(Washington, DC — April 1, 2010) Radio Free Asia broadcast the following stories, and more, in March:
RFA Reports on missing Chinese rights attorney turning up
March 29 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on prominent Chinese civil rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng turning up alive after his whereabouts were unknown for more than a year. A friend, who spoke with Gao recently by telephone, believes that the rights lawyer may have been released by authorities but has yet to regain full liberty.
RFA Reports on personal safety fears among resettled Hmong
March 28 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on fears for personal safety among ethnic Hmong recently resettled in Laos from Thailand. In a meeting with senior foreign diplomats and journalists, a number of resettled Hmong said they would prefer to be resettled in a third country.
RFA Reports on sinking of South Korean ship.
RFA Reports on tensions rising in Burma’s Wa region
March 25 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on Burma’s ruling regime pulling out government employees from the ethnic-Chinese Wa region of Kokang, near the Chinese border. The actions have prompted fears of renewed military tensions in the area.
RFA Reports on release of Uyghur journalist sought
March 25 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on supporters of a jailed ethnic Uyghur journalist organizing an online campaign for his release. Gheyret Niyaz, 50, who worked for the Xinjiang Economic Daily, has been detained nearly six months after his detention for talking to foreign media about the deadly July 2009 ethnic riots in northwestern China.
RFA Reports on Tibetans held over for Internet misuse
March 24 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on at least 50 Tibetans being detained or sentenced for passing on information online relating to last year’s protests that swept through Tibetan regions of China.
RFA Reports on Internet still limited in northwest China
March 23 – RFA Cantonese aired story [text in English/Cantonese] on residents of China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region saying Internet services remain extremely limited, eight months after deadly ethnic rioting swept through the region’s capital city of Urumqi.
RFA Reports on Uyghurs resettled in Switzerland
March 23 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on two ethnic Uyghur detainees, both Chinese nationals, arriving in Switzerland after 8-1/2 years in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay. Switzerland agreed to resettle Bahtiyar Mahnut and Arkin Mahmud despite pressure from the Chinese government amid ongoing negotiations over a free trade agreement.
RFA Reports on Google redirecting Chinese users to uncensored search engine
March 22 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on Google redirecting China-based traffic to its uncensored Hong Kong version of its Web site. The move, which allows Chinese Internet users to use an unrestricted search engine, comes after the Internet giant threatened to leave the country because of Chinese censorship and hacker attacks two months ago.
RFA Reports on hardships, abuse of trafficked Vietnamese workers
March 22 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on Vietnamese workers in Europe describing deaths, beatings, and rapes at the hands of trafficking gangs. These networks bring them to the region illegally on foot or by truck, often through the Czech Republic.
RFA Reports on firings over Tibetan student protests
March 19 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on the firing of the Tibetan middle school headmaster in China’s Gansu province, as well as other school staff, following student protests at the institution. Dozens of students at the Tibetan Middle School in Machu staged a protest on March 14 coinciding with the second anniversary of a region-wide uprising against Chinese rule in Tibetan-populated areas of western China.
RFA Reports on Burmese child soldier returned to family
March 16 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on authorities returning a 14-year-old boy to his family after he had been conscripted into the Burmese military. Outside observers remain concerned that numerous other children continue to serve in the military.
RFA Reports on release of Vietnamese political prisoner
March 15 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on authorities in Vietnam releasing one of its best-known political prisoners, Catholic priest Nguyen Van Ly, five years early from jail. Upon his release, Ly criticized the government of Vietnam.
RFA Reports on criticism of new Burma election law
March 11 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on Burma’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi blasting the ruling junta’s new election law “shameful.” The law effectively bans Suu Kyi as a candidate on the basis that she is serving a jail sentence.
RFA Reports on clampdown in Tibet ahead of anniversary
March 10 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on Chinese authorities in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa sealing off key tourist areas and Buddhist temples in the run-up to the second anniversary of the deadly unrest in Lhasa on March 14, 2008.
RFA Reports on calls to protect Rohingya
March 9 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on calls for the U.N. refugee agency to protect a Burmese ethnic minority who have fled to Bangladesh to escape persecution.
RFA Reports on doubts over calls for government oversight in China
March 8 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on Chinese premier Wen Jiabao calling for greater government oversight by ordinary citizens and media. Analysts and netizens in China remain skeptical.
RFA Reports on jailing of Tibetan singer
March 5 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on authorities in a Tibetan area of western China jailing a local singer to prison. Singer Tashi Dhondup was put in prison without trial after he recorded and distributed CDs of songs protesting Chinese rule over Tibetans.
RFA Reports on stabbings in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region
March 4 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on police in the northwestern corner of China detaining an ethnic minority Uyghur in connection with the stabbing death of a Han Chinese and the wounding of two others. The incident raises concerns about another outbreak of unrest in the region.
RFA Reports on drought threatening Mekong crops
March 4 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on rice crops around Vietnam’s Mekong River Delta suffering from a dangerous lack of freshwater. As drought spreads across Asia, the Mekong River has fallen to its lowest levels in decades and seawater is encroaching into the lower river’s Delta area, flooding fields with salt.
RFA Reports on calls for release of Sichuan quake activist
March 3 – RFA Cantonese aired story [text in English/Cantonese] on an international writers’ group calling on Chinese authorities to release Tan Zuoren, a writer and activist based in the southwestern province of Sichuan. Tan was recently jailed after investigating structural issues related to the school buildings that collapsed during the devastating May 2008 earthquake in the region.
RFA Reports on shutdown of two Chinese microblogging sites
March 2 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on authorities finally shutting down two popular social networking platforms in China after months of suspended activity. The services, Jiwai.de and fanfou.com, were the first two online providers of Twitter-style microblogging in China.