AIDS risk
Dec. 1 – RFA Mandarin and Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Vietnamese] on rising AIDS risks among certain groups in East Asia, a region where access to treatment is still below the world average.