(Washington, DC — March 1, 2010) Radio Free Asia broadcast the following stories, and more, in February:
RFA Reports on stricter rules anticipated for Chinese cyber café chains
Feb. 24 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on China’s anticipated go-ahead with a large scale shake-up of its Internet cafe industry. Officials at China’s Ministry of Culture recently set out guidelines for people wishing to set up large chains of Internet cafes, paring back the thousands of privately run, smaller operations.
RFA Reports on China’s plans to invest billions in North Korea.
Feb. 24 – RFA Korean and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Korean/Mandarin] on China’s reported plans to invest billions of dollars in North Korea. The prospective investment reflects Beijing’s bid to prop up the regime and keep a dominant role in the region rather than to lure Pyongyang back to multilateral talks.
RFA Reports on freed Burmese politician calling for dialogue
Feb. 23 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on a top Burmese opposition politician calling for a renewed dialogue with the ruling military government over Burma’s political future. National League for Democracy (NLD) vice-chairman U Tin Oo, who helms the party after Aung San Suu Kyi, said he contacted officials to begin talks after he was released from house arrest in Rangoon.
RFA Reports on Rohingya deportations, harassment
Feb. 19 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on Burmese minority refugees in Bangladesh being beaten, jailed, and deported. A growing number of Rohingya refugees originally from Burma lack food and are being harassed and detained by local authorities and residents when leaving their camp to seek supplies.
RFA Reports on North Korean crackdown on cell phone use
Feb. 19 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Korea launching a crackdown on use of Chinese mobile phones along the northern border with China. The effort is expected to make it more difficult for North Koreans to leave the country.
RFA Reports on death of Uyghur advocate
Feb. 18 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on the passing of Gen. Mehmet Riza Bekin Pasha, an outspoken advocate for ethnic Uyghurs living under Chinese rule. Pasha died in the Turkish capital Ankara this week at the age of 85, after a six-month treatment for lung disease at the Gulhane Military Medical Academy.
RFA Reports on Dalai Lama, Obama meeting
Feb. 18 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on U.S. President Barack Obama meeting with the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, despite warnings from Beijing. Obama used his first presidential meeting with the Dalai Lama to press Beijing, which has drawn international criticism for its heavy-handed treatment of Tibet, to preserve “[Tibet’s] unique religious, cultural, and linguistic identity and the protection of human rights for Tibetans in the People’s Republic of China.”
RFA Reports on Tibetans risking jail for celebrating Dalai Lama visit
Feb. 18 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on Tibetans inside China burning incense, praying, and raising Buddhist prayer flags ahead of their exiled leader’s first White House meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama. The public ceremonies commenced amid tighter security by Chinese authorities, who regard the Dalai Lama as a dangerous separatist.
RFA Reports on sanctions overshadowing Kim Jong Il celebrations
Feb. 17 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations on North Korea, leading many international companies to abandon investment plans. The developments occurred amid recent uproar over the handling of North Korea’s currency policy and the country’s lavish birthday celebrations for Kim Jong Il, who turned 68.
RFA Reports on recommendation to contain protests locally
Feb. 17 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on a top law enforcement official calling on Chinese local authorities to “keep trouble in the townships” instead of involving the state and higher authorities, in anticipation of numerous protests this year.
RFA Reports on New Year letter slamming CCP
Feb. 16 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on a group of activists in southwest China calling on the Chinese Communist Party to free prisoners of conscience in their region. The letter, sent to authorities as Chinese people worldwide commemorated the Year of the Tiger, also called for opening up debate on political change and greater civil liberties within the mainland.
RFA Reports on plight of North Korean ‘defector orphans’
Feb. 12 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Korean children being left to fend for themselves in China without legal protections. Aid workers estimate that there are about 2,000 “defector orphans” in China, with a possible total of 30,000 North Korean defectors living in hiding, mostly driven over the border to look for food and work.
RFA Reports on manhunt for escaped Tibetan inmate
Feb. 10 – RFA Tibetan and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Tibetan/Mandarin] on a regional manhunt in China’s southwestern Sichuan province for an escaped Tibetan inmate who allegedly kidnapped a prison guard. Sources say the inmate’s actions were in retaliation for harsh treatment suffered while he was in detention.
RFA Reports on Sichuan quake activist’s sentencing
Feb. 9 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on authorities in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan handing down a five-year jail term to activist and writer Tan Zuoren for subversion. Zouren was detained and put on trial for planning to release an independent report assessing the widespread collapse of schools in the devastating 2008 earthquake.
RFA Reports on Tiananmen tank victim getting asylum
Feb. 9 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on the United States granting political asylum to a prominent Chinese athlete. Fang Zheng, 42, was a promising Chinese athlete when his legs were crushed by a tank during the military crackdown on peaceful demonstrators in Beijing in 1989. He was granted asylum after traveling to the United States for new prosthetic limbs.
RFA Reports on Hanoi’s street children
Feb. 5 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on the growing problem of street children in Vietnam’s capital city of Hanoi. As the city prepares to commemorate its 1,000-year birthday, questions loom over the best way of helping an estimated 1,600 children living in and working on Hanoi’s streets.
RFA Reports on missing Chinese rights lawyer
Feb. 4 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on concerns being raised in China over the yearlong disappearance of a prominent civil rights lawyer. Attorney Gao Zhisheng was last seen in public in February 2009, and went missing after reporting repeated kidnappings, detentions, surveillance, and beatings at the hands of authorities.
RFA Reports on possible repatriation of U.S.-detained Uyghurs
Feb. 3 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on the likelihood of two Uyghur detainees from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay being resettled within a month. The men’s lawyer said the development came following the announcement that the government of Switzerland agreed to accept them on humanitarian grounds.
RFA Reports on Chinese dissident confined to mental hospital
Feb. 2 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on the detention of Chinese dissident He Jian, a signatory to the Charter 08 petition calling for broad political and democratic reforms. Sources report He has been confined to a Shanghai mental hospital.
RFA Reports on China sanctioning media curbs in 2009
Feb. 1 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on details emerging of recent media restrictions issued by China’s powerful Central Propaganda Department. A new report says the agency implemented 62 gag orders on Chinese state-controlled media in 2009.