(Washington, DC — March. 1, 2015) Radio Free Asia broadcast the following stories, and more, in February:
RFA Reports on Kokang region civilian exodus amidst fighting
Feb. 27 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on large groups of civilians from northern Myanmar's Kokang region fleeing towns and villages close to the Chinese border for fear of violence at the hands of government troops. Myanmar's army is fighting the National Democratic Alliance Army rebel forces trying to retake the Kokang self-administered zone, which it had controlled until 2009.
RFA Reports on Cambodia releasing female inmates before International Women’s Day
Feb. 27 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on the Cambodian government pardoning 16 female convicts who are either pregnant or recently had children in prison, as part of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s drive to end the culture of children living with their mothers behind bars.
RFA Reports on Montagnards vanishing en route to the Cambodian capital
Feb. 27 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on three dozen Montagnards mysteriously disappearing after they left a remote province in northeastern Cambodia to seek help from the United Nations in the country’s capital. The 36 Montagnards were part of a larger group of 50 Christian indigenous people from Vietnam’s Central Highlands who had fled to Cambodia and had been hiding in the forest of Ratanakiri province, hoping to seek refugee status for alleged political and religious persecution in their homeland.
RFA Reports on U.S. official critical of goal to clear Cambodia of land mines by 2015
Feb. 27 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on an interview with U.S. State Department official Samuel Perez Jr. after his travels to Cambodia and Laos as part of U.S. efforts to help the countries clear land mines. Perez said the Cambodian government’s promise to fully clear land mines by 2015 is “unrealistic.”
RFA Reports on Guangdong police detaining activist’s dinner guests
Feb. 26 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong detaining around a dozen friends of outspoken rights activist Li Biyun after they tried to visit her home in Shunde city. "It was like a kidnapping,” one detainee said.
RFA Reports on more deaths in mass HIV infection in Cambodia
Feb. 25 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on a 78-year-old woman infected with HIV/AIDS dying in a remote western Cambodia village. The woman was infected by an unauthorized medical worker who reused syringes.
RFA Reports on greater targeting of minorities, free expression in China
Feb. 25 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on a report showing the ruling Chinese Communist Party intensifying the targeting of ethnic minority groups and already strict controls on freedom of expression. Amnesty International said in its annual global human rights report that Tibetans, Muslim Uyghurs, and Mongolians face discrimination and targeting by security forces.
RFA Reports on young Tibetan monks facing new clampdown
Feb. 24 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on authorities in northwestern China’s Qinghai province blocking young Tibetan monks from returning to their monasteries after visiting their homes to mark the Lunar New Year. Tibetan language classes organized for students who already graduated from local schools have also been banned.
RFA Reports on Myanmar garment workers threatening further strikes
RFA Reports on roughly 50 Myanmar military troops being killed in China border clashes
Feb. 23 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on clashes between ethnic Kokang rebels and Myanmar’s military near the country’s northeastern border with China leaving around 50 government troops dead over the span of a single weekend, a member of the Ta’ang National Liberation Army said. State media reported fewer casualties.
RFA Reports on China warning Tibetans against ‘separatist’ activities
Feb. 23 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on authorities in a Tibetan-populated county of northwestern China’s Qinghai province circulating an expanded list of “unlawful” activities deemed to challenge Beijing’s rule. The list, which includes prohibitions already in force against self-immolation protests and online advocacy of Tibetan independence, now also targets the establishment of “illegal associations formed in the name of the Tibetan language, the environment, and education.”
RFA Reports on Shanghai petitioners descending on Beijing ahead of annual parliament
Feb. 23 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on around 1,000 petitioners from Shanghai converging on Beijing ahead of China's parliamentary sessions in a bid to highlight their complaints against local governments.
RFA Reports on Hong Kong protest leader Joshua Wong anticipating more demonstrations
Feb. 20 – RFA Cantonese aired story [text in English/Cantonese] on 18-year-old Hong Kong democracy campaigner Joshua Wong telling Radio Free Asia in an interview that the 79-day protest that brought hundreds of thousands of people onto the streets isn’t over yet. “[W]e will definitely see more large-scale citizen protests in 2015, or more Occupy movements,” Wong said.
RFA Reports on Tibetans openly celebrating Dalai Lama’s birthday
Feb. 20 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on Tibetans living in northwestern China’s Sichuan, Qinghai, and Gansu provinces openly celebrating the 80th birth year of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama on the first day of Losar, the Tibetan Lunar New Year.
RFA Reports on 17 dead after hacking, shooting incident
Feb. 20 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on a clash in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region leaving 17 Uyghurs dead. This included four policemen who were slashed with knives, nine attackers who were shot to death, and four people killed by police gunfire. The incident came during house-to-house searches by police, who were attacked by a group of more than 10 people gathered in a house 150 meters from the police station in the town of Yaqaeriq.
RFA Reports on Lao authorities considering release of jailed Christians
Feb. 20 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on Lao authorities considering freeing five Christians jailed for “illegally practicing medicine” after they prayed for a dying woman’s recovery. The five were arrested last June.
RFA Reports on concerns for Kokang refugees in China’s Yunnan
Feb. 19 – RFA Myanmar and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Myanmar/Mandarin] on an estimated 100,000 refugees pouring across the border into neighboring China after renewed fighting between Myanmar government troops and rebel fighters in the Kokang region. The fighting erupted Feb. 9 in Laukkai, capital of the special region of Kokang near Myanmar's border with China, between army troops and Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army rebel forces.
RFA Reports on Lao provincial youth union warning social media users not to criticize government
Feb. 19 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on a Lao youth organization issuing a warning to young people about using social media to criticize the ruling Communist Party or the government of Prime Minister Thonsing Thammavong.
RFA Reports on the killing of Uyghur man armed with a knife
Feb. 18 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on a Uyghur farmer on his way to work in the fields being shot and killed by police in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The farmer allegedly pulled a knife on officers attempting to detain him for acting “suspicious.”
RFA Reports on Chinese troops in ‘show of force’ ahead of Tibetan New Year
Feb. 18 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on large numbers of Chinese security forces being deployed to Tibetan-populated areas of Sichuan and Qinghai provinces as residents prepared to celebrate the Lunar New Year. The convoys of armed police on patrol created an “atmosphere of intimidation,” a local source told RFA.
RFA Reports on lethal sinkhole collapse in North Korea
RFA Reports on state of emergency in Myanmar’s Kokang region amid fighting
Feb. 17 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on Myanmar's President Thein Sein declaring a state of emergency in the northern Kokang region. A 90-day state of emergency was declared "to restore the region to its original situation," with the military administration tasked to take “all necessary measures” to restore rule of law, order, and peace and tranquility.
RFA Reports on Chinese rights group highlighting escalation of abuses
Feb. 16 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on a report finding China's human rights situation the worst in a quarter-century. The Hubei-based Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch issued its findings on Internet surveillance, targeting of critics, and police enforcement of public order offenses as mechanisms for the state to exert control.
RFA Reports on ‘deaths and injuries’ following clashes between Uyghurs and police in Xinjiang
Feb. 16 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on Chinese authorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region imposing an information blackout in Hotan prefecture after a violent incident involving ethnic minority Uyghurs and police. At least seven people died and at least seven more were injured in the clashes, in which a young Uyghur man reportedly set off an explosive device.
RFA Reports on growing calls for inquiry into government ‘interference’ in Hong Kong University
Feb. 13 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on the growing controversy over the government appointment of a top academic at the University of Hong Kong, amid reports that the city's leadership interfered to prevent the appointment of a pro-democracy candidate for the job.
RFA Reports on Myanmar threatening ‘action’ against student protesters
Feb. 13 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on the government of Myanmar warning student demonstrators that “action will be taken” to restore order in the country if they do not end a protest march to Yangon. The students are protesting education legislation they say will limit academic freedom.
RFA Reports on hundreds protesting Rohingya vote on Myanmar charter change
Feb. 11 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on hundreds of people taking to the streets in Yangon to protest a government decision to allow people without citizenship, including Rohingya Muslims, to take part in a referendum on amending the country’s junta-backed constitution.
RFA Reports on Myanmar’s president approving constitutional referendum
Feb. 11 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on Myanmar’s President Thein Sein approving a referendum to be held this year on amendments to the country’s 2008 junta-backed constitution. Thein Sein gave the go-ahead to the vote, which could signal changes to the charter which grants effective veto power to Myanmar’s military.
RFA Reports on North Korea telling businessmen to schmooze with South Korean counterparts
Feb. 11 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Koreans who do business in China receiving an order to rub elbows with their counterparts from South Korea. The policy marks a shift in North Korea’s attitude toward businessmen and women of South Korea.
RFA Reports on Vietnam targeting newspaper after reports of alleged official graft
Feb. 10 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on the government of Vietnam deciding to withdraw the online operating license of a newspaper after it ran several articles exposing cases of alleged official corruption. Authorities accused the newspaper of “fabricating information” and rescinded reporting credentials of its editor-in-chief.
RFA Reports on China’s ‘disappeared’ bishop dying in custody
Feb. 9 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on an underground Catholic bishop in China dying at the age of 94, 14 years after his disappearance at the hands of authorities. Bishop Cosmas Shi Enxiang of Hebei province was arrested on Good Friday, 2001, at a relative's home in Beijing, and had been held without charges at an unknown location.
RFA Reports on ‘politically motivated’ death of Cambodian activist
Feb. 9 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on an activist who campaigned for Cambodia’s opposition party found dead as a result of what police said was an accident. But a local human rights group disputed the claim, suggesting he had been murdered for political reasons.
RFA Reports on China executing mining tycoon for running a ‘mafia-like organization’
Feb. 9 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on authorities in the central Chinese province of Hubei executing a mining tycoon, his brother, and three associates linked to a probe into former security czar Zhou Yongkang. The sudden demise of Liu Han, one of the executed, prompted suspicions that the government was seeking to limit damage to the reputation of the ruling Chinese Communist Party by killing off a key witness to the wrongdoing of officials not previously targeted in Xi's anti-corruption campaign.
RFA Reports on Vietnam’s selective arrests of executives for ‘economic crimes’
Feb. 6 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on the Vietnamese government arresting businesspeople for committing “economic crimes.” Critics say enforcement is selective and motivated by ruling Communist Party politicians who use executives as pawns in their internal squabbles.
RFA Reports on defense lawyers walking out of Suzhou evictee trial in protest
Feb. 5 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on lawyers walking out of court in protest over violations of legal procedure on the second day of a trial in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu. The trial on charges of “intentional wounding” came after the defendant attacked two members of a demolition gang that came to evict his family from their home, and who he said beat up his wife.
RFA Reports on netizen’s detention for posting ‘insulting’ photo of China’s president
Feb. 5 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong holding a netizen under criminal detention after he posted remarks critical of President Xi Jinping online. Rights groups say the government has recently stepped up the level of official control over freedom of expression to include criticisms of the government that are merely implied.
RFA Reports on Laos stepping up crackdown on illegal drugs as narcotics cases rise
Feb. 4 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on Laos vowing to crack down harder on the sale of illegal drugs by going after ringleaders and dealers on the street as well as increasing border inspections around the Golden Triangle area where narcotics are smuggled into the country.
RFA Reports on Chinese police jailing four herders over grasslands protest
Feb. 3 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on Chinese authorities in Inner Mongolia jailing four ethnic Mongolian herders for their role in "illegal demonstrations" following weeks of protests by communities whose grazing lands have been taken away by the government.
RFA Reports on Vietnamese woman self-immolating to protest market demolition
Feb. 3 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on a female shop owner who self-immolated in protest of an official decision to tear down a marketplace. Fellow shop owners from the market said complaints about their pending evictions had gone unanswered despite months of petitioning the central government.
RFA Reports on the removal of Tiananmen crackdown story prompting questions in Hong Kong
Feb. 3 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on journalists and pan-democratic politicians in Hong Kong criticizing a decision by one of the city's most respected newspapers not to publish an article on the 1989 military crackdown on the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests. Staff at the Chinese-language Ming Pao newspaper, which removed former editor Kevin Lau last year, had asked the paper's editor-in-chief to explain why he chose to override a unanimous decision by the paper's editorial board to run the story on the front page.
RFA Reports on NGOs, media slamming Cambodia over state secrets draft law
Feb. 3 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on NGOs and media watchdogs in Cambodia expressing concerns over a proposed law to protect state secrets. They say the measure being drafted with assistance from neighboring communist Vietnam could be used to silence dissidents and the media.
RFA Reports on human trafficking victim warning others not to fall prey to traffickers
Feb. 2 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on a Cambodian woman’s cautionary tale, told to prevent other young women from falling prey to traffickers who promise them a better life in China. The woman said she managed to escape from an abusive husband who tortured and raped her after her parents paid Cambodian human traffickers to illegally take her to China to marry a Chinese man.