RFA Reports (March 2017)

2017-04-19
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(Washington, DC — April 1, 2017) Radio Free Asia broadcast the following stories, and more, in March:

RFA Reports on Hong Kong Occupy leaders charged after Beijing's candidate wins election

March 27– RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on Hong Kong's Occupy Central movement leaders being summoned to face criminal charges more than two years after the event, amid fears of a politicized "purge" aimed at discouraging further protests.

RFA Reports on Cambodia deeming opposition illegitimate for ‘violating’ party by-laws

March 24 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on the government controversially ruling that the opposition party violated its own by-laws when choosing its leadership, questioning its viability to participate in upcoming elections.

RFA Reports on Chinese police pepper-spraying thousands protesting over forced evictions

March 24 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on authorities in Henan province firing pepper spray and tear gas at protesters amid clashes with thousands of residents angry over a forced eviction and demolition program.

RFA Reports on UN adopting resolution to launch rights abuses investigation in Myanmar

March 24 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Burmese] on the United Nations stating it will dispatch an independent, international fact-finding mission to investigate alleged human rights violations in western Rakhine state.

RFA Reports on Larung Gar’s removal of monastic residents ‘almost complete’

March 23 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on the forced expulsion of nearly 5,000 monks and nuns from Sichuan’s Larung Gar Buddhist Academy that began last year. Chinese authorities are still waiting on 250 residents to leave.

RFA Reports on Cambodia sentencing former soldier to life for Kem Ley murder

March 23 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on a Cambodian court sentencing a former soldier to life in prison for killing prominent political analyst Kem Ley, prompting demands for an independent inquiry into the slaying many believe was not adequately investigated.

RFA Reports on Laos stepping up patrols on Vietnam border amid drug trafficking spike

March 22 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on authorities increasing cooperation with Vietnam to deploy more security forces along their shared boundaries amid an uptick in cross-border crime.

RFA Reports on Cambodia appeals court denying Kim Sok bail

March 22 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on the lawyer of political commentator Kim Sok calling the court’s decision to deny his client bail “flawed,” saying this ruling assumes he is guilty of defamation charges without having been tried.

RFA Reports on Myanmar military seeking China’s cooperation in forging peace between borders

March 22 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Burmese] on government military chief summoning China’s ambassador to discuss the volatile situation along the border area in northern Shan state in a bid to relax relations.

RFA Reports on Vietnamese bloggers arrested for ‘spreading propaganda against the state’

March 22 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on authorities arresting two blogger activists, charging them with propaganda against the state under a controversial article of the country’s penal code used to target dissidents.

RFA Reports on Chinese demolition gangs forcibly razing homes in Guangxi

March 21 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on authorities in Guangxi province demolishing houses without their occupants' consent amid a long-running land dispute.

RFA Reports on Tibetans detained following year’s first self-immolation

March 20 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on the detention of nearly 200 Tibetan residents who rose in solidarity following the first self-immolation of the year. This protest brings the number of self-immolations by Tibetans living in China since 2009 to 147.

RFA Reports on Vietnamese priest dismissing claims oil-spill activists sparked violence

March 20 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on a Catholic priest dismissing claims that activists instigated a violent confrontation with authorities in a Formosa waste-spill protest, emphasizing that the government should help people exercise their civil right to protest.

RFA Reports on Burmese authorities warning ultranationalist monk to adhere to sermon ban

March 20 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Burmese] on Buddhist authorities warning the controversial leader of an ultranationalist Buddhist movement not to give public sermons under a one-year ban because of his repeated hate speech and anti-Muslim rhetoric.

RFA Reports on Xinjiang authorities rewarding residents for ‘tips on terrorism’

March 17 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on a prefecture government setting aside 100 million yuan (U.S. $14.5 million) to reward residents who report “suspicious” acts following a deadly knife attack.

RFA Reports on Myanmar militia expelling internal refugees by bulldozing homes

March 16 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Burmese] on a local militia clearing out refugees who have been staying in Kachin state since 2012 when they were displaced by hostilities between ethnic rebels and the government army.

RFA Reports on Cambodian environmentalists concerned over potential Mekong dam effects

March 16 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on environmental experts expressing concerns that the country’s various hydropower dams and other investment projects will harm the livelihoods of people along the Lower Mekong.

RFA Reports on former Chinese judge jailed over alleged 'ethnic hatred'

March 15 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on the jailing of a respected, retired judge in Xinjiang on suspicion of "incitement to racial hatred" after he helped workers protest their treatment by local authorities.

RFA Reports on China increasing police in Tibetan areas on controversial uprising anniversary

March 15 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on Chinese authorities strengthening forces in Tibetan areas amid official concerns that the anniversary of a 1959 national uprising against Beijing’s rule where thousands of Tibetans were killed might trigger further protests.

RFA Reports on China's annual parliament spiking highest levels of censorship to date

March 15 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on China's annual parliament being marked by stricter-than-usual controls on what the country's 720 million internet users can see or post online.

RFA Reports on Myanmar legal team appealing murder verdict in Thailand’s highest court

March 15 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Burmese] on the government sending a special legal team to appeal the verdict against two Burmese migrant workers who were sentenced to death in Thailand for the 2014 murder of a British couple.

RFA Reports on detained Chinese feminist winning new human rights honor

March 14 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on detained activist Su Changlan, who has been in pre-trial detention for over two years, receiving a prestigious human rights award from a coalition of Chinese human rights groups.

RFA Reports on Myanmar refugees seeking safety in China from Kokang conflict

March 13 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Burmese] on nearly 30,000 residents in northeastern Myanmar fleeing ongoing clashes between Kokang soldiers and the national military. Many have sought shelter in a border area where the Chinese government has set up refugee camps.

RFA Reports on Lao government auctioning luxury cars in bid to reduce corruption

March 13 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on the government auctioning 14 luxury cars previously used by the country’s leaders to cut costs and rein in corruption in the impoverished nation.

RFA Reports on South Korea's uncertain ties with U.S and North after presidential impeachment

March 10 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on the decision to uphold parliament's impeachment vote bringing fresh uncertainty at a time of rising regional tensions sparked by North Korean missile and nuclear programs.

RFA Reports on Vietnamese police detaining citizens at Sino-Vietnam war ceremony

March 10 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on plainclothes police harassing protesters who attended a ceremony commemorating a 1988 Sino-Vietnam naval skirmish that was fought in the disputed Spratly Islands of the South China Sea.

RFA Reports on North Korean women in military and construction suffering rights abuses

March 10 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on women serving in military and construction brigades being routinely abused by supervisors, with some pressured to provide sexual favors and others forced into prostitution, despite a decades-old law asserting equal rights.

RFA Reports on an elderly Uyghur woman assigned a Chinese spy as ‘daughter’

March 8 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on Xinjiang authorities assigning a spy to monitor the daily movements of an elderly Uyghur woman deemed troublesome by police, telling her that the young woman sent to visit her each day is now her “daughter.”

RFA Reports on Lao workers still being jailed a year after criticizing government online

March 7 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on Lao migrant workers who were arrested last year for criticizing the government on Facebook while living abroad are still being held in custody with no resolution in sight, prompting calls from friends and human rights groups for their release.

RFA Reports on Xinjiang police launching recruitment drive following Uyghur knife attack

March 7 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on Xinjiang police tightening security following a deadly knife attack in Hotan prefecture. The attack appeared to be motivated by anger at threats by local officials to punish the attackers for praying with their family.

RFA Reports on Vietnamese rights group fighting to improve treatment of women activists

March 7 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights calling on the government to release women detained for demanding human rights, and to revise provisions of the criminal code routinely used to imprison female activists.

RFA Reports on China keeping mum over spending that silences social unrest

March 7 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on the confusion brought by the Communist Party’s reluctance to share their defense budget, masking an even murkier subject: the money the government spends to keep its people quiet.

RFA Reports on China handing out monetary awards to ‘patriotic’ Tibetan monks

March 6 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on a new government campaign aimed at fostering Tibetan loyalty to Beijing. Chinese authorities in Qinghai province handed out awards to Tibetan monasteries deemed to have cooperated with Communist Party rule.

RFA Reports on North Korea testing four missiles to widespread condemnation

March 6 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Korea test-firing four missiles which landed in waters between the Korean peninsula and Japan, amid joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises and mounting diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang from allies and foes alike.

RFA Reports on Chinese lawyers calling for action in tainted vaccine debacle

March 6 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on a group of prominent lawyers penning an open letter to the country's parliament calling for amendments to legislation that protects children and families against tainted vaccines.

RFA Reports on Sam Rainsy urging international support ahead of Cambodia polls

March 3 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on exiled former opposition leader Sam Rainsy, urging international communities to help ensure fair elections in his country, saying Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government is seeking to eliminate his competition ahead of polls in June.

RFA Reports on Myanmar farmers protesting decade-old land grab in Kachin state

March 2 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Burmese] on farmers, who were victims of land expropriations in northern Myanmar, protesting against the Chinese company that took more than 270,000 acres from them a decade ago.

RFA Reports on Hong Kong trying to unseat pan-democratic lawmakers in oaths row

March 1 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on Hong Kong's high court moving to have four pan-democratic lawmakers stripped of their seats after they intentionally botched their oaths of office against Beijing parliament’s wishes.

RFA Reports on North Korea boosting efforts to hack defectors’ computers

March 1 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Korea stepping up its efforts to hack into the computers of defectors since last August when an outspoken senior diplomat defected to South Korea.

RFA Reports on police intercepting petitioners as thousands converge in Beijing

March 1 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on Beijing authorities launching a citywide crackdown on thousands who traveled cross-country to pursue complaints against local officials and the ruling Chinese Communist Party.