RFA Reports (October 2008)

(Washington, DC—November 1, 2008) Radio Free Asia broadcast the following stories, and more, in October:


RFA Reports on Tibetan monks arrested over blast

October 31 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on Chinese authorities in Tibet arresting three young Tibetan Buddhist monks in connection with a September blast at a local power station. Ngawang Tenzin, 20, Tenzin Norbu, 19, and Tenzin Rinchen, 17, are now in police custody on suspicion of causing an explosion Sept. 8 at a local power station that knocked out television broadcasts but caused no casualties.

RFA Reports on melamine eggs in China

October 30 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on egg producers in different parts of the country which found traces of melamine in their eggs, amid a newly widening food scare that first came to light over the weekend. The level of melamine found in one batch of eggs from the central province of Hubei was 3.1 milligrams per kilo, above the government-set limit of 2.5 in Hong Kong.

RFA Reports on North Korean delegation visiting the U.S.

October 29 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on a North Korean delegation led by a senior official from Pyongyang who will pay a rare visit to New York on Nov. 7, just three days after the U.S. presidential election. Li Gun, director general of the North Korean Foreign Ministry’s American Affairs Bureau, will lead the delegation, which comes at the invitation of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy and the Korea Society.

RFA Reports on eight Hmong leaders deported

October 29 – RFA Lao aired story [text in Lao] on the plight of eight Hmong leaders who were deported from Thailand to Laos. Human Rights Watch demanded their release, but a spokesman from the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied the request, stating that since they committed the crime in Thailand, Thai authorities asked Lao counterparts to detain them. Amnesty International expressed concern that the Hmong leaders’ basic rights were violated. In the Hmong camp in Thailand, the Thai military tightened rules, banning assembly of more than three people.

RFA Reports on new tack for Dalai Lama

October 28 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who will convene a conference of Tibetan exiles in November to discuss policy approaches to China, in a meeting experts say aims most immediately at unifying an increasingly fragmented exile community. Tibetans from numerous political and social groups will gather Nov. 17-22 in Dharamsala, the northern Indian town where the Dalai Lama has based his government in exile since fleeing Tibet in 1959.

RFA Reports on six Burmese opposition activists sentence

October 27 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on a Burmese court which has sentenced six opposition activists to jail terms ranging from two to 13 years in connection with mass protests against the military government last year. The convictions were handed down on a range of charges in connection with the September 2007 anti-government demonstrations that became known as the Saffron Revolution.

RFA Reports on U.S. appeal court’s denial of Uyghur’s release

October 21 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on a U.S. appeals court which has refused to immediately release 17 Uyghurs held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, effectively keeping them jailed for at least another few weeks or months. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 in late October to halt the men’s release while the government prepares its full appeal. The appeals court ordered both sides to submit additional briefs by Nov. 7. Judges will hear oral arguments on Nov. 24.

RFA Reports on tainted medicine in China

October 13 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on two batches of an injection fluid containing Siberian ginseng considered to be "substandard" following laboratory tests, after three people died in the southwest of China. Authorities in the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan have recalled two batches of ginseng injection vials following the deaths, which came after patients received the medication by injection.

RFA Reports on growing pains of China’s media

October 1 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on Chinese society which remains closed and its regime authoritarian following the highly successful Beijing Olympics, although some efforts have been made to boost the country's image in the eyes of the international community, media commentators say. China promised greater media freedom as part of its bid to host the Olympics. It was promptly hit with several major news stories in the same year, including the devastating May 12 earthquake in Sichuan and the unrest among Tibetans, which began with peaceful protests that erupted into rioting in Lhasa on March 14.

RFA Reports on escapee’s torture in Burma

October 1 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on the only leader of Burma’s 2007 Saffron Revolution to escape from a junta prison camp who described torture and backbreaking hard labor in custody. Ashin Panna Siri spoke after arriving safely in New Delhi following his breakout from the Lin Dan prison camp in Burma’s Chin state on Sept. 15. He was a close associate of U Gambira, leader of the All-Burmese Monks Alliance, which spearheaded last year’s uprising against the military junta that has ruled Burma since 1988.

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