(Washington, DC — Jan. 1, 2011) Radio Free Asia broadcast the following stories, and more, in December:
RFA Reports on sentencing of Tibetan writers
Dec. 31 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on three Tibetan writers detained earlier this year by Chinese authorities have been handed jail terms of three to four years for "inciting activities to split the nation," according to sources in the region. The three writers—Jangtse Donkho, Buddha, and Kalsang Jinpa—were tried on Oct. 28 by the Aba [in Tibetan, Ngaba] Intermediate People's Court, but the sentences were not handed down until Thursday.
RFA Reports on increase of Chinese censorship in 2010
Dec. 30 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on Chinese press freedoms coming under greater attack last year amid increased government censorship and attacks on individual journalists. In perhaps the most notable case of media control during the year, Chinese authorities blocked all news inside China of the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo.
RFA Reports on ‘Great Firewall’ extending reach
Dec. 29 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on Chinese government controls over the Internet likely intensifying with the closure of a high-profile literary magazine run by a popular blogger, netizens warn. Concerns also are mounting over suspicions that more controls on overseas sites, including Google, are quietly being put into place.
RFA Reports on high-level defections in North Korea
Dec. 27 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on three high-level officials from North Korea defecting to the South in what some observers see as eroding confidence among the elite in leader Kim Jong Il's regime. The defections were reported by the South Korean media and RFA sources, but the names of the officials who hold relatively influential positions in the administration were not made public because of concerns for their safety.
RFA Reports on surprise resignation of Lao prime minister
Dec. 23 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on Laos’ sudden announcement of Prime Minister Bouasone Bouphavanh’s resignation. The notice of Bouphavanh stepping down comes amid speculations of a leadership split between pro-China and pro-Vietnam camps within the country’s dominant communist party.
RFA Reports on three sentenced Tibetan monks missing
Dec. 22 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on three high-ranking Tibetan Buddhist monks remaining unaccounted for since their sentencing by Chinese authorities earlier this year. The three men, affiliated with Drepung monastery located outside Lhasa in the Tibet Autonomous Region, were detained in April 2008 following a peaceful protest march by Drepung monks on March 10.
RFA Reports on Xinjiang journalist severely beaten
Dec. 21 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on authorities in China’s troubled northwestern region of Xinjiang holding six men in connection with the beating of an investigative journalist. The reporter had recently reported on forced evictions in Kuytun city. Sun, a star reporter with Kuytun’s Northern Xinjiang Morning News, was pronounced “brain-dead” at a hospital in the city after the attack.
RFA Reports on concerns for Burma political prisoners
Dec. 21 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on Burmese democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi highlighting problems faced by the remaining 2,200 jailed activists and politicians to the International Committee of the Red Cross. Political detainees in Burma have not received visits by ICRC staff aimed at monitoring their treatment and living conditions since December 2005 after the ruling military junta disallowed the organization from carrying out duties “in accordance with its standard working procedures.”
RFA Reports on inspections may go forward in North Korea
Dec. 21 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on South Korea pressing ahead with a live-fire military exercise. North Korea however has said it would not retaliate and, instead, agreed to allow U.N. nuclear inspectors to return in a surprise move.
RFA Reports on Cambodian development project spurs controversy
Dec. 20 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on claims by a Cambodian ruling party lawmaker that his investment in a development project in southern Cambodia will bring new wealth to the area’s rural residents. However, critics say the project lacks transparency and will lead to the loss of public land.
RFA Reports on Uyghurs deported from Laos
Dec. 15 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on Laos deporting seven Muslim Uyghurs who fled China following ethnic riots last year. The move raises concerns over their plight after returning home to Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region, where they may face persecution.
RFA Reports on Uyghur scholar and family held for questioning
Dec. 15 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on Chinese authorities holding in custody and questioning an outspoken ethnic Uyghur scholar, his wife, and his two young sons for about a week before being released. Ilham Tohti, a prominent economist at Beijing's Central Nationalities University, told RFA following his release that while authorities had detained him before, they have never held his family, which includes a 9-month-old infant.
RFA Reports on China activists slamming Nobel crackdown
Dec. 13 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on life for China’s political rights activists gradually returning to normal following the Nobel ceremony honoring Liu Xiaobo. Authorities had detained some of them, held others under house arrest, and forced others to stay in out-of-town locations ahead of the ceremony. Activists criticized the treatment.
RFA Reports on North Korean refugees getting scholarship boost
Dec. 12 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on a U.S. group launching a scholarship program for North Korean refugees living in the United States. Prayer, Service, Action, Love & Truth (PSALT), a Christian nonprofit organization, plans to implement the program, Five Talents, during the 2011 fall semester of school.
RFA Reports on Nobel honor for absent Liu
Dec. 10 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on an empty seat marking the absence of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, who is languishing in a Chinese prison. The 2010 Nobel Prize for Peace was formally awarded to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in Oslo’s city hall amid strong opposition from Beijing, with the absent dissident's medal and diploma placed ceremonially in an empty chair where he would have sat.
RFA Reports on China protesting U.S. resolution for Liu
Dec. 9 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on Beijing hitting out at a U.S. congressional resolution in support of jailed Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo. “We urge relevant U.S. lawmakers to stop their wrongdoing on this issue, change their arrogant and rude attitude, and show due respect for the Chinese people and China's judicial sovereignty,” Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told reporters in Beijing.
RFA Reports on project posing displacement threat for Tibetans
Dec. 9 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on a hydroelectric project in an area north of Tibet’s regional capital Lhasa possibly forcing the relocation of up to 4,000 Tibetan villagers. The project, to be completed in the Phodo area of Lhundrub county in the Tibet Autonomous Region, is set to displace about 500 households, a local Tibetan told RFA.
RFA Reports on high hopes for Lao dam venture
Dec. 9 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on Laos inaugurating a key hydroelectric dam that promises critical revenue to its rural-based economy. Some environmentalists and analysts, however, have raised criticism of the project. They claim it denies “sustainable livelihoods” to migrant workers brought in to build the dam.
RFA Reports on China dismissing Google hacking claims
Dec. 7 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on China dismissing allegations made in a leaked U.S. diplomatic cable that one of its most senior leaders ordered a hacker attack on Internet giant Google after finding negative references to himself using the search engine. The cyber attack was traced back to locations in China, prompted Google to close its China-based search service in March, and was targeted at the e-mail accounts of Chinese rights activists, officials from Google said at the time.
RFA Reports on Vietnamese trafficking fight may lack will
Dec. 6 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on Vietnam stepping up a campaign against human trafficking. Experts however say political will remains lacking in the fight against the illicit trade. Authorities claim nearly 1,200 Vietnamese people were discovered to have been smuggled outside the country in recent months, mostly to China.
RFA Reports on Cambodia graft arrest
Dec. 3 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Cambodian nongovernmental groups welcoming the first arrest of a high-profile official on alleged bribery charges by the country’s new anti-corruption task force. But, many groups say, the arrest is a first step and other high-ranking officials should not be spared in the drive to root out graft within the government.
RFA Reports on ex-health official alleging China AIDS cover-up
Dec. 1 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on China’s AIDS epidemic largely being fueled by rural blood-selling in poverty-stricken areas. Two of the country’s leaders should be held to account, according to a retired senior health official, who sent an open letter to President Hu Jintao online ahead of World AIDS Day.