RFA Reports (January 2008)

(Washington, DC—February 1, 2008) Radio Free Asia broadcast the following stories, and more, in January:


RFA Reports on North Korean corruption probe
January 30 -- RFA Korea aired story [text in English/Korean] on a high-level corruption probe in North Korea. In a rare acknowledgement of corruption, authorities in North Korea launched the probe into two government bodies responsible for administering foreign investment in the isolated Stalinist state.

RFA Reports on Catholic pressure over land disputes
January 29 -- RFA Vietnam aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on Catholics in Vietnam who are stepping up pressure on authorities to return church land that was confiscated decades ago. The pressure comes amid protests by hundreds of Hanoi residents and increasingly stern warnings from the authorities.

RFA Reports on Chinese crackdown on Tibetan Buddhism
January 25-- RFA Tibet aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on China’s crackdown on Tibetan Buddhism ahead of the 2008 summer Olympics. Chinese authorities in Tibet have recruited more than 140 Tibetan youths to perform traditional dances at the forthcoming Beijing Olympics, even as they impose new curbs on Buddhist culture in the Himalayan region, sources there told RFA. “The Chinese authorities believe that monasteries are the chief centers of Tibetan culture responsible for maintaining Tibetan identity. Therefore they are cracking down on the monasteries,” a source in Tibet said in a recent interview.

RFA Reports on toxic spill in southern China
January 25 -- RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on a toxic spill in Hunan province which sickened thousands. Residents of Chenxi county in southern China say thousands of people are seeking medical attention after a local factory polluted the local water supply, although local officials said only 26 people were taken seriously ill.

RFA Reports on detention of Hu Jia supporters
January 23 -- RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on the detention of well-wishers outside AIDS activist Hu Jia's Beijing home. Chinese well-wishers and bloggers were detained and questioned by police standing guard outside the home of detained Hu Jia, and reported their experience later in blogs and online forums. Dozens of petitioners went to Hu Jia’s home in an eastern suburb of Beijing on Sunday, in a bid to bring baby formula to Hu's wife Zeng Jinyan. Zeng has been held with her baby daughter under house arrest since Hu's arrest Dec. 27 for "subverting state power." Their Internet and phone connections have been cut off.

RFA Reports on the suicide of two Tibetan monks in Shigatse
January 16 -- RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English] on the suicide of two monks in the Panchen Lama’s monastery. The two senior monks of the Tashilhunpo monastery in Tibet’s second city, Shigatse, committed suicide following a campaign of exclusion by Chinese officials there, sources in Tibet and in India have told RFA. Gyaltsen Tsepa Lobsang, 71, and Yangpa Locho, 71, were found dead by hanging Sept. 8 and Nov. 4 respectively. Both were monks at Tashilhunpo, the seat of the disputed Panchen Lama and the scene of bitter anti-Chinese protests in the mid-1990s.

RFA Reports on Lao Hmong refugees
January 15 -- RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on the UN calls for Thailand to free Lao Hmong refugees detained at a Thai immigration center for more than a year. UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokeswoman Erika Feller said the group of 149 minority Hmong should be released to third countries. “These 149 Hmong refugees are not criminals. They [have been] detained for 400 days,” she said.

RFA Reports on the trafficking of Burmese migrant workers in Malaysia
January 14 -- RFA Burma aired [text in English/Burmese] a six-part series on Burmese refugees and migrant laborers being bought and sold along the Thai-Malay border. Multiple sources indicate a complicity between lower-level Malaysian authorities and human trafficking syndicates in Malaysia.

RFA Reports on political and ideological seminars in the Uyghur autonomous region
January 11 -- RFA Uygur aired story [text in Uyghur/audio in Uyghur] on the Chinese government’s renewed and widespread political and ideological seminar in Shayar County of the Uyghur autonomous region. The political seminar aims to warn the citizens of the county against participating in so-called "illegal religious and ethnic separatist activities."

RFA Reports on mass protests over beating deaths in China
January 10 -- RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on mass protests over the beating death of a man in Central China. Thousands of Chinese citizens gathered outside government offices in the central city of Tianmen, Hubei province, in a wave of anger and sympathy after the beating death of a man by law enforcement officials. Wei Wenhua, the manager of a water resources construction company connected to the municipal government water resources department, was beaten to death by a dozen "urban management officials," or chengguan, on Jan. 7.

RFA Reports on new online censorship efforts by China
January 4 -- RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on China’s recent moves to control online video. China's government has issued a stringent new set of rules which will ban all but state-owned corporations from making and uploading video to the Internet. The new regulations were issued jointly Dec. 31 by the Ministry of Information Industry and the Bureau of Film and Television under China's cabinet, the State Council.

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