(Washington, DC — Aug. 1, 2013) Radio Free Asia broadcast the following stories, and more, in July:
RFA Reports on Uyghur scholar under house arrest
July 31 – RFA Mandarin and Uyghur aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Uyghur] on Uyghur scholar and activist Ilham Tohti being placed under house arrest for the fourth time this year, possibly to prevent him from speaking out as representatives from the United States and China wrapped up an annual dialogue on human rights.
RFA Reports on Shwe Mann becoming Myanmar parliamentary speaker
July 31 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on speaker of Myanmar's Lower House of Parliament Shwe Mann taking over as overall leader of the legislature. Observers expect the possible 2015 presidential candidate will collaborate more closely with lawmakers from both houses on legislation.
RFA Reports on Laos preparing for second controversial dam project
July 31 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on Laos confirming that it is clearing land for workers’ housing in advance of the controversial Don Sahong Dam project. However, work on the dam itself has not begun.
RFA Reports on Cambodian opposition leader rejecting election results
July 30 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on opposition leader Sam Rainsy claiming his party won at least 63 of the 123 seats at stake in Cambodia’s weekend parliamentary elections. This would be enough to form a government with a simple majority, thus disputing the claims of victory by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling party.
RFA Reports on refusal of Tibetan’s entry over Dalai Lama pictures
July 30 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on a Tibetan resident of India entering Tibet to visit relatives and being sent back after authorities found photos of the Dalai Lama among his possessions. The move is believed to be part of a reversal of a policy shift reported in June in which Chinese authorities are said to have told Tibetans in several areas that photos of the Dalai Lama could be openly displayed.
RFA Reports on detention of hundreds of Uyghurs over attack at dam
July 29 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on Chinese authorities detaining hundreds of ethnic minority Uyghurs in connection with a fatal knife attack on Han Chinese workers building a dam in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
RFA Reports on detentions of Tibetans in connection with self-immolation
July 26 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on Chinese authorities in Sichuan detaining at least five Tibetans in connection with the latest self-immolation in protest against Beijing’s rule. The five included the mother and teacher of 18-year-old Konchok Sonam, who torched himself while crying out for Tibetan freedom outside his monastery in the Ngaba Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture on July 20.
RFA Reports on Myanmar panel looking at constitutional changes
July 26 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on Myanmar setting up a 109-member parliamentary committee to consider amendments to the country's constitution. The changes, if enacted, could allow opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to make a bid to become president and provide greater rights for ethnic minorities.
RFA Reports on pollution of Vietnam’s freshwater resources
RFA Reports on detention of Chinese singer over tweet
July 24 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on authorities detaining an outspoken singer on public order offenses after she tweeted that she would like to "blow up" a government department. Beijing-based rights activists said they had been in touch with Wu Hongfei's friends and the local police station after she was called in for questioning.
RFA Reports on North Korean ships in Yalu River raising concerns
July 23 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on several North Korean flagged ships anchored for more than six months in the middle of the Yalu River drawing suspicion from residents across the waterway in China. North Korean ships often ply the Yalu but do not anchor for such a long period.
RFA Reports on release of political prisoners in Myanmar
July 23 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on Myanmar President Thein Sein ordering the release of more than 70 jailed political prisoners. The move comes a week after the leader’s pledge in London that there would be “no prisoners of conscience” left in the formerly military-ruled country by the end of year.
RFA Reports on Cambodian police, troops campaigning for ruling party
July 23 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Cambodian officials denying that members of the military and police are using their positions to campaign for Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party. Their use has helped to create an atmosphere of intimidation and coercion, human rights activists allege.
RFA Reports on authorities detaining Guangdong would-be protesters en masse
July 23 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong detaining a large number of people, pre-empting their plans to protest the construction of a proposed waste incinerator. The demonstration would have come days after a 30,000-strong protest led to bloody clashes with the police.
RFA Reports on Lao capital residents anticipating water shortages
July 23 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on residents of the Lao capital Vientiane bracing themselves for extended chronic water shortages following an admission by the state-owned supplying company that it cannot address the crisis immediately. The company said this is due to a lack of funds and production capacity during the country’s dry season.
RFA Reports on radical Myanmar monk speaking out after blast
July 22 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on Myanmar's radical monk Wirathu claiming that a bomb which went off near him and injured five people in Mandalay city could have been planted by Muslim extremists to “silence" him. Wirathu, who had once referred to himself as the “Buddhist Bin Laden,” proceeded with his sermon to followers of his “969” Buddhist movement following the blast.
RFA Reports on compensation for slain Chinese vendor’s family
July 22 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on China announcing compensation for the family of a slain watermelon vendor. The vendor’s death at the hands of urban management officials, or "chengguan,” sparked widespread outrage and clashes with police in Hunan's Chenzhou city.
RFA Reports on Vietnam’s sweeping Internet law
July 19 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on a on a recent decree in Vietnam restricting the dissemination of online news and information. The most recent version of Decree 72 does not require foreign companies to use internal servers, but still contains sweeping restrictions, according to a copy seen by RFA's Vietnamese Service. Decree 72 was signed by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on July 15 and will go into effect on Sept. 1.
RFA Reports on Sam Rainsy returning to Cambodia ahead of polls
July 19 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Cambodia's opposition leader Sam Rainsy returning home to a rousing welcome after four years in self-exile. Upon being received by throngs of supporters at the Phnom Penh airport, Rainsy vowed to "rescue" the country from corruption and harsh rule if his party wins the national elections.
RFA Reports on crackdown on cutting-edge Beijing film school
July 19 – RFA Cantonese aired story [text in English/Cantonese] on students at a cutting-edge independent film school in Beijing recently being ordered back to their hometowns. This incident is believed to be part of a wider crackdown on independent film festivals and filmmakers in China.
RFA Reports on worsening labor conditions in Cambodia’s garment industry
July 18 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on allegations that working conditions in Cambodia’s garment industry have worsened. A report from the International Labour Organization noted worker safety and the use of children as laborers in factories remain serious concerns.
RFA Reports on Myanmar interfaith marriage ban proposal gaining momentum
July 17 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on nationalist Buddhist monks in Myanmar collecting 2 million signatures in support of a proposed law restricting interfaith marriage. Rights groups and women’s groups have spoken out against the proposal, which follows several bouts of anti-Muslim violence in the Buddhist-majority country that have killed at least 43 people this year.
RFA Reports on detention of Chinese anti-graft activist
July 17 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on police in Beijing detaining anti-graft campaigner Xu Zhiyong on charges of disrupting public order. Xu’s lawyers allege his detention is part of a widening crackdown on activists who have called on China’s Communist Party leaders to declare their assets.
RFA Reports on call for action on workplace gender discrimination in China
July 12 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on seven top women lawyers calling on China's Supreme People's Court in Beijing to set up a women's rights tribunal. The proposed panel would handle a huge backlog of legal challenges linked to workplace discrimination.
RFA Reports on Red Cross allegations shining light on China’s organ trade
July 12 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on allegations that the Chinese Red Cross has been involved in trading transplant organs for cash, putting China’s organ trade business in the spotlight. Organ transplantation in China has long been criticized as opaque, profit-driven, and unethical.
RFA Reports on protests stalling Guangdong nuclear plant
July 12 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on Chinese authorities agreeing to extend public consultations on a planned nuclear fuel processing plant near Jiangmen city in the southern province of Guangdong. The concession came after hundreds of people took to the streets to express opposition to the controversial facility.
RFA Reports on clampdown on Uyghur Muslims during Ramadan
July 11 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on Uyghur Muslims in oil-rich Karamay city in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region being banned from holding private religious discussions and traveling to mosques outside their residential areas during Islam's holy month of Ramadan. The restrictions follow deadly incidents in the area.
RFA Reports on Hong Kong textbooks sparking brainwashing fears
July 11 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on politicians in Hong Kong criticizing a new "patriotic education" textbook backed by the ruling Chinese Communist Party and issued for use in the territory's primary schools. They say it is a disguised attempt to brainwash schoolchildren rather than teach them about civics.
RFA Reports on Cambodian officials dismissing U.S. lawmakers’ bid to cut off aid
July 10 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Cambodia dismissing a threat by U.S. lawmakers to cut off aid amid concerns over the legitimacy of an upcoming general election. A day after lawmakers in Washington urged President Barack Obama’s administration to discontinue aid to Cambodia unless Prime Minister Hun Sen allows free elections on July 28, Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said aid does not make his country beholden to the United States.
RFA Reports on speculations about missing Lao activist’s well-being
July 9 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on some foreign diplomats in Vientiane expressing the unlikelihood that Lao civil society leader Sombath Somphone is still alive. Sombath was last seen driving on the outskirts of the Lao capital Vientiane on Dec. 15 last year when he was stopped in his vehicle by police and then transferred into another vehicle.
RFA Reports on Chinese opening fire at Dalai Lama celebration
July 8 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on Chinese security forces shooting and wounding at least eight Tibetans in Sichuan. The shootings occurred when Chinese police fired gunshots and used tear gas to disperse about 1,000 monks and nuns who had gathered to mark the birthday of Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
RFA Reports on criticism for Myanmar media law
July 5 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on a government-appointed group aimed at bringing about media reforms in Myanmar giving the thumbs-down to a controversial press law adopted by legislators. The group claims the legislation disregards its recommendations and restricts freedom of the press.
RFA Reports on calls for transparency ahead of Urumqi uprising anniversary
July 4 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur/Mandarin/Cantonese] on Uyghur scholars and human rights advocates calling for official transparency from Beijing ahead of the anniversary of the July 5, 2009 ethnic violence in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Calls have renewed for China to come forward on the fates of “disappeared” Uyghur men.
RFA Reports on release of Tibetan nuns
July 1 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on Chinese authorities in Sichuan province releasing six Tibetan nuns from prison about a year before their sentences were due to expire. All had been jailed for their roles in peaceful protests challenging Beijing’s rule in Tibetan areas.
RFA Reports on calls for water safety transparency in Nanjing
July 1 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on activists in the eastern city of Nanjing calling on the ruling Chinese Communist Party to make public details of drinking water quality. Their requests follow a clampdown on the industry last year and amid growing fears after a series of food safety scandals.
RFA Reports on Vietnam prison riot
July 1 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on inmates in Vietnam seizing a prison for several hours, taking the facility’s chief hostage to demand better conditions. The riot involving dozens of inmates broke out at the Xuan Loc Prison in Dong Nai.
RFA Reports on border guards rotation hampering North Korean defections
July 1 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Korea more frequently changing the guards posted along its border with China in order to prevent “corruption.” The rotations also make it harder for would-be defectors to escape.
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