RFA Reports (May 2015)

2015-06-26
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(Washington, DC — June 1, 2015) Radio Free Asia broadcast the following stories, and more, in May:

RFA Reports on North Korea covering up deadly maritime accident

May 29 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Korea concealing a deadly collision between a Russian submarine and a North Korean patrol ship along with several fishing boats. Nineteen people died in the accident that occurred nearly a year ago.

RFA Reports on rampant graft in China’s state media

May 29 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on an editor working for a web portal with close ties to the ruling Chinese Communist Party under investigation for blackmail. Xu Hui, a deputy editor at People.cn, allegedly approached various companies and threatened to publish negative news stories about them unless they purchased advertising on the site.

RFA Reports on Chinese police killing two Uyghurs involved in bomb attack

May 28 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on Chinese authorities shooting and killing two young Uyghur men who had launched a crude bomb attack on a police patrol. Police later ordered local residents to join a search for four others who fled the scene.

RFA Reports on Lao woman detained for posting photos to Facebook

May 28 – RFA Laos aired story [text in English/Lao] on Lao authorities detaining a woman for a week after she posted photos on Facebook allegedly showing police officers extorting money from her brother over a traffic violation. Officers were furious when they saw the pictures online, which drew attention and comments from other Lao Facebook users.

RFA Reports on Uyghurs using Chinese smugglers to flee to Turkey

May 28 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on Uyghurs relying on Chinese smugglers to transport them into neighboring Southeast Asian countries en route to Turkey. Nearly 370 Uyghurs are being held in Thai detention centers after entering the country illegally.

RFA Reports on Chinese censors deleting Tiananmen editorial

May 27 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on China ordering Chinese media to delete an editorial written about the Tiananmen massacre. The editorial was a rebuke to an open letter written by overseas Chinese students detailing the 1989 military crackdown on democracy protesters, but the move backfired as it generated more awareness of the original letter.

RFA Reports on anti-Rohingya protest in Myanmar

May 27 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on monks and activists staging a protest urging the Myanmar government not to tale back Rohingya Muslim refugees. Scores of Rohingya have been rescued or are still stuck at sea after fleeing the country.

RFA Reports on Tibetan mother of two burning to death in protest

May 27 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on a Tibetan woman setting herself ablaze and dying in the second self-immolation protest in May. Sangye Tso, 36, set herself on fire outside Chinese police headquarters to protest Beijing’s rule in Tibet.

RFA Reports on Tibetans detained for sharing ‘politically sensitive’ materials on WeChat

May 26 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on Chinese authorities detaining two Tibetans for transmitting writings and images of the Dalai Lama over WeChat. Such content is deemed politically sensitive by Chinese authorities.

RFA Reports on Tibetan father of four self-immolating

May 26 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on a Tibetan man setting himself on fire to protest Chinese rule in Tibet. It is unknown whether Tenzin Gyatso, 35, survived.

RFA Reports on Chinese-funded Nicaraguan canal project

May 26 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on a controversial $50 billion canal project being funded by a mysterious Chinese businessman. Work has started on what would be the world’s largest construction project, though locals and environmentalists have serious concerns about the canal’s impact.

RFA Reports on Tibetans detained, beaten for protesting construction near sacred site

May 26 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on Chinese authorities cracking down on villagers protesting the construction of a mine on a sacred mountain. The project had previously been halted after locals protested, but construction has since resumed.

RFA Reports on Malaysia denying entry to Hong Kong activist

May 26 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on prominent Hong Kong student protest leader Joshua Wong being denied entry to Malaysia. Wong had been invited to a youth activism forum but was turned away by immigration officials at the airport.

RFA Reports on Cambodia threatening social media users

May 26 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government threatening legal action against people who criticize public officials on social media. A government spokesperson sent letters to two government ministries urging them to criminally charge Internet users who “insult” or “defame” government officials online.

RFA Reports on China warning ‘religious’ Party members

May 25 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on China’s Communist Party warning its members who harbor religious beliefs or take part in religious activities. The announcement stated that “Chinese citizens have the freedom of religious belief, but Communist Party members aren’t the same as regular citizens.”

RFA Reports on China barring Tibetans from leaving the country

May 22 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on China banning Tibetans in China from traveling overseas on package tours. A Chinese tourism office issued a directive ordering travel agents not to accept Chinese citizens from Tibetan areas or any ethnic Tibetans from any area.

RFA Reports on Cambodia warning UN officials to end criticism

May 21 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Cambodia’s Foreign Minister warning UN officials to end their criticism of a proposed law that could restrict NGOs’ work in the country. The UN officials slammed the government for drafting the law without consulting civil society organizations who had asked to be included in the process.

RFA Reports on North Korean defense engineers frustrated by Kim’s boasts

May 20 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Korean defense engineers frustrated over regime leader Kim Jong Un’s boasts about development of new weapons technology. Some of the country’s submarine technicians believe the public announcement will have “a negative impact” but they cannot openly criticize the move.

RFA Reports on leaked files revealing inner workings of China’s ‘50-Cent Army’

May 20 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on a Chinese hacker group exposing 100 internal documents that reveal the inner workings of the online propaganda network known as the “50-Cent Army.” The documents offer an unprecedented glimpse into the Chinese Internet propaganda machine.

RFA Reports on Lao officials misusing public funds

May 20 – RFA Laos aired story [text in English/Lao] on Lao officials using state funds to build roads to their private homes. Outraged citizens say such funds would be better spent on repairing main thoroughfares used by the public.

RFA Reports on Cambodia’s Hun Sen threatening to strip opposition leader of role

May 19 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen threatening to call a parliamentary vote to remove opposition party second-in-command Kem Sokha from his role as vice president of the country’s legislature if he continues to lob accusations at the ruling party. Hun Sen warned that lawmakers from his ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) could easily strip the vice president of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) of his title, as the ruling party controls a majority of seats in the legislature.

RFA Reports on police beating anti-China activist in Ho Chi Minh City

May 19 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on plainclothes police officers beating an outspoken anti-China activist, sending him to the hospital with a broken nose. The man told RFA he was targeted in an alleyway soon after leaving his house.

RFA Reports on detention of Vietnamese blogger at Hanoi airport

May 18 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on authorities detaining a blogger as he returned to Hanoi from Singapore, where he attended a workshop hosted in part by Radio Free Asia. The workshop was a training event on the use of a new mobile tool to promote citizen journalism.

RFA Reports on protest battle over Chinese railway

May 18 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on dozens of people being injured and detained in clashes over a new railway stop in their neighborhood in China’s Sichuan province. Protesters were demanding that a new railway line pass through their county.

RFA Reports on villagers protesting dredging company

May 18 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on villagers blocking a sand-dredging company’s trucks in an act of protest. The villagers asked the local government to stop the dredging to prevent the further collapse of a riverbank.

RFA Reports on North Korea prohibiting foreign movie watching

May 14 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Korean authorities prohibiting citizens from watching foreign movies, especially Chinese ones. Authorities reinforced the ban following the arrest of two South Koreans accused of espionage after allegedly collecting military secrets inside North Korea.

RFA Reports on China banning Tibetans and Uyghurs from Chinese hotels

May 14 – RFA Mandarin, Cantonese and Uyghur aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese/Uyghur] on Tibetans and Uyghurs being placed on a security blacklist barring them from use of hotels in major Chinese cities. Hotel staff have been instructed to inform local police when they try to check in.

RFA Reports on Myanmar official denying reports of Rohingya among rescued refugees

May 13 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on an official denying reports that Rohingya Muslims are among the refugees rescued off the coasts of Malaysia and Indonesia. The Rohingya have been fleeing Myanmar for years in the face of persecution.

RFA Reports on North Korean prison closing after inmates escape

May 13 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Korea’s decision to close one of the country’s most notorious political prison camps. The decision was prompted by the escape of two former inmates to China, sources told RFA.

RFA Reports on Chinese authorities recalling, holding Uyghur passports

May 13 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on Chinese authorities stopping the issuance of new passports and recalling all existing passports. Police are holding onto the passports in a widening security clampdown on Uyghur areas.

RFA Reports on Vietnam prosecuting former editor for reporting graft

May 12 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on Vietnamese authorities pursuing charges against an editor whose newspaper ran reports exposing cases of alleged corruption. Kim Quoc Hoa was stripped of his post at The Elderly for posting “fabricated information” in violation of Vietnam’s journalism law.

RFA Reports on trial beginning for Myanmar student activists

May 12 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on more than 70 student activists going on trial to face unlawful assembly and rioting charges. The charges stem from a protest calling for education reform in the central Myanmar town of Letpadan.

RFA Reports on murder of Cambodian opposition activist

May 11 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Cambodian authorities investigating the murder of an activist to determine if the killing was politically motivated. The activist had recently defected from the country’s majority royalist party.

RFA Reports on China jailing activist for five years

May 11 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on an anti-corruption activist facing a five-year jail term after he organized human rights and social justice-focused gatherings. He also tweeted in support of a fellow activist.

RFA Reports on Lao governor implicated in land grab

May 11 – RFA Laos aired story [text in English/Lao] on a Lao governor appropriating nearly 6,000 square meters of land from a local villager. The land has been earmarked for sale to the country’s central bank for the construction of a new bank building.

RFA Reports on Myanmar fighter jet attacks on Kachin rebels

May 8 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on the Myanmar army deploying two fighter jets to attack Kachin Independence Army (KIA) positions after the KIA used landmines against government troops. The attack came on the same day that President Thein Sein met with multiple armed groups to discuss a national cease-fire.

RFA Reports on armed ethnic groups threatening to pull out of Myanmar cease-fire deal

May 8 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on three armed ethnic groups threatening to pull out of Myanmar’s draft nationwide cease-fire agreement. A cease-fire, if reached, would end decades of civil war in the country.

RFA Reports on China media website targeting ‘false information

May 7 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on China issuing a list of 381 media organizations that are permitted to syndicate online news content. The move is a bid to stamp out “false information” on China’s highly censored Internet.

RFA Reports on villagers opposing power plant in western Myanmar

May 6 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on hundreds of residents opposing plans for a Korean coal-fired power plant to be built in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state. Locals oppose the $2.5 billion project out of concern for potential environmental damage and its impact on the health of local villagers.

RFA Reports on Chinese authorities ordering Muslim Uyghurs to sell alcohol, cigarettes

May 4 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on authorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region ordering Muslim Uyghur shop owners to sell alcohol and cigarettes or face closure of their establishments. The announcement was issued despite widespread public backlash, as the use of such products is discouraged by followers of Islam.

RFA Reports on six Uyghurs dying in village police operation

May 1 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on six Uyghurs being killed after state security surrounded a house and an explosion went off inside. The six Uyghurs who were killed were accused of being terrorists.

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