RFA Reports (July 2010)


(Washington, DC — Aug. 1, 2010) Radio Free Asia broadcast the following stories, and more, in July:

RFA Reports on seizing of Burmese biography of Kim Jong Il

July 30 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on North Korean embassy officials in Burma seizing hundreds of copies of a biography of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il written by a Burmese author. Officials allege the book contains errors, according to author Hein Latt.

RFA Reports on clampdown on Cantonese campaign

July 30 – RFA Cantonese aired story [text in English/Cantonese] on Chinese officials denying reports of thousands of people taking part in mass protests in support of the Cantonese language in the face of Beijing imposed limits of its use. Activists participating in the demonstrations in Guangzhou reported intimidation by national security police.

RFA Reports on toll rising in Nanjing blast

July 29 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on authorities in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing saying the death toll from a massive gas explosion at a plastics factory was still rising with the discovery of more bodies under the rubble. The blast, which killed 13 and injured 100 people, was triggered by salvage teams excavating the site when they breached a propylene gas pipe with a mechanical digger.

RFA Reports on Uyghur webmasters sentenced

July 28 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on three Web administrators, all members of the Uyghur ethnic minority, being sentenced to jail for publishing content deemed politically sensitive by the Chinese government.

RFA Reports on Chinese lead poisonings

July 27 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on more than 80 children in the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan suffering from lead poisoning linked to illegal gold smelting in the region.

RFA Reports on sentencing of Khmer Rouge official

July 26 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on survivors of the former Khmer Rouge chief of Cambodia’s infamous Tuol Sleng prison lashing out at a prison term handed to him by a U.N.-backed war crimes tribunal. They say the 67-year-old Kaing Guek Eav – known by his Khmer Rouge alias, Duch – who presided over the torture and killing of thousands could still one day walk free.

RFA Reports on Vietnamese protests over youth’s death

July 26 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on police in Vietnam’s northeastern province of Bac Giang using tear gas and batons to break up a protest by hundreds of villagers over the apparent death in police custody of a local youth. Witnesses who asked not to be named told RFA an unknown number of people were injured, while others were seen being taken into custody. One witness said protesters had set fire to several police cars.

RFA Reports on 10-year quest in China for answers in brother’s death

July 23 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on Wang Shengli petitioning authorities in the northern Chinese port city of Tianjin for a decade over the death of his younger brother Wang Shengjie in prison. Hounded by local officials and sentenced to a year in a labor camp in 2008 for disturbing public order, Wang said his plight has left him on the edge of complete despair.

RFA Reports on North Koreans in U.S. helping families back home

July 23 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Korean defectors living in the United States sending funds back to their poverty-stricken relatives. Since the United States opened its doors to North Korean defectors in 2004, close to 100 have been granted residency.

RFA Reports on Chinese blogosphere self-censorship

July 22 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on some Chinese bloggers receiving calls from hosting sites asking them to refrain from posting items deemed “sensitive.” One Beijing-based writer, who asked not to be named, said he received a phone call from an administrator at Chinese portal Sina.com asking him to abstain from blogging items that could draw the attention of authorities.

RFA Reports on findings on Tibetan 2008 crackdown

July 22 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on a report stating that Chinese security forces fired on unarmed crowds during protests and rioting in March 2008 and abused Tibetans in detention. The report, from the New York-based Human Rights Watch, concludes that Chinese forces in Lhasa, Tibetan Autonomous Region, broke international law – including prohibitions against disproportionate use of force, torture, and arbitrary detention, as well as the right to peaceful assembly.

RFA Reports on jailed Uyghur journalist

July 22 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on an ethnic Uyghur journalist being arrested for talking to foreign media about the deadly July 2009 ethnic riots in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Gheyret Niyaz, 51, was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

RFA Reports on Dalai Lama exchange with Chinese netizens

July 21 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader trying a new tack in reaching out to the Chinese people. The Dalai Lama is engaging China’s millions of netizens through direct discussions via social media platform Twitter. This month’s exchange was the second time since May the Dalai Lama has held an online forum with netizens.

RFA Reports on abuse of Cambodian sex workers

July 20 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Cambodian authorities routinely and unlawfully detaining and abusing sex workers. Police beat prostitutes with fists, sticks, wooden handles, and electric batons and, on occasion, raped them in detention, according to a recent report by Human Rights Watch.

RFA Reports on clashes in China over land grab

July 19 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on clashes in China involving thousands of people outside government offices near Suzhou’s flagship high-tech industrial park. Residents of the region are protesting government appropriation of their land and alleging corruption over a property deal.

RFA Reports on Chinese lawyers’ licenses withheld

July 18 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on Chinese authorities refusing to renew the professional licenses of several prominent rights lawyers this year. Other rights lawyers have been forced to clear extra hurdles before passing China’s annual legal inspection of attorneys, which has been criticized as a mechanism to control what cases lawyers represent.

RFA Reports on battered Uyghur woman seeking return

July 16 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on the unsuccessful attempts by an ethnic Uyghur woman living in Pakistan to return home to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Despite Asyem Kerem’s repeated pleas to the staff at the Chinese embassy in Islamabad for help in leaving a domestic abuse situation, she has not received assistance.

RFA Reports on North Korean poster hinting at role in sinking

July 15 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Korea’s government circulating a propaganda poster within the country that appears to hint at its role in the recent sinking of a South Korean warship. The government has previously denied responsibility for the incident that left 46 South Korean sailors dead. The poster, in a photograph obtained by RFA, shows a helmeted North Korean sailor smashing a naval ship in two. “We will smash you with a single blow if you attack!” it reads.

RFA Reports on China targeting microblogs

July 14 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on Chinese authorities ordering companies that provide microblogging services such as Twitter to step up online monitoring of content. The move comes as Chinese Internet service providers suspend their popular update services for “maintenance and testing”.

RFA Reports on Urumqi simmering a year after deadly unrest

July 8 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on hatred continuing to simmer just below the surface a year after deadly rioting left at least 200 people dead in the northwestern city of Urumqi. Both Han Chinese and Muslim Uyghurs feel they have been unfairly treated.

RFA Reports on Chinese sentencing of U.S. citizen

July 6 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on authorities in the Chinese capital handing an eight-year prison sentence to a Chinese-American scientist for trafficking in state secrets. The sentencing is the long-awaited outcome of the trial of Geologist Xue Feng, a naturalized U.S. citizen who settled in Houston, Texas, who was convicted of selling information he claims was commercially available.

RFA Reports on sentencing of Tibetan environmentalist

July 4 – RFA Tibeten aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on award-winning Tibetan environmentalist Rinchen Samdrup, 44, being sentenced to five years in prison on charges of “inciting to split the nation.” Samdrup’s sentence comes just over one week after his brother and fellow environmentalist, Karma Samdrup, was sentenced to the maximum penalty of 15 years for grave robbery – charges that had been originally dropped in 1998.

RFA Reports on Lao Chinatown dropped

July 1 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on a Chinese-Lao joint venture pulling out of a deal to develop a Suzhou-style “model city” on the outskirts of the Lao capital, Vientiane. The “New City Development Project,” which involved a 50-year lease for 1,000 hectares of land in and around the That Luang Marsh, required the group to pay roughly 7,000 households a total of 400 million USD in compensation for relocating their homes.

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