RFA Reports (June 2013)

2013-07-22
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(Washington, DC — July 1, 2013) Radio Free Asia broadcast the following stories, and more, in June:

RFA Reports on Cambodia lifting FM ban on foreign news ahead of election

June 30 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Cambodia overturning a much-criticized order banning local FM radio stations from broadcasting foreign programs ahead of the general election. Prime Minister Hun Sen's administration had come under fire from the United States as well as foreign and local rights groups for directing all FM stations to cease rebroadcasting foreign-produced, Khmer-language radio programs in the run-up to the July 28 elections. Some media restrictions remain in place, however.

RFA Reports on Chinese officials confirming deaths in Uyghur protest crackdown

June 30 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on local authorities in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region confirming that police fired at hundreds of minority ethnic Muslim Uyghurs protesting the arrest of a young religious leader and closure of a mosque. They acknowledged that up to 15 people may have been killed and 50 others injured in the violence that hit the region.

RFA Reports on Ambassador Locke’s Lhasa visit

June 28 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on Chinese authorities carefully staging the visit of U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke to Tibet’s regional capital Lhasa to play down heightened security and recent unrest. “The police posts and armored vehicles stationed in Lhasa city and the [central] Barkhor area were gone,” RFA’s source said.

RFA Reports on deadly dengue fever outbreak in Laos

June 28 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on a deadly surge in dengue fever cases gripping Laos. At least 50 people are dead so far this year in an outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease expected to be one of the country’s worst.

RFA Reports on Kachin fighting defying Myanmar ceasefire

June 27 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on fresh fighting between Kachin rebels and government troops in northern Myanmar, causing civilians to flee. The fighting defies May’s ceasefire agreement.

RFA Reports on black apples growing near mines in China

June 27 – RFA Cantonese aired story [text in English/Cantonese] on orchards in the northern Chinese province of Hebei producing a crop of black apples this year amid growing complaints over pollution from extensive mining in the area.

RFA Reports on China allowing Dalai Lama images in certain areas

June 26 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on Chinese authorities in Tibetan-populated areas of Qinghai and Sichuan allowing monks to openly venerate the Dalai Lama as a religious leader but not a “political” one. The move appears to be confined to the two provinces but still reverses a longstanding Chinese policy of forcing Tibetan monks and nuns to denounce the exiled spiritual leader, whom Beijing has described as a dangerous separatist seeking to “split” Tibet away from China.

RFA Reports on detention of Vietnamese blogger

June 25 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on authorities in northern Vietnam detaining a young blogger for several hours, interrogating him about his activism and confiscating copies of a controversial book. The incident occurred amid a growing crackdown on online dissent that has seen several netizens arrested recently.

RFA Reports on Lao dams, mining ruining major waterway

June 25 – RFA Lao and Khmer aired story [text in English/Lao/Khmer] on dam building and gold mining in southern Laos ruining water quality downstream on the Sekong River in Cambodia. The activities undertaken by Lao and Vietnamese companies on the Sekong’s tributaries are making the river water undrinkable.

RFA Reports on riot police raiding Chinese dissident’s legal team

June 25 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on riot police in the southern Chinese island province of Hainan raiding the hotel rooms of four rights lawyers. The lawyers, who had arrived to defend a dissident writer, were escorted back to the provincial capital.

RFA Reports on pesticides tainting Chinese herbs

June 25 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on Chinese medicinal and cooking herbs posing long-term health risks. Recent laboratory analysis shows many contaminated by pesticides.

RFA Reports on Vietnamese dissident’s hunger strike ending after concession

June 21 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on jailed prominent Vietnamese dissident Cu Huy Ha Vu ending a hunger strike after authorities agreed to examine his complaint over prison abuses. The incident is being hailed as a rare human rights victory in the one-party state.

RFA Reports on Nike calling for probe into Cambodian factory crackdown

June 21 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Nike calling on the Cambodian government to launch an independent inquiry into a police crackdown on workers at a factory making sportswear for the U.S. multinational corporation. The request comes after reports of violence causing two pregnant women to miscarry and leaving others injured at the facility outside Phnom Penh.

RFA Reports on Myanmar monk denying role in anti-Muslim violence

June 21 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on prominent Myanmar nationalist Buddhist monk Wirathu denying the media label of being the “Burmese Bin Laden” in the recent surge of communal violence against Muslims. Wirathu is the leader of the “969” Buddhist movement— the name of which refers to the various virtues of the Buddha and which calls on its followers to boycott Muslim businesses and social circles.

RFA Reports on Cambodia decrying trafficking report

June 20 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Cambodia lashing out at the U.S. State Department for downgrading the country’s ranking in its annual report on human trafficking. Cambodian officials blamed “cultural barriers” for hampering efforts to fight the problem.

RFA Reports on calls for transparency of Chinese labor camp reforms

June 20 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on Chinese authorities quietly reforming the country's controversial "re-education through labor" system amid growing calls for public information on the process. Beijing-based rights lawyer Li Fangping said the authorities appeared to be carrying out the reforms under a veil of secrecy.

RFA Reports on Chen Guangcheng’s brother petitioning over attacks

June 19 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on the brother of Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng petitioning the ruling Chinese Communist Party over promises it made to investigate attacks on the family. Chen Guangfu traveled to the capital along with 12 petitioners making complaints about abuses under China's draconian "one-child" policy, a group to which Chen Guangcheng had previously offered legal advice and support.

RFA Reports on headscarf ban for Uyghur women

June 18 – RFA Mandarin and Uyghur aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Uyghur] on gas stations in China's western Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region displaying notices calling on Muslim women to remove their veils if they wish to be served. The ban comes after the implementation of similar restrictions on attire in all government buildings and offices in Hotan city.

RFA Reports on Aung San Suu Kyi discussing changes to Myanmar charter

June 18 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on leaders of five of Myanmar’s ethnic political parties meeting with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to discuss amending the country’s military-backed constitution. Leaders of the five parties from the United Nationalities Alliance and Aung San Suu Kyi also agreed that Myanmar should work toward eventually adopting a federal political system that would give more autonomy to ethnic states.

RFA Reports on Cambodian opposition criticizing campaign disruptions

June 18 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on leaders of Cambodia’s main opposition calling out the ruling party’s attempts to disrupt campaign activities. These efforts, the opposition claims, are intended to hinder their chances of making gains in the coming election.

RFA Reports on concerns over southern Chinese secret societies

June 18 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on authorities in southern China becoming increasingly worried about a growing number of secret, mutual assistance societies that have sprung up in recent years to address growing social inequalities.

RFA Reports on concerns over Lao activist’s disappearance

June 14 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on the deepening mystery behind the disappearance of respected civil society leader Sombath Somphone in Laos. Lao authorities have reported little progress on the 60-year-old community worker's case amid concerns for his safety by fellow activists—some of whom fear that his disappearance could be tied to his human rights work and that he may have been abducted by security groups linked to the government.

RFA Reports on North Korea further restricting smuggled goods from South

June 13 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Korea stepping up restrictions on goods smuggled in from South Korea amid tensions between the two neighbors. Traders are complaining that bribing officials and removing manufacturer labels are no longer enough to get the items past customs.

RFA Reports on jailing of two Tibetan singers

June 13 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on the jailing of two detained Tibetan singers for distributing politically sensitive songs, including songs praising self-immolations in protest against Beijing’s rule. The sentencing of the pair, who have been held already for almost a year, came after from a closed-door court hearing.

RFA Reports on Henan riot police dispersing mine protesters

June 12 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on authorities in the central Chinese province of Henan sending in riot police to disperse thousands of local residents protesting subsidence linked to a local mining operation. More than 3,000 villagers from Henan's Xuchang county maintained a 24-hour silent vigil for more than 12 days over the Quandian coal mine, which they say has devastated the ground near their homes, swallowed up a road, and left cracks in their houses.

RFA Reports on plight of North Korean orphans in China

June 12 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on parentless North Korean children who flee to China with the hopes of resettling eventually in a third country. The recent deportation by Laos of nine orphaned North Korean defectors has thrown a spotlight on this issue.

RFA Reports on self-immolation of Tibetan nun

June 11 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on a Tibetan nun setting herself ablaze during a large religious gathering in China’s Sichuan province in protest against Beijing’s rule in Tibetan areas. The woman, who has not been identified, self-immolated near Nyatso monastery in Tawu county.

RFA Reports on detention of Chinese labor camp filmmaker

June 11 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on the detention of a Beijing-based filmmaker who exposed abuses of inmates at the Masanjia women's labor camp. Du Bin has been held in the Fengtai district detention center in a southern suburb of Beijing since May 31 on suspicion of public order offenses linked to his recent publications.

RFA Reports on house church crackdown in Shandong

June 11 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on authorities in the eastern Chinese province of Shandong launching a crackdown on two unofficial Protestant house churches. House churches in Shandong's Linshu and Yutai counties have been ordered to close, pastor Zhang Mingxuan, who heads the nationwide Protestant Chinese House Church Alliance, told RFA.

RFA Reports on Myanmar ethnic groups establishing unified party

June 11 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on more than a dozen ethnic groups within a loose alliance agreeing to establish a unified political party in a bid to secure greater representation for Myanmar’s minorities in the national parliament ahead of 2015 elections. The 15 participants do not include some of the major ethnic groups such as the Kachin, Karen, Kayah, and Bamar ethnic communities, however.

RFA Reports on Aung San Suu Kyi, Shwe Mann likely facing off in presidential run

June 10 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on Myanmar's parliamentary speaker Shwe Mann announcing he will run for president in 2015, likely facing opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. "I will run for president because it is the key post to work for the betterment of the country and the people’s interest," he told RFA's Myanmar Service during a visit to Washington.

RFA Reports on sentencing of Liu Xiaobo’s brother

June 10 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on authorities in the Chinese capital handing a lengthy jail term to the brother-in-law of jailed Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo for "fraud." Liu Hui, 43, was sentenced to 11 years of imprisonment, two years' deprivation of political rights, and a 10,000 yuan (U.S. $1,630) fine in connection with a property dispute.

RFA Reports on stifling of Cambodian opposition ahead of elections

June 6 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen attempting to purge opposition lawmakers from parliament ahead of elections at the end of July. The ruling party is also attempting to prosecute a key opposition leader on charges linking him to the Khmer Rouge movement.

RFA Reports on Chinese activist’s detention over Tiananmen anniversary photo

June 4 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on authorities in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu detaining a political activist on suspicion of "subversion." He was held after posting a photo of the 1989 pro-democracy movement on a popular social media site just before the 24th anniversary of the bloody crackdown on the student-led protests in Tiananmen Square.

RFA Reports on Vietnamese beating anti-China protesters

June 3 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on Vietnamese authorities branding anti-China protesters as “thieves and prostitutes” and brutally beating them at a demonstration against the recent ramming of a Vietnamese trawler by Chinese navy vessels.

RFA Reports on confiscation of Uyghur farmland
June 3 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on Chinese authorities grabbing farmland in a northern ethnic Uyghur village in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The confiscation came after the farmers refused to accept monetary compensation less than one-tenth the market value of their properties.

RFA Reports on divided views on Myanmar’s two-child policy for Rohingya

June 3 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on divided views among opposition parties in Myanmar over a controversial law limiting Muslim Rohingya families to two children each. The policy in Rakhine state was initially introduced in 2005 and reaffirmed in June for Rohingyas in townships along the Bangladesh border, drawing widespread condemnation as being discriminatory.

RFA Reports on Hungary expelling exile Uyghur official during conference

June 1 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on authorities in Hungary expelling a visiting senior official of the World Uyghur Congress and taking other actions that caused the abrupt cancellation of the group's youth wing meeting in Budapest. Critics claim Hungary gave into pressure from China.

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