RFA Reports (November 2013)

2013-12-20
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(Washington, DC — Dec. 1, 2013) Radio Free Asia broadcast the following stories, and more, in November:

RFA Reports on Chinese authorities holding activists before World AIDS Day

Nov. 29 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on authorities in the Chinese capital detaining dozens of HIV/AIDS/ rights activists who staged protests outside government buildings in the run-up to World AIDS Day.

RFA Reports on state security arrests rising in China

Nov. 28 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on the number of people held in China for state-security offenses rising by nearly 20 percent last year, with the majority of arrests made in areas of ethnic unrest.

RFA Reports on Vietnam’s Communist Party maintaining grip in new charter

Nov. 28 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on Vietnam adopting a revised constitution maintaining the Communist Party's dominant political and economic role in the Southeast Asian state. This douses hopes of reforms such as multiparty democracy, respect for human rights, and private land ownership.

RFA Reports on authorities holding Tibetans for refusing to fly Chinese flag

Nov. 27 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on Chinese authorities detaining 17 Tibetans in a county in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) where villagers have refused orders to fly the Chinese national flag from their homes and have put up posters calling for freedom.

RFA Reports on political test requirement for Uyghur students

Nov. 27 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on a top ethnic minority Uyghur scholar and activist criticizing a proposed requirement for college students in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region to pass a political test before graduating. "The Xinjiang authorities are in the process of doing something very dangerous," Uyghur university professor Ilham Tohti, a vocal critic of China’s policies toward ethnic minority Uyghurs, said about the proposal.

RFA Reports on NGOs calling for electoral reform in Cambodia

Nov. 27 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on three nongovernmental organizations in Cambodia releasing reports detailing irregularities from disputed recent polls. Representatives of the NGOs said the irregularities demonstrate a “need for real reform” of the national electoral body before the country can hold free and fair elections.

RFA Reports on South Korean retro-TV series’ popularity in the North

Nov. 27 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on the popularity in North Korea of a South Korean soap opera glamorizing 1990s-era teen pop culture. The series has become the latest underground entertainment trend in North Korea as young people secretly watch smuggled copies of the drama despite the risk of punishment if caught.

RFA Reports on calls for inclusive federal army in Myanmar

Nov. 26 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on the leaders of two key armed ethnic groups in Myanmar calling the formation of an all-inclusive army central to any talks on forming a federal union. Such a union could follow the signing of a nationwide ceasefire agreement.

RFA Reports on suspension of Guangdong waste plant amid uproar

Nov. 26 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on authorities in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong suspending plans to build a landfill and waste disposal plant following a mass demonstration by angry local citizens. Construction of the plant near Guangdong's Jieyang city came to a halt after hundreds of protesters marched in front of government offices.

RFA Reports on release of prominent Cambodian land activist

Nov. 22 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on the release on bail of a prominent Cambodian land rights activist after more than a year in prison. Yorm Bopha, held on charges widely condemned as trumped up to silence her activism, left Phnom Penh’s PJ Jail after the country’s top court ordered her case re-investigated.

RFA Reports on closing down of Vietnamese factory for polluting river

Nov. 22 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on authorities in southern Vietnam suspending operations at a leather tanning factory for polluting a tributary of a major river. The Hao Duong Leather Tanning Co. factory had been discharging untreated wastewater into the Dong Dien River, which flows into the main Dong Nai River, for the past six years despite repeated official warnings.

RFA Reports on Chinese deploying unarmed Uyghur guards in attack

Nov. 22 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on Chinese authorities posting unarmed Uyghur auxiliary policemen at the front line of an attack on a police station in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, which left three of them dead before a SWAT team killed the assailants.

RFA Reports on Chinese high court calling for end to torture

Nov. 21 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on China's highest court calling for an end to torture to extract confessions from suspects as part of a package of legal reforms announced by the ruling Chinese Communist Party. Rights activists and lawyers commonly report abuses of police power in China's legal system, which is heavily controlled by local party officials and police, and is influenced by state-backed business interests at every level.

RFA Reports on humanitarian aid crisis looming in Myanmar’s Kachin state

Nov. 20 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on aid groups in Myanmar’s Kachin state facing a humanitarian crisis. Thousands of villagers fleeing homes to avoid fresh fighting between government troops and ethnic rebels inundated ill-prepared refugee camps.

RFA Reports on doubts that China will close labor camps

Nov. 18 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on doubts among Chinese activists about the government’s announcement that it will abolish the controversial "re-education through labor" system. Former inmates of the system, under which jail terms of up to four years can be handed down by police-controlled committees without need for a trial, say they are highly skeptical that the authorities will end the practice in reality.

RFA Reports on Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo appealing sentence

Nov. 18 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on jailed Chinese Nobel peace laureate and veteran dissident Liu Xiaobo appealing against his conviction and 11-year jail term for "incitement to subvert state power." Liu, who has been held for nearly five years over his writings calling for political reform in China, approved the appeal bid in person during a visit from his wife Liu Xia, the dissident's lawyer Mo Shaoping told RFA.

RFA Reports on Uyghur deaths in police station attack

Nov. 16 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on Chinese authorities killing nine Uyghur youths who attacked a police station and bludgeoned to death two auxiliary policemen. This was the latest violent incident to rock China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

RFA Reports on Myanmar police opening fire on mine protesters

Nov. 15 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on police in northern Myanmar opening fire on villagers angered by the reopening of a controversial China-backed copper mine. The shooting left at least seven injured, as protesters demanded authorities dismantle security checkpoints in the area.

RFA Reports on Cambodian police denying responsibility for shooting deaths

Nov. 15 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Cambodian police denying responsibility for the fatal shooting of a 49-year-old rice vendor in clashes with striking workers, in contradiction to eye-witness accounts. National Police Commission spokesman Kiet Chantharith told RFA’s Khmer Service that police are investigating the possibility of a “third party” behind the killing of Eng Sokhum in the shootings that also wounded some 10 others.

RFA Reports on Tibetan exile leader urging China to abandon ‘hard-line policies’

Nov. 15 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on Tibetan exile political leader Lobsang Sangay calling on Chinese leaders to change their “hard-line” policies in Tibet, urging dialogue. “We have been telling them their hard-line policies will not work,” Sangay told RFA’s Tibetan Service in Washington, where he also met with U.S. officials and lawmakers.

RFA Reports on Chinese labor strike at Japanese-owned factory

Nov. 13 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on the labor strike of more than 2,000 workers at a Japanese-owned electronics factory in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong.

RFA Reports on death of Tibetan burning protestor

Nov. 12 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on the death of a young Tibetan monk who set himself on fire in a challenge to Chinese rule in the Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. He died on his way to a hospital in Xining, the capital of northwestern China’s Qinghai province.

RFA Reports on accusations against Chinese officials of hushing up deadly accident

Nov. 12 – RFA Cantonese aired story [text in English/Cantonese] on the protest of relatives of a Jiangsu woman who died in a traffic accident involving a local Communist Party official. Zhang Xiuhong, 31, died five days after being hit by a car driven by Zhou Baojiang, a deputy to the Fengshanxiang People's Congress local parliament, and local officials had tried to hush up the accident, her sister told RFA's Cantonese service.

RFA Reports on Laos moving ahead on second controversial dam

Nov. 12 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on Laos pushing ahead with construction of a second dam on the Mekong River despite objections from environmental and civil society groups and protest from at least one neighboring country. Work on the main part of the Don Sahong hydropower dam near the Cambodian border in southern Laos will begin by the end of next year, a Lao official said.

RFA Reports on creation of new party in China

Nov. 11 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on the establishment of a new political party by a supporter of disgraced former Chongqing chief Bo Xilai. The development reflects a growing public hunger for a more charismatic, populist style of politics in China.

RFA Reports on North Korea unveiling tablet

Nov. 11 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Korea releasing a tablet computer which is restricted from accessing the Internet. Sources tell RFA they suspect its components are made in China and that a globally popular game preloaded on the device may have been pirated.

RFA Reports on detention of Tibetans calling for writer’s release

Nov. 8 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on Chinese security forces detaining 15 Tibetan villagers and banning mass petitioning in the Tibetan county of Driru. The moves came after residents pushed for the release of a local writer detained on “separatism” charges.

RFA Reports on Coca-Cola probing Cambodian land-grab accusations

Nov. 8 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Coca-Cola agreeing to investigate a long-running case in Cambodia where villagers have accused a Cambodian company of illegally seizing their land. The land has been used for plantations that supply Coca-Cola with sugar.

RFA Reports on Laos regulating undocumented workers

Nov. 6 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on Lao authorities launching a pilot program in the capital Vientiane to regulate foreign workers in the country. Officials allege they are taking thousands of low-skilled jobs away from locals.

RFA Reports on Myanmar rights officials visiting riot-torn Rakhine

Nov. 6 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on Myanmar government human rights officials meeting community leaders and other residents of riot-torn Rakhine state. Clashes last year in the state left more than 200 dead and 140,000 displaced, mostly Rohingya Muslims.

RFA Reports on link between Tiananmen crash and raid on mosque
Nov. 6 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on a possible link in the deadly car crash at Tiananmen Square to a Chinese police raid on a mosque in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Usmen Hesen, who was killed in the crash together with his wife and mother who were also in the vehicle, had publicly vowed to avenge the police raid on the mosque in his village in Akto county.

RFA Reports on donated medicine in North Korea being sold in markets

Nov. 5 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on medicines donated to North Korea by the United Nations and international aid groups finding their way to local markets. The medicines are intended for clinics and orphanages but are diverted by corrupt officials who sell them to syndicates, the sources said.

RFA Reports on Cambodian parties failing to end post-election deadlock

Nov. 5 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on the ensuing political crisis in Cambodia with a breakdown of the first talks between the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) and Prime Minister Hun Sen’s party. The CNRP said in a statement that the meeting was not “fruitful,” lamenting that its key proposal for an investigation into fraud and other irregularities in the July 28 elections continues to be set aside by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP).

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