(Washington, DC — March 1, 2011) Radio Free Asia broadcast the following stories, and more, in February:
RFA Reports on China crackdown continuing amid Middle East uprisings
Feb. 28 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on Chinese activists reporting further crackdowns they said were triggered by calls for “Jasmine” protests, as official media highlighted fears of a civil war in North Africa amid a mass evacuation effort in Libya.
RFA Reports on U.S. ambassador’s name blocked in China
Feb. 25 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on China using its extensive system of Internet censorship, filters, and blocks to limit searches for the name of U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, after he was seen in the vicinity of a pro-democracy event. Huntsman’s name did not yield any search results on the Chinese search engine Sina, although some results were returned on smaller search engines. The blocks come amid growing online calls for a “Jasmine Revolution” inspired by the wave of popular uprisings sweeping the Middle East.
RFA Reports on crackdown on banned Tibetan songs
Feb. 25 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on public security authorities in Tibet recently banning songs deemed “reactionary” and detaining young Tibetans found in possession of the songs on their mobile phones. More than 20 young Tibetans have been rounded up for downloading the songs since a “Strike Hard” campaign was launched this winter in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).
RFA Reports on China ramping up censorship efforts
Feb. 24 – RFA Cantonese aired story [text in English/Cantonese] on Chinese leaders tightening the net of censorship around every aspect of public expression in China, sparking strong criticism from overseas press groups and a former top-ranking official in the ruling Communist Party. Paris-based press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) accused Beijing of “gagging” its population with increased censorship that appears to be aimed at “stamping out all forms of freedom of expression.”
RFA Reports on Uyghurs sentenced to death
Feb. 23 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on four Uyghurs being sentenced to death in connection with deadly attacks in China’s northwestern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Exiled Uyghur leader and activist Rebiya Kadeer called the sentences a breach of international law.
RFA Reports on Xinjiang tense amid Arab revolts
Feb. 22 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on authorities in the northwestern region of Xinjiang launching a new crackdown on Uyghur-language publications and media in the wake of a wave of uprisings across the Middle East. Among the material officials consider subversive is a film about exiled dissident Rebiya Kadeer, whom China has blamed for instigating deadly ethnic unrest in the region.
RFA Reports on observers to enter Cambodian temple fray
Feb. 22 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Thailand and Cambodia agreeing to allow civilian and unarmed Indonesian military observers to be stationed along their common border to defuse tensions after a bloody flare-up between the countries’ forces earlier in February. The disputed area surrounds Preah Vihear, an 11th century Hindu temple which was established as a UNESCO heritage site in 2008.
RFA Reports on complaints of wife of Nobel laureate Liu
Feb. 20 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on the wife of jailed Chinese Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, who is being held under house arrest, telling a friend via online chat that she feels “miserable,” her family is being held like “hostages,” and “nobody can help her.” In what is believed to be her first contact with the outside world for four months, Liu Xia told her friend during an Internet chat that she was being held at home against her will and had seen her husband just once since his Nobel award was announced in October 2010.
RFA Reports on Chinese clampdown on ‘Jasmine’ protests
Feb. 20 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on Chinese authorities enacting strong security measures in several cities following an online call for a revolution apparently modeled after pro-democracy demonstrations sweeping the Middle East. Authorities detained an undetermined number of activists, disrupted text messaging services and censored Internet postings about the protest call, in an apparent show of force.
RFA Reports on U.N. investigating Cambodian land dispute
Feb. 18 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on a United Nations human rights representative visiting a Cambodian village community embroiled in a land dispute. The visit by the U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in Cambodia was part of a fact-finding mission for a set of wider reforms he is recommending to the country’s leadership. Following a meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen he expressed concerns about the country’s court system and a new law on nongovernmental organizations.
RFA Reports on Beijing warning U.S. on Internet freedom
Feb. 17 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on Beijing lashing out at proposals by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to support cyber-activism and a free Internet. Officials warned Washington not to use the issues to meddle in China’s internal affairs. “We are opposed to any country using Internet freedom as a pretext for interference in Chinese affairs,” foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told reporters during a press briefing.
RFA Reports on Chinese lawyers detained over Chen meeting
Feb. 16 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on authorities in Beijing tightening security around a group of civil rights lawyers who met to discuss the plight of blind activist Chen Guangcheng. Chen is currently held under house arrest with his entire family in the eastern Chinese province of Shandong. Chen, who has protested against the forced abortions and sterilization of Chinese women, has been confined to his home since his release at the end of a jail term of four years and three months for “damaging public property and obstructing traffic.”
RFA Reports on abrupt resignation in Burma government
Feb. 16 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on a former general and member of Burma’s parliament resigning abruptly amid wide speculation of a rift within the new military-dominated government. Tin Aye, a member of the majority pro-junta Union Solidarity Development Party (USDP), offered no reason for his departure in a letter read by the speaker of the Parliament’s Upper House.
RFA Reports on livestock disease fueling North Korean food concerns
RFA Reports on refugee Montagnards being sent back to Vietnam
Feb. 15 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on a group of Vietnamese refugees, most of whom fled their home country because of religious persecution, facing repatriation from Cambodia. The Cambodian government closed a center operated by the United Nations’ refugee agency in Phnom Penh being used by ethnic Montagnards from Vietnam.
RFA Reports on Burma newspaper editor arrested
Feb. 14 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on the Burmese military junta arresting an Australian newspaper publisher in an action criticized by colleagues and foreign media groups as “baseless” and highlighting abuse of press freedom.
RFA Reports on rescue of trafficked Lao girls
Feb. 11 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on Thai police rescuing five Lao teenage girls from a restaurant in central Thailand’s Suphan Buri province where the girls were forced to work as prostitutes. Laos is primarily a source country for women and girls trafficked to Thailand for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor as domestic or factory workers.
RFA Reports on Taiwanese general held in spy probe
Feb. 9 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on Taiwan authorities detaining a major general on suspicion of spying for China in the highest-level spy scandal to hit the island since the lifting of martial law in 1987.
RFA Reports on Tibetan singer released from jail
Feb. 8 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on popular Tibetan singer Tashi Dhondup being released from jail after serving most of a 15-month sentence for recording songs calling for Tibetan independence. The man, an ethnic Mongol, was freed from a Chinese jail in the Qinghai provincial capital of Xining.
RFA Reports on forced abortions continuing in China
Feb. 3 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English] on Chinese authorities routinely forcing women to terminate “unauthorized” pregnancies despite President Hu Jintao’s denial that the practice exists. Hu’s denial came at a meeting with Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the chairwoman of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.
RFA Reports on Vietnamese church leaders recollecting persecution
Feb. 2 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on church leaders in Vietnam recollecting a deadly prison facility and a period of repression that began in 1959. Although religious persecution under communist rule eased a decade later in 1970, rights groups have expressed concern over what they see as a new increase in violations of religious freedom in Vietnam.