(Washington, DC — December 1, 2015) Radio Free Asia broadcast the following stories, and more, in November:
RFA Reports on detention of Tibetan man following solo protest
Nov. 30 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on a Tibetan man detained after he launched a solo protest, scattering leaflets calling for the long life and blessings of the Dalai Lama. His whereabouts and condition are unknown.
RFA Reports on China labeling homosexuality a ‘psychological disorder’
Nov. 30 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on a lesbian student in China suing the ministry of education after the government approved and disseminated university textbooks describing homosexuality as a “psychological disorder.” The description was part of a nationwide student psychological handbook. Homosexuality is decriminalized in China but still carries a strong stigma.
RFA Reports on Aung San Suu Kyi meeting with Myanmar leader, military over power transfer
Nov. 30 – RFA Myanmar aired story [English/Myanmar] on Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi meeting President Thein Sein and the country’s military commander-in-chief separately to discuss “national reconciliation.” Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won almost 80 percent of parliamentary seats in the Nov. 8 general elections.
RFA Reports on sentencing of Chinese rights activist to six years in prison
Nov. 27 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on prominent Chinese human rights activist Guo Feixiong receiving a six-year jail sentence. Guo’s lawyer said that the prosecution added an additional charge during the sentence hearing and the defense was not allowed to dispute the charges before the verdict was reached.
RFA Reports on ‘medical parole’ for ailing Chinese journalist
Nov. 26 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on jailed veteran journalist Gao Yu receiving a reduced jail sentence and conditional release on medical grounds. Sentenced to a seven-year jail term in April, Gao Yu, who has suffered heart attacks while in detention, will serve the rest of her sentence outside prison on ‘medical parole.’
RFA Reports on Laos funding cosmetic capital city improvements over crucial rural road repairs
Nov. 25 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on the Lao government withholding funds urgently needed to repair flood-damaged roads in the country’s provinces. The country is instead prioritizing road improvement projects in the capital Vientiane ahead of an ASEAN summit meeting.
RFA Reports on Myanmar men arrested for publishing Rohingya calendar
Nov. 25 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on Myanmar authorities arresting five men after they published a calendar referring to the country’s persecuted Muslim Rohingyas as an official ethnic minority. The owner of a printing house and four of his colleagues were charged with publishing materials that could damage national security.
RFA Reports on detention of 24 Chinese sugar cane farmers following protests
Nov. 25 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on Chinese authorities holding 24 people following clashes in which riot police fired pepper spray at protesting sugar cane farmers. The protests were spurred by new rules requiring them to use haulage contractors under the local government’s own transportation agency.
RFA Reports on asylum-seeking Montagnards returning to Vietnam
Nov. 25 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on 17 ethnic Montagnard Christians who had fled persecution in Vietnam voluntarily returning home. The asylum seekers became discouraged after waiting in Cambodia for more than three months to be granted refugee status.
RFA Reports on at least 115 dead from Myanmar landslide
Nov. 24 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on at least 115 migrant workers being killed by a landslide at a jade mining site in northern Myanmar. Dangerous waste dumps attract small-scale miners to such mining sites, where they live in makeshift huts and often become addicted to drugs like heroin and methamphetamines.
RFA Reports on women and children among Uyghur mine attack suspects killed
Nov. 24 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on 11 women and children believed to be among the 28 people killed by Chinese authorities in the wake of a deadly September coal mine attack. The 28 people were labeled a “terrorist group” in official state media and killed during a two-month manhunt for suspects in the coal mine attack.
RFA Reports on Chinese police summoning family of dead activist
Nov. 24 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on Chinese authorities issuing a summons to two sisters of rights activist Zhang Liumao after they spoke out over strong evidence that he was beaten to death in police custody. “I think they are afraid that we will expose the truth,” one of the sisters told RFA.
RFA Reports on growing popularity of fake goods at North Korea’s black markets
Nov. 23 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Koreans increasingly purchasing counterfeit products made by individuals rather than buying authentic goods produced by state factories. Locals say the bootleg goods, purchased at black markets, are competitively priced and are often better in quality than the originals.
RFA Reports on Hong Kong electing ‘Umbrella’ candidates
Nov. 23 – RFA Cantonese aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on eight seats on Hong Kong's directly elected district councils being won by candidates who emerged into public view during the pro-democracy "Umbrella Movement" last year.
RFA Reports on tight controls in Tibetan region prior to U.S. delegation’s visit
Nov. 20 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on a source inside Tibet saying that the visit to the regional capital Lhasa by U.S. lawmakers was highly staged, with all signs of a typically heavy security presence removed from central areas in the city before the delegation’s arrival. Minority leader Nancy Pelosi led a delegation of six lawmakers to the normally tense and tightly controlled city—the scene of violent 2008 protests against Chinese rule—on Nov. 10 for a three-day visit.
RFA Reports on three women secretly executed by North Korea for illegal cell phone use
Nov. 18 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on three women secretly executed for illegally using their cell phones to distribute copies of a popular South Korean television drama banned in North Korea. The three housewives had saved episodes of the South Korean television drama “Until the Azalea Blooms” on a thumb drive from China and secretly sold it in North Korea.
RFA Reports on Chinese media taking orders from government
Nov. 17 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on a former columnist at a top Chinese newspaper fleeing China after being recruited to spy on activists by state security police. Li Xin revealed some of the inner workings of the Chinese propaganda regime, including a secret list of topics and sources off limits to media organizations.
RFA Reports on renewed fighting in Myanmar’s Shan state
Nov. 17 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on fresh clashes breaking out between Myanmar government forces and armed ethnic rebels in eastern Shan state. The fighting forced hundreds of villagers to take refuge in local monasteries and underscored the challenges the country’s new elected government will face in 2016.
RFA Reports on Thailand repatriating asylum-seeking Chinese dissidents
Nov. 16 – RFA Cantonese aired story [text in English/Cantonese] on Thai authorities repatriating five Chinese nationals, including two veteran dissidents who had been granted refugee status by the UN. Those who apply for political asylum at the UNHCR are issued a “protection letter,” but a rights activist said the letter is “of no use at all.”
RFA Reports on father of jailed Uyghur teen alleging son victim of China’s ‘strike hard’ campaign
Nov. 16 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on the father of a Uyghur teenager sentenced to life in prison for “leading a terrorist group” in northwestern China’s Uyghur region claiming his son is the wrongful victim of a “strike hard” campaign. “My son did nothing wrong—he simply watched videos on his cell phone,” Mamut Awut said about his jailed son Eli Mamut. “I believe he had no idea that the videos are classified as illegal by the authorities.”
RFA Reports on Cambodian opposition leader’s lawmaker status removed
Nov. 16 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Cambodia’s parliament voting to revoke opposition chief Sam Rainsy’s lawmaker status. The decision follows the recent issuance of an arrest warrant for Rainsy on a seven-year-old defamation conviction, a charge critics say is politically motivated.
RFA Reports on Aung San Suu Kyi’s party winning landslide victory in historic election
Nov. 13 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on Aung San Suu Kyi’s opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party winning an outright majority in Myanmar’s historic election. Aung San Suu Kyi, who is still barred from the presidency in Myanmar by the country’s constitution, told RFA that she was not ready to declare “a winning moment yet” and that the elections marked only the first step toward the goals of the NLD and its supporters.
RFA Reports on China considering new coal plants despite smog woes
Nov. 13 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on China continuing to commission coal-fired power plants despite a renewed “airpocalypse” in its northern cities. The government issued environmental approvals to 155 coal-fired power plants this year.
RFA Reports on detention of Vietnamese lawyer
Nov. 12 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on the detention of a Vietnamese lawyer working on the case of a young man who had died in police custody. Plainclothes police detained Tran Vu Hai as he prepared to go to police headquarters along with other lawyers to discuss matters related to the case.
RFA Reports on Aung San Suu Kyi seeking reconciliation talks with Myanmar leaders
Nov. 11 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on Aung San Suu Kyi calling for “national reconciliation” meetings with Myanmar’s president, military commander-in-chief and speaker of the lower house of parliament, as her opposition National League for Democracy party claimed 87 percent of the vote.
RFA Reports on Chinese Walmart workers campaigning for higher wages
Nov. 11 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on difficulties facing Walmart employees in China attempting to take charge of their labor union to negotiate collectively on behalf of workers. According to labor activists, the state-run ‘All-China Federation of Trade Unions’ organization, supposedly representing workers’ interests, sides with management and local officials instead.
RFA Reports on Vietnamese democracy activists cheering Myanmar elections
Nov. 10 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on activists in Vietnam welcoming Myanmar’s historic general election and expressing frustration with a lack of democratic reform in their one-party communist nation. Activists in Vietnam marveled at the pace of democratic reform in Myanmar, where President Thein Sein’s quasi-civilian government took power from the former junta less than four years ago.
RFA Reports on Chinese authorities expelling nuns from convent in Tibet
Nov. 10 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on Chinese authorities expelling 106 Tibetan Buddhist nuns from a convent and demolishing several of their living quarters. The nuns were expelled on the pretext of not possessing proper documents and exceeding the number permitted to live in the nunnery.
RFA Reports on Myanmar election inspiring calls for democratic reform in China
Nov. 10 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on Myanmar’s election sparking calls on social media for similar reforms in China. Sun Liping, professor of sociology at Beijing's prestigious Tsinghua University, criticized the official view of the ruling Chinese Communist Party that democratic politics aren't suitable for China, saying: "Actually, democracy is a normal way for a normal society to behave."
RFA Reports on China denying licenses to non-state, commercial journalists
Nov. 9 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on China denying licenses to journalists employed by commercial news websites while granting them to those employed by government media organizations. Press cards were issued to nearly 600 reporters from 14 online news organizations, but only those directly controlled by the government.
RFA Reports on deadly Cambodian forest attack
Nov. 9 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on the killing of two Cambodian officials who were on patrol in a preserved forest area in yet another apparent confrontation between illegal loggers and officials. A group of unknown gunmen armed with AK-47s ambushed officials on patrol in the forest, possibly in retaliation for a recent crackdown on illegal logging in the area.
RFA Reports on Vietnamese human rights activists detained and beaten
Nov. 9 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on Vietnamese police beating and detaining two activists while they were en route to their homes from Ho Chi Minh City. One of the men reported that more than 10 policemen stopped his car, forced him to get out, beat him, and took him to the local police station.
RFA Reports on worsening human rights situation in Laos
Nov. 6 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on the sixth annual EU-Laos human rights dialogue finding that many human rights issues are worsening in Laos. Social organizations are restricted in their work and civil society organizations are disenfranchised, as restrictions on expression and organization are implemented by instilling a pervasive culture of fear, human rights activists say.
RFA Reports on independent Hong Kong booksellers missing, believed detained
Nov. 6 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on four people linked to a Hong Kong bookstore going missing and likely being detained by Chinese authorities. The bookstore where they worked has stocked titles highly critical of the ruling Chinese Communist Party.
RFA Reports on North Korea jamming cell signals along Chinese border
Nov. 5 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Korea blocking citizens’ cell-phone use along its northern border with China. The move also affects communications networks inside China, raising the ire of Chinese residents. “Cell phones are entirely useless in these areas,” a local resident told RFA.
RFA Reports on Vietnamese authorities cracking down on protestors
Nov. 5 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on a harsh crackdown by authorities on Vietnamese protesters, who were beaten and detained after voicing opposition to Chinese claims in the South China Sea. Protesters were bloodied, beaten, and forced to leave public spaces as protests centered on Chinese president Xi Jinping’s visit to Vietnam.
RFA Reports on arrest of Myanmar education reform protester
Nov. 4 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on Myanmar police arresting a prominent student unionist wanted for his role in protests challenging a controversial national education law. The activist, who had spent nearly eight months in hiding before being detained, was sent to Insein prison after the first day of his trial.
RFA Reports on forced labor scheme for Uyghurs
Nov. 3 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on Chinese authorities ordering ethnic minority Uyghur farmers to take part in a forced labor scheme to “better ensure social stability” in the area. Farmers told RFA that they were required to take part in “hasher,” or forced labor, seven days a week for up to 11 hours a day.
RFA Reports on counterfeit medicine flooding North Korean markets
Nov. 2 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on counterfeit versions of medicine donated to North Korea by the UN flooding local North Korean markets. These fake drugs have damaged the health of some customers and seriously undermined trust in pharmaceuticals donated as foreign aid.
RFA Reports on Cambodia’s opposition party urging investigation into assault of members
Nov. 2 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Cambodia’s opposition party calling on the government to expedite a “dragging” investigation into a violent attack on two of its lawmakers in October. Opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party lawmakers also urged the United Nations to join the probe after the international body expressed concern over the assault.