(Washington, DC — June 1, 2011) Radio Free Asia broadcast the following stories, and more, in May:
RFA Reports on sentencing of seven Vietnamese activists
May 30 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on a court in Vietnam sentencing seven land rights campaigners and democracy activists to between two and eight years in jail for "subversion" in one of the biggest political trials in recent years.
RFA Reports on Uyghur seeking asylum set for China deportation
May 27 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on an ethnic Uyghur, once acknowledged by the U.N. as a refugee, being set for extradition to China after a Kazakh court refused to grant him political asylum. Ershidin Israil fled to Kazakhstan in the aftermath of deadly riots in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and has been held by Kazakh authorities since June last year amid Chinese accusations he was involved in "terrorism." In China, he is likely to face harsh punishment in a specific case of informing RFA about the death in custody of a fellow Uyghur held by authorities for alleged involvement in July 2009 riots in Xinjiang’s capital Urumqi.
RFA Reports on clampdown on Mongolian protests
May 27 – RFA Uyghur and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Uyghur/Cantonese] on authorities in China clamping down on protests in Inner Mongolia by nomadic herders against development of the region's grasslands. Authorities arrested dozens and sealed off roads and schools in major towns and cities.
RFA Reports on cell phone boost in North Korea
May 25 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on mobile subscribers in impoverished North Korea numbering more than half a million. The high use of mobile devices suggests that cell phones are no longer exclusively for the wealthy and elite.
RFA Reports on security tight ahead of Tiananmen anniversary
May 23 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on authorities in the Chinese capital boosting security ahead of the anniversary of a 1989 military crackdown on student-led pro-democracy protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. Dissidents and rights activists said Beijing police began a fresh round of surveillance and summonses for questioning.
RFA Reports on mandatory elections in Vietnam
May 22 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on Vietnam holding parliamentary elections on May 22, with voters interviewed shrugging off the exercise as a mere formality confirming the ruling Communist Party’s grip on power.
RFA Reports on China’s harassment of foreign media
May 20 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on foreign journalists working in China saying reporting conditions, including police harassment, have worsened. Analysts point to a political power struggle for China's leadership succession next year. According to a recent survey carried out by the Beijing-based Foreign Correspondents' Club of China (FCCC), the majority of foreign journalists believe that reporting conditions have gotten worse during the past year. And 70 percent said that they had been subjected to police harassment in the course of their work.
RFA Reports on North Korea seeking China aid
May 20 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s visit to China as an apparent bid to secure economic assistance for his nation. The move comes during what is believed to be a severe food shortage.
RFA Reports on Cambodian dropout rate up amid rising gas prices
May 19 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on the effect of increased gasoline prices trickling down to Cambodian children who are increasingly being forced to drop out of school. The Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association says high gas prices have driven up food costs, leading parents to pull their children out of school. The Children then often scavenge for their families.
RFA Reports on Aung San Suu Kyi meeting with US official
May 19 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on a senior U.S. official meeting with Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, discussing the country’s new government leadership and future plans for U.S. engagement to induce reforms. Joseph Yun, the deputy U.S. assistant secretary for East Asia and Pacific affairs, held a one-hour meeting with the Nobel laureate in Rangoon as part of a four-day visit to the country.
RFA Reports on China vowing cleanup of ‘unhealthy content’ on Web
May 17 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on Chinese authorities vowing to clamp down further on web content and public access via cybercafes. The number of Chinese netizens has reached 477 million, according to official figures released in May.
RFA Reports on jail visit allowed for wife of detained Chinese artist
May 16 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on the wife of detained Chinese artist and social critic Ai Weiwei being allowed to visit him for the first time since his detention in April.
RFA Reports on Tibetan man, family detained, beaten
May 16 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on Chinese authorities in a Tibetan-populated region of Sichuan province detaining and beating a Tibetan man and his family after he was suspected of involvement in local protests and of passing information on the disturbances to the outside world.
RFA Reports on eviction death sparking clashes in eastern China
May 14 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on clashes breaking out between police and residents in a forced eviction standoff in Lianyungang city in northeastern Jiangsu province. The clashes came after the death of an evictee.
RFA Reports on Burma opposition urging UN to call for reforms
May 11 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on Burma’s opposition parties urging the United Nations to press the country’s leadership for “true” political reforms as U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s special envoy made his first visit to the Southeast Asian state since a newly elected government took power in March.
RFA Reports on US plans to counter Chinese Internet blocks
May 11 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on a plan of the U.S. State Department to pour U.S. $19 million into helping dissidents in China and Iran bypass Internet censorship. Officials plan to invest the money in anti-censorship technologies, including "slingshot" firewall circumvention software.
RFA Reports on snatched Chinese infants sold for adoption
May 10 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on members of a family planning office in the southern Chinese province of Hunan abducting several infants in recent years and profiting by putting them up for adoption, according to a report from a China-based online media group. Caijing.com said that officials in Longhui county’s Gaoping township had seized some 10 newborns between 2002 and 2005, selling them to a local welfare orphanage in Shaoyang city.
RFA Reports on U.S. pushing China on human rights amid crackdown
May 9 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on the United States pushing China to improve its human rights record during high-level talks amid Beijing's relentless crackdown on dissent. “We have vigorous disagreement in the area of human rights,” U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden said as he launched the annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue between leaders and officials of the two powers in Washington.
RFA Reports on protesting Tibetan students held in school
May 9 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on Chinese authorities in the southwestern province of Sichuan detaining a group of dissident Tibetan students in their school, forbidding them from returning home. The students went on a hunger strike on March 17 in support of a Tibetan monk at nearby Kirti monastery who set fire to himself in protest at Chinese rule.
RFA Reports on arrest of Chinese labor activist over independent investigation
May 5 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on Chinese authorities arresting labor activist Xue Mingkai on subversion charges after he carried out an independent investigation into the death of an elected village chief.
RFA Reports on new Internet control center in China
May 4 – RFA Cantonese aired story [text in English/Cantonese] on the creation in China of a nationwide command center to oversee the country’s 457 million netizens and to “manage information” on the Internet. The move prompted fears that online controls will get tighter still.
RFA Reports on arrest of Vietnamese publisher
May 2 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on Vietnamese authorities arresting a local underground publisher on his return home after he received an international award for courageously upholding the freedom to publish. Bui Chat was awarded the prize by the Geneva-based International Publishers Association and may face up to nine months' imprisonment for the "purpose of investigation" before an official charge is announced.
RFA Reports on Chinese reaction to death of Bin Laden
May 2 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on the popular reaction to Osama Bin Laden’s death on Sina Weibo, China’s most active microblogging service. Netizens expressed varied opinions, but mostly of disbelief and relief.
RFA Reports on Uyghur leader barred from travel
May 1 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on authorities in Kazakhstan blocking Uyghur exile leader Kahriman Ghojamberdi from traveling to Washington, D.C. for a meeting of the World Uyghur Congress. The action underscores Chinese pressure on the Central Asian state.