(Washington, DC — Jan. 1, 2013) Radio Free Asia broadcast the following stories, and more, in December:
RFA Reports on warning of Kachin conflict in Burma
Dec. 29 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on a prominent Burmese activist calling on Burma officials to resume peace talks to end the ethnic conflict or risk losing the confidence of the people. The demand came a day after Burma's military aircraft pounded rebel areas in northern Kachin state, causing an unknown number of casualties.
RFA Reports on Shanghai crackdown on house churches
Dec. 28 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on authorities in Shanghai launching a crackdown on unofficial Protestant churches over Christmas. Officially an atheist country, China has an army of officials whose job is to watch over faith-based activities, which have spread rapidly.
RFA Reports on Burma allowing independent daily newspapers
Dec. 28 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on privately owned daily newspapers being scheduled to hit the streets of Burma starting April 1. At present, all dailies in Burma are state-owned.
RFA Reports on Chinese scholars signing reform declaration
Dec. 27 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on dozens of Chinese intellectuals calling for political reform in China. The 71 prominent scholars and lawyers requested that the new leadership of the ruling Chinese Communist Party implement moderate political reforms, including separating Party from state. The signed document echoed Charter 08, which led to the imprisonment of co-author and Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo.
RFA Reports on continuing Shenzhen strike
Dec. 27 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on workers at a Hong Kong-invested electronics factory in the southern city of Shenzhen continuing their strike over compensation. Around 3,000 workers have been gathering in protest, saying that management hadn't followed China's laws on compensation according to seniority during a recent company restructuring.
RFA Reports on harsh criticism of Cambodian judiciary
Dec. 27 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on the Cambodian judiciary coming under fire by rights groups. They allege a land rights activist was jailed for three years on trumped-up charges and two men were sent to prison as scapegoats for the murder of a top unionist.
RFA Reports on sentencing of Chinese quake activist
Dec. 25 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on authorities in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan handing a five-year jail term to a rights activist after he persistently questioned missing funds for post-2008 earthquake reconstruction.
RFA Reports on Christmas card campaign for jailed Chinese rights lawyer
Dec. 24 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on Beijing-based rights activist Hu Jia launching a Christmas postcard campaign for jailed lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who defended clients in politically sensitive cases. Writing on Twitter, Hu published the address of Gao's prison and called on netizens to send postcards wishing him well at Christmas.
RFA Reports on alleged torture of Tibetans at detention center
Dec. 21 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on allegations of torture of Tibetan political prisoners held at a facility outside the regional capital Lhasa. Harsh treatment is common at the Chushur Prison, a former prisoner told RFA’s Tibetan Service.
RFA Reports on sentencing of repatriated Uyghurs
Dec. 20 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on a group of 11 Uyghurs repatriated from Malaysia to China in 2011 being sentenced to prison on separatism charges. The group was repatriated in August 2011 as part of what rights groups said is Beijing’s coordinated campaign to pressure neighboring countries into extraditing members of the mostly Muslim Uyghur minority who have fled persecution in their homeland in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
RFA Reports on Uyghur student fighting Chinese travel ban online
Dec. 20 – RFA Cantonese and Uyghur aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Uyghur] on a Uyghur student starting an online campaign against Chinese authorities' repeated refusals to issue her a passport. Atikem Rozi, 21, vowed to fight for her civil rights after having been denied a passport three times in the past two years.
RFA Reports on former Cambodian official’s acquittal in shooting case
Dec. 19 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on the acquittal of a Cambodian ex-governor on a charge of unintentionally shooting three factory workers. The ruling drew condemnation from victims and rights groups who said the case highlighted double standards of justice in the country.
RFA Reports on Lao activist’s disappearance
Dec. 19 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on the disappearance of a respected Lao social activist, Sombath Somphone, the former head of a development agency in Vientiane. Based on closed-circuit television footage, Somphone was taken from a roadside police station in the capital city and hasn’t been seen since.
RFA Reports on North Korea stepping up broadcast jamming
Dec. 19 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Korean authorities intensifying their jamming of foreign radio broadcasts since the beginning of December. North Korean jamming is usually sporadic due to electricity outages and the cost of special facilities, but has now been continuous since Dec. 1, said a source in the border city of Dandong.
RFA Reports on detention of five Tibetan monks
Dec. 18 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on Chinese authorities in Gansu province detaining five Tibetan monks following a self-immolation protest earlier this month. Their whereabouts remain unknown.
RFA Reports on financial troubles of Khmer Rouge tribunal
Dec. 18 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on a U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal in Cambodia announcing that it will be unable to pay its Cambodian staff for at least two weeks. The announcement underscores ongoing financial concerns for the court.
RFA Reports on U.S. envoy’s visit with Burmese refugees
Dec. 18 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on U.S. Ambassador to Burma Derek Mitchell voicing concerns about aid to refugees in rebel-controlled areas of Kachin state. Mitchell’s remarks were made as fighting between ethnic rebels and government troops continued in the region.
RFA Reports on jailing of Chinese power plant protesters
Dec. 18 – RFA Cantonese aired story [text in English/Cantonese] on the sentencing to labor camp of more than 10 villagers who opposed a coal-fired power plant in China's southern island province of Hainan. Work continues on the controversial project after the sentencing of a prominent environmentalist.
RFA Reports on mixed reactions in North Korea over satellite launch
Dec. 18 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on mixed reactions among North Korea’s public over the country’s first successful launch of a satellite into space and the coverage by state-controlled media.
RFA Reports on knife attack in Chinese primary school
Dec. 17 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on authorities in the central Chinese province of Henan saying a man detained in connection with primary school knife attacks was "influenced" by doomsday predictions. The attack was overshadowed in Chinese media by the school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, later that same day.
RFA Reports on denial of appeal for jailed Cambodian radio station owner
Dec. 14 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Cambodia’s Court of Appeals rejecting ailing dissident radio station owner Mam Sonando’s request for bail. The court had cited “concerns for public order” in a decision that drew condemnation from local rights groups.
RFA Reports on push for wealth transparency of Chinese officials
Dec. 14 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on a campaign to pressure top officials of the ruling Chinese Communist Party to make public the details of their family wealth. More than 2,000 people took to the streets of Shanghai, calling on officials to publicize details of their assets, income, and investments, as well as those of their spouses and children.
RFA Reports on Tibetans drowning in escape
Dec. 14 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on the drowning deaths of five Tibetans in the central Tibetan county of Driru. The men died while trying to escape police after authorities foiled their plan to self-immolate in protest of Chinese rule in Tibetan areas.
RFA Reports on Shanghai daughter’s tweet landing father in jail
Dec. 12 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on authorities in Shanghai detaining the father of a 15-year-old girl after she took to China's popular microblogs to complain about discrimination against out-of-town families in the city's education system. A rights lawyer said the charges have a questionable legal basis.
RFA Reports on Burmese monks protesting mine crackdown
Dec. 12 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on hundreds of monks leading demonstrations in nine Burmese cities and towns calling for further government apology to victims of a crackdown on protesters at a controversial copper mine in northwestern Burma.
RFA Reports on mental hospitalization of Chinese professor
Dec. 11 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on authorities in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang committing an outspoken professor who talked to his students about the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre to a psychiatric facility. Professor Wang Peijian, who teaches at China Jiliang University in Hangzhou, initially resisted being forced into a psychiatric hospital by authorities for expressing “politically sensitive” opinions in class.
RFA Reports on UN envoy speaking out on Cambodian land dispute
Dec. 11 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on the United Nations special envoy on human rights pledging to highlight a land dispute in central Cambodia involving the wife of the Minister of Industry during a fact-finding mission to the country. Surya Subedi made the promise following an appeal for intervention by residents of Pursat village in central Cambodia’s Kompong Chhnang province.
RFA Reports on self-immolation of Tibetan girl
Dec. 10 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on a teenage Tibetan girl setting herself on fire and dying in China’s Qinghai province in a challenge to Chinese rule in Tibetan areas. It was the third self-immolation by a Tibetan within two days, and the 95th since the wave of fiery protests began in February 2009.
RFA Reports on arrest of illegal logging reporter in Cambodia
Dec. 10 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on authorities in eastern Cambodia’s Kratie province arresting a local reporter who exposed illegal timber smuggling in the area. His arrest follows a pair of murders this year tied to exposing illegal logging in Cambodia’s forests, where deforestation and mining in recent years have taken a heavy toll on the environment.
RFA Reports on calls to release Nobel winner Liu Xiaobo and wife
Dec. 7 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on a former top Chinese Communist Party aide adding his voice to a growing chorus of calls for the release of jailed Chinese Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo. Also, a Hong Kong-based veteran journalist called on Chinese netizens to try to visit Liu Xiaobo’s wife Liu Xia in Beijing, in a manner similar to the campaign to visit Shandong activist Chen Guangcheng before his escape in April.
RFA Reports on North Korean power plan falling short
Dec. 7 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Korea’s capital experiencing severe power shortages this winter. This is in part due to the inability of a recently completed hydroelectric dam to operate at full capacity during the annual dry season.
RFA Reports on harassment of Uyghur scholar
Dec. 4 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on a prominent Uyghur scholar saying he faced harassment both from police in Beijing where he lives and in his hometown in northwestern China during a sensitive meeting of top-level officials from the ruling Chinese Communist Party. Outspoken Uyghur economics professor Ilham Tohti said he had received a notice from authorities in the capital ahead of the 18th National Congress, informing him that he would have to leave the city for its duration.
RFA Reports on Tibetan stabbing self to death in protest of Chinese rule
Dec. 4 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on a young Tibetan living in China’s Gansu province stabbing himself to death and writing a call for Tibetan freedom in his own blood as the CCP’s 18th Congress convened. News of the protest and suicide was delayed because of tight restrictions on communications from the area during the once-in-a-decade national leadership transition in Beijing.
RFA Reports on Chen Guangcheng calling for Burma-like reforms in China
Dec. 3 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on dissident Chen Guangcheng calling on China's next generation of leaders to implement political reform. In a video statement posted online, Chen called on leader-in-waiting Xi Jinping to follow a model similar to that of Burma, which is on the path of reforms after decades of harsh military rule.
RFA Reports on Chinese boats cutting Vietnamese ship’s cables
Dec. 3 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on Chinese fishing vessels cutting the exploration cables of a ship owned by Vietnamese state-owned oil and gas company PetroVietnam in the South China Sea. The incident aggravates tensions in the disputed waters.
RFA Reports on Tibetan monk setting self ablaze
Dec. 3 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on a Tibetan monk setting himself ablaze in a protest against Beijing's rule. Chinese security forces and Tibetan residents argued over custody of the body of Lobsang Gendun, 29, in Qinghai province's Pema county.
RFA Reports on Laos facing rail loan squeeze
Dec. 2 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on the possibility of Laos having to pay U.S. $3 billion in interest for a U.S. $7 billion loan it will obtain from China to build an ambitious Laos-China high-speed railway project. The interest fee of nearly half the principal sum could result in Laos having to divert its precious share of revenue from Chinese-owned gold and bauxite mining operations to repay the massive loan.
RFA Reports on Aung San Suu Kyi heading mine crackdown probe
Dec. 1 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on Burma's President Thein Sein asking opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to lead an investigation into the violent police crackdown on protests against a Chinese-backed copper mine. The panel would also determine the controversial project’s fate.