RFA Reports (March 2011)


(Washington, DC — April 1, 2011) Radio Free Asia broadcast the following stories, and more, in March:

RFA Reports on Korea talks over volcano threat

March 29 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North and South Korea holding rare face-to-face talks on research cooperation over a potential volcanic eruption from the Korean peninsula’s highest mountain.

RFA Reports on dozens of Tibetans held in crackdown

March 29 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on Chinese authorities detaining 12 Tibetans in a crackdown following the self-immolation death of a monk in protest against Beijing’s rule. The incident triggered wider demonstrations, including a hunger strike among high school students.

RFA Reports on top Chinese columnist losing job

March 29 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on a cutting-edge newspaper group in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou letting go one of its most popular columnists. The move is the latest in a string of firings and redundancies which may mark a broader media crackdown.

RFA Reports on detention of Chinese activist after Egypt article

March 28 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on authorities in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan detaining activist and writer Ran Yunfei on charges of “incitement to subvert state power” amid a growing crackdown on a new generation of Internet activists. Ran, 46, was taken from his home in the provincial capital of Chengdu after he published an article online detailing support for the Egyptian revolution.

RFA Reports on record executions in China

March 28 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on a study stating that China executed thousands of people in 2010, more than the rest of the world combined. The lack of an independent judiciary contributes to the high number of executions, according to the new report from Amnesty International.

RFA Reports on Burma earthquake toll climbing

March 25 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on the death toll following a strong earthquake that hit northeastern Burma exceeding 100. The rising death count far surpasses the reported casualties in state-controlled media in the country.

RFA Reports on Chinese dissident sentenced to 10 years

March 25 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on authorities in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan handing a 10-year jail term to a prominent dissident for “subversion of state power.” The court sentenced Liu Xianbin in a trial that lasted little more than two hours, his wife said. Liu, who previously served time in prison in connection with the 1989 pro-democracy movement, was able to utter only a brief protest at the end of the trial.

RFA Reports on protests over Nanjing’s iconic trees

March 23 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on authorities in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing, which is preparing to host the G20 international monetary conference, moving to stifle protests of the removal of the city’s landmark trees to make way for a new subway line. The felling of the iconic “wutong” trees has sparked public anger amid a campaign by netizens on popular social media sites.

RFA Reports on domestic abuse highlighted in Vietnam

March 22 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on women’s groups in Vietnam deploying a new strategy to highlight the growing problem of wife battering by publicly exhibiting objects used by the abusers.

RFA Reports on pardon request for Cambodian opposition leader

March 21 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on lawmakers from Cambodia’s opposition Sam Rainsy Party requesting that the country’s king pardon their leader after he lost an appeal of a two-year jail sentence.

RFA Reports on CCTV praising Gadhafi

March 21 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on China’s official TV network CCTV airing a documentary praising Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi as a “maverick” leader. The biographical piece ran on state television as China’s official newspapers slammed the missile and air strikes by U.S., British, and French forces as a violation of international rules and as courting new turmoil in the Middle East.

RFA Reports on Tibetan exile elections

March 20 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on Tibetans across more than a dozen countries voting to choose a new prime minister and parliament in exile. Over 83,000 Tibetans in India, North America, Europe, Japan, Taiwan, and Australia cast ballots. But around 20,000 Tibetan exiles in Nepal, which is sensitive to pressure from China, were not allowed to vote.

RFA Reports on death of Tibetan protest monk

March 17 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on the death of a Tibetan monk who set fire to himself in protest against Chinese rule. The death, later confirmed in a report by China’s official Xinhua news agency, sparked a security clampdown around the monastery of the 21-year-old monk.

RFA Reports on Cambodian teens honored at White House

March 17 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on two Cambodian teenagers who once scavenged the garbage dumps of Phnom Penh meeting with U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama on International Women’s Day at the White House. Chen Sokha, 16, and Oun Sreyna, 18, were notified of the surprise invitation to the U.S. president’s residence while preparing to take part in a women’s conference with the Chicago-based A New Day Cambodia (ANDC), a nongovernmental organization supporting their education.

RFA Reports on call for Jasmine protests at Beijing campuses

March 15 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on online activists behind China’s weekly “Jasmine” rallies reaching out for the first time to students at college campuses in the nation’s capital. The organizers, who have never been identified, announced on Chinese microblogging sites that 20 college campuses in Beijing had been designated as meeting places for peaceful “strolls” following popular uprisings that have spread through the Middle East in recent months.

RFA Reports on Burma exile paper website hacked

March 14 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on suspicions that the Burmese military junta’s cyber-warfare division may have been behind an attack on the website of Irrawaddy, an online news journal run by Burmese exile reporters. The attack against the Thailand-based website’s English news section saw the posting of two fake reports meant to “create confusion” and damage its reputation, a senior editor told RFA.

RFA Reports on Tibetan candidates debate

March 13 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on three candidates running in the Tibetan government-in-exile election discussing their positions and views on Tibetan affairs during a debate hosted by RFA. The candidates faced off in an election on March 20 to become prime minister in the Tibetan government-in-exile based in the northern hill town of Dharamsala, India.

RFA Reports on blogger detained for subversion

March 11 – RFA Cantonese aired story [text in English/Cantonese] on authorities in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang detaining prominent blogger Guo Weidong. The move comes amid an ongoing crackdown on political activists and petitioners following calls for a fourth day of "Jasmine" protests in major Chinese cities.

RFA Reports on fears over Chinese Internet controls

March 9 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on Chinese netizens expressing concerns that their government may soon have the ability to cut off access to overseas websites. Rumors were rife on the popular chat service QQ in early March that China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology was stepping up plans to funnel all Web traffic between China and overseas sites through a single route. In doing so, the government would have the option to cut off China’s Internet from the outside world entirely.

RFA Reports on criticism of China’s harassment of journalists

March 8 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on the Hong Kong Journalists Association slamming China’s treatment of foreign reporters, as authorities on the mainland crack down on “Jasmine” rallies. Foreign journalists have reported being harassed and beaten by police when trying to cover the gatherings. A spokesperson for the Hong Kong Journalists Association said the one-party communist leadership had “openly broken its own promise to the international community for democracy, freedom, and rule of law.”

RFA Reports on jailed Uyghur denied medical care

March 8 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on Chinese authorities rejecting a request for medical treatment by an ethnic Uyghur who was jailed after being forcibly repatriated from Laos despite the man’s worsening health condition. Memet Eli Rozi, 34 developed a serious infection after receiving surgery in 2009.

RFA Reports on resettled Hmong still restricted

March 7 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on thousands of Hmong residents still facing severe restrictions at home more than one year after being forcibly repatriated to Laos from Thailand. A majority of the 4,371 Hmong who were sent back since the end of 2009 live in a resettlement camp in Phonekham village, Borikhamxay province, with their movements restricted and their livelihood prospects bleak.

RFA Reports on trafficking of North Korean women

March 4 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on Chinese trafficking gangs preying on North Korean women crossing into China. Some of these women are targeted for abduction before they even leave their homes with the process beginning with brokers scouting for women willing to leave the North.

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