(Washington, DC — Feb. 1, 2011) Radio Free Asia broadcast the following stories, and more, in January:
RFA Reports on Chinese blocking online Egypt comments
Jan. 31 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on Chinese netizens posting angry comments about the Egyptian government’s move to unplug the Internet in the face of mass popular protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square. In doing so, they defy authorities’ attempts to limit online discussion by filtering keywords such as “Egypt” and “Cairo” on popular microblogging services. Many online comments related to the crisis have been removed.
RFA Reports on hopes dimmed for open debate in Burma parliament
Jan. 31 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on a top legislator linked to Burma’s ruling military junta dousing hopes of lively debate in the country’s first elected parliament when it convened for its opening session. “Only articulate people can conduct debate in parliament,” said ex-general and culture minister Khin Aung Myint, fresh from being elected as chairman of the upper House of Nationalities.
RFA Reports on Liu barred from New Year visits
Jan. 28 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on the Year of the Rabbit bringing little to celebrate for many Chinese political activists, including jailed Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo. Liu’s relatives have been prevented from seeing him ahead of the lunar new year despite repeated requests to authorities.
RFA Reports on rescue of Lao girls highlights trafficking problems
Jan. 27 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on dozens of underage girls from Laos and neighboring countries working under dangerous conditions in Thai factories. They were rescued in separate raids on two factories and are now undergoing rehabilitation as the Thai authorities prepare to file charges against the plant operators.
RFA Reports on China denying stealth jet rumors in press
Jan. 25 – RFA Cantonese aired story [text in English/Cantonese] on reports in China’s state-run media denying allegations that the recently unveiled Jian-20 stealth fighter plane used technology stolen from the United States. According to the Global Times, which has the direct backing of the ruling Communist Party, military officials say the plane is entirely homegrown.
RFA Reports on repatriation likely for Rohingya in Thailand
Jan. 25 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on two groups of Rohingya being held in police custody in Thailand after coming ashore on their way to Malaysia. Human rights groups fear the refugees will be repatriated to Burma where they face persecution.
RFA Reports on hard labor sentencing for Tibetan writers
Jan. 25 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on the sentencing to hard labor of three Tibetan writers, who were ordered jailed for “incitement to split the nation.” The three had 15 days to appeal after they were handed jail terms of three to four years on Dec. 30 by the Aba Intermediate People’s Court.
RFA Reports on detention of Uyghurs in Tajikistan
Jan. 24 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on the detention of three Uyghur businessmen with Turkish citizenship by authorities in Tajikistan. Their detention has sparked fears that the men are being held due to pressure from China and may eventually be extradited back to the mainland.
RFA Reports on executions in North Korea over leaflets
Jan. 24 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on two North Koreans being executed in front of 500 spectators for handling propaganda leaflets floated across the border from South Korea. The executions were carried out on January 3 and appeared to be part of a campaign by North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il’s regime to tighten ideological control as he grooms his youngest son as eventual successor.
RFA Reports on Cambodian PM Hun Sen’s 26 years of rule
Jan. 21 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen marking 26 years in power in January, making him the longest-serving leader in Southeast Asia after the Sultan of Brunei. Despite earning praise from his party for economic growth, Hun Sen’s record on corruption, human rights, and political liberties remains a concern for rights observers.
RFA Reports on Vietnamese journalist burned
Jan. 21 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on a journalist known for covering sensitive issues for a newspaper in southern Vietnam being badly burned in an attack by an unknown assailant. Le Hoang Hung, 51, has worked as a reporter for Nguoi Lao Dong (Worker) for more than 10 years, covering the southern Mekong Delta provinces.
RFA Reports on Obama, Hu confronting rights issue
Jan. 21 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on U.S. President Barack Obama underlining the importance of respecting human rights to his visiting Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao. Hu acknowledged that “a lot still needs to be done” to polish China’s rights record.
RFA Reports on jailed Chinese AIDS activist’s health failing
Jan. 17 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on jailed Chinese AIDS activist and rights campaigner Hu Jia’s health deteriorating, according to his wife Zeng Jinyan, who visited him in a Beijing prison.
RFA Reports on Uyghurs denied land compensation
Jan. 14 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on Chinese authorities withholding compensation to a large number of Uyghur families from China’s northwestern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region for vacating their land to make way for a railway. The 56 families were evicted when a Chinese state-owned company began construction on a railroad where they lived.
RFA Reports on freedom plummeting in Cambodia
Jan. 13 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Cambodia being listed among 25 countries whose freedom levels plunged in 2010. Global watchdog Freedom House in its annual survey cites an erosion of civil rights and political liberties in the Southeast Asian state, as well as the government’s consolidation of control over all aspects of the electoral process and its apparent influence over the tribunal trying former members of the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime.
RFA Reports on popular Chinese news site blocked overseas
Jan. 12 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on overseas visitors to News178.com, an online forum for China’s citizen journalists, finding their access blocked. The site, also known as First Lead Website, is the first privately funded media information provider in China, specializing in compiling news items from other media outlets, as well as posting original news.
RFA Reports on reversal on Chinese lead-poisoning case
Jan. 7 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on officials declaring a group of 23 children from the eastern Chinese province of Anhui who were taken to hospital with high levels of lead in their blood as testing “normal.” In an abrupt turnaround from previous official media reports, officials are now denying that the children were suffering from lead poisoning at all.
RFA Reports on death of Hmong general
Jan. 7 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on the passing of Vang Pao, a leader of the Hmong ethnic group of Laos who spearheaded a 15-year CIA-sponsored secret war in the Southeast Asian state during the Vietnam War. The outspoken opponent of the Lao government, who immigrated to the United States after the communists seized power in his country in 1975, died of pneumonia with heart complications at the age of 81.
RFA Reports on China censoring texts
Jan. 6 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on Chinese authorities implementing new controls on the content of text messages sent to mobile phones. Documents showing lists of hundreds of banned keywords, including “democracy,” “human rights,” and “telling the truth,” were circulated widely on the Internet.
RFA Reports on warning for China’s media
Jan. 6 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on the Chinese media being warned against using the term “civil society,” in a reflection of Beijing’s concerns over the growing participation by ordinary Chinese in public affairs, especially via the Internet. According to a report in the U.S.-based online magazine Canyu, the Southern Newspaper Group received the warning from the ruling Communist Party's powerful propaganda department.
RFA Reports on U.S. diplomat in Vietnam sustaining injuries
Jan. 6 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on a U.S. diplomat, who was attacked by Vietnamese police when he went to visit a detained religious dissident, sustaining injuries. Rights groups and U.S. lawmakers condemned the attack on Hanoi-based U.S. embassy political officer Christian Marchant, calling it a violation of international laws which afford foreign diplomats special protection.
RFA Reports on doubts swirling over Chinese activist’s death
Jan. 5 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on authorities in eastern China’s Zhejiang province saying they will try a truck driver in connection to the death of political activist and elected village chief Qian Yunhui. This comes amid widespread doubts that his death was an accident, as it was officially ruled.
RFA Reports on Burmese prisoners forced to work as military porters
Jan. 4 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English] on close to 600 prisoners secretly being removed from Burma’s Insein prison this year to work as porters for the military. The prisoners are believed to be deployed on the front line of battles being waged by the ruling military junta against armed minority ethnic groups in remote areas.