RFA Reports (September 2015)

2015-10-26
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(Washington, DC — Oct. 1, 2015) Radio Free Asia broadcast the following stories, and more, in September:

RFA Reports on North Koreans being forced to donate for improvements

Sep. 30 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Korean authorities demanding donations from local residents in order to complete improvements in the city of Chongjin ahead of the 70th anniversary of the ruling Workers’ Party. Regime leader Kim Jong Un ordered city planners to modernize the exteriors of all buildings and improve roads for visiting foreign dignitaries.

RFA Reports on 50 killed in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region knife attack

Sep. 30 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on at least 50 people, including five police officers, killed in a knife attack at a coal mine in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. “The damage of the attack was very severe – that is why we are controlling [the flow of] information about the incident so strictly, lest we frighten Han migrants,” said a Chinese Communist Party cadre.

RFA Reports on Vietnamese journalist jailed on spying charges

Sep. 30 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on a Vietnamese journalist jailed on charges of spying for China. The journalist worked for a government-run newspaper and received a six-year sentence for his alleged espionage.

RFA Reports on Chinese political activists awaiting ruling in subversion trial

Sept. 29 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on authorities in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang ending the subversion trial of two members of a banned opposition party after both men pleaded not guilty, their lawyers said. Lu Gengsong and Chen Shuqing, both members of the banned opposition China Democracy Party (CDP), stood trial on at the Hangzhou Intermediate People's Court for "incitement to subvert state power," their lawyers said.

RFA Reports on Cambodian troops bulldozing villagers’ crops

Sep. 29 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Cambodian troops destroying village fields in a bid to expand property used by a commune set up for retired army soldiers. Soldiers armed with sticks and knives moved in with bulldozers against villagers, destroying crops and trees.

RFA Reports on Vietnamese land-rights petitioner jailed

Sep. 29 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on a Vietnamese land-rights petitioner receiving 18 months in prison after she petitioned for the legal right to land farmed by her family. Vu Thi Hai’s family had farmed trees on the land since 1978, but the local village chief had issued a paper giving the government the right to use the land.

RFA Reports on Myanmar ruling party vowing to amend charter after election

Sep. 28 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on a top official from Myanmar’s ruling part vowing to amend the country’s military junta-drafted constitution if the USDP party wins the upcoming November elections. The constitution contains several controversial provisions, including one that ensures the military maintains veto power in Myanmar’s parliament.

RFA Reports on Christian preachers held on spying charges in China

Sep. 25 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on two Protestant preachers being held under residential surveillance on espionage charges. The detentions come after a state cross demolition campaign resulted in widespread protests by churchgoers.

RFA Reports on Cambodia limiting broadcast of foreign films

Sep. 25 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on the Cambodian government sharply restricting the airing of foreign movies on television, ostensibly to promote national culture. The decree bans the broadcast of any foreign-made film during prime viewing hours, with noncompliant stations risking the loss of their license.

RFA Reports on Hong Kong’s Occupy Central activists calling for more US support

Sept. 25 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on Hong Kong pro-democracy activists calling on the United States for more support for their cause a year after a mass student strike launched the 79-day Occupy Central movement in the former British colony.

RFA Reports on Vietnamese crackdown on new independent broadcast service

Sep. 25 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on Vietnamese authorities detaining the staff of a new independent news service that broadcasts videos on social media. “What we did was bring the truth to the people,” said one of Conscience TV’s anchors.

RFA Reports on Myanmar Buddhist group lauding new discriminatory laws

Sep. 25 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on a popular Myanmar Buddhist nationalist group holding large public gathering across the country to celebrate the passage of a set of controversial laws many feel discriminate against Muslims and ethnic minorities. They say they fear the intermingling of religion with politics ahead of coming November general elections.

RFA Reports on tuberculous meningitis outbreak in North Korea

Sep. 25 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on a recent outbreak of tuberculous meningitis leaving many North Korean children dead and others crippled. The infection can cause death if left untreated due to the scarcity of pharmaceuticals in North Korea.

RFA Reports on detentions for Tibetans after reoccupation of seized land

Sep. 24 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on Chinese authorities detaining at least a dozen Tibetans who had reoccupied land taken from them five years ago for a government development project. Residents had appealed to the government for the return of their land as no developer had begun construction and local authorities were leasing it out to private individuals.

RFA Reports on grassroots voter education activists in Myanmar

Sep. 23 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on democracy activists in Myanmar stepping up voter education programs to educate and remind citizens of their voting rights. The 88 Generation group is campaigning especially in rural areas where voter awareness is low ahead of November’s upcoming general elections.

RFA Reports on Muslim names banned among Uyghurs

Sep. 24 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on Chinese authorities issuing a ban on Muslim names in Hoten prefecture in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The move is an apparent bid to discourage religious extremism among the region’s Uyghur residents by threatening to forbid children with such names from attending school unless their parents change them.

RFA Reports on Chinese authorities’ continued harassment of ‘feminist five’

Sep. 23 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on Chinese feminist lawyer Li Tingting accusing Chinese authorities of trying to make her homeless. Li said her landlord had received calls from a residential committee and police ordering them to evict Li from her apartment.

RFA Reports on Lao leaders involved in timber smuggling

Sep. 23 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on a recent ban on the export of raw logs imposed by the Lao government not being enforced because of smuggling supported by national leaders. Officials reportedly have implemented the law against local villagers, while not curtailing the big log smugglers whom officials profit from.

RFA Reports on renewed fighting in Myanmar’s Shan, Kachin States

Sep. 22 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on fighting breaking out between armed ethnic groups and Myanmar’s army, with deaths suffered on both sides. The fighting pitting Shan and Palaung rebels against government troops is a strain on the progress made in the lead-up to the signing of a nationwide cease-fire.

RFA Reports on release of jailed Vietnamese blogger to US

Sept. 21 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on Vietnam freeing prominent blogger and activist Ta Phong Tan, who flew to the United States after her release from prison. She vowed to continue her fight for freedom of expression in the authoritarian Southeast Asian nation from abroad.

RFA Reports on Chinese children sickened by out-of-date vaccines

Sep. 21 – RFA Cantonese aired story [text in English/Cantonese] on nearly 400 children suffering severe health problems, including two deaths, after they were given out-of-date vaccines. After reports of sick children emerged, a county disease control organization released a report that the children’s diseases weren’t linked to vaccinations.

RFA Reports on Chinese police detaining more than 1,000 PLA veterans

Sept. 21 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on authorities in the Chinese capital detaining more than 1,000 veterans of the People's Liberation Army (PLA). The former soldiers gathered outside government buildings in protest over lack of income and support.

RFA Reports on imprisoned Myanmar mine activists receiving additional jail time

Sep. 18 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on activists, imprisoned for protesting the shooting death by police of an unarmed woman, receiving additional jail terms in Myanmar. The pair was charged with holding an unauthorized demonstration outside the Chinese embassy against the police killing during a protest at the mine site.

RFA Reports on thousands of Tibetans gathering in Qinghai for ceremony

Sept. 18 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on massive crowds converging on a Tibetan monastery in northwestern China’s Qinghai province for a four-day period of advanced Buddhist rituals and teachings. Chinese authorities did not interfere with the ancient Kalachakra ceremony, which was held from Sept. 18 to Sept. 21 at Kumbum monastery in Qinghai’s Tsoshar  prefecture, a local source told RFA’s Tibetan Service.

RFA Reports on Chinese lawyer’s claims of torture

Sep. 18 – RFA Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on a prominent Chinese rights lawyer saying he was tortured during an 87-day secret detention. Cai Ying is one of more than 200 rights lawyers detained nationwide during a recent crackdown on the legal profession.

RFA Reports on Cambodia not investigating shooting death of protester

Sep. 15 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Cambodian authorities choosing not to pursue an investigation into the shooting death of a man killed during anti-government protests. The victim was shot during massive protests following a disputed national election in 2013.

RFA Reports on Cambodian saw mill polluting local waterway

Sep. 14 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Cambodian villagers who say a saw mill has polluted their local waterway and caused residents to contract a skin disease. Villagers rely on the now-contaminated water to cook, bathe, and water their crops.

RFA Reports on evicted farmers in China detained after using social media to organize

Sep. 14 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on more than 20 farmers detained by Chinese police after they used social media to plan collective action over their lost land. The farmers used chat platform QQ to organize and share legal advice regarding their advocacy and protests.

RFA Reports on supporters marking 1,000 days since Lao activist went missing

Sept. 14 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on a gathering of supporters urging action from Lao authorities for failing to properly account for the disappearance almost three years ago of civil society activist Sombath Somphone. He was last seen in police custody at a checkpoint in the capital Vientiane on Dec. 15, 2012.

RFA Reports on Uyghur journalist in failing health after years in prison

Sep. 14 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on a jailed Uyghur journalist and blogger in failing health in prison where he is serving a 13-year term on political charges. Niyaz Kahar disappeared into Chinese custody six years ago following ethnic riots.

RFA Reports on special permits for Uyghurs to buy kitchen knives

Sep. 14 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on Chinese authorities requiring Uyghurs to obtain special permits when purchasing kitchen knives and strictly controlling sales of bladed tools amid a crackdown on violence in the area. Applicants must state how many knives they want and why they want them, and must use only Chinese characters on the application.

RFA Reports on North Koreans arrested for viewing Chinese military parade broadcast

Sep. 11 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Koreans removing jamming devices on their televisions in order to watch coverage of a massive military parade in China. Authorities arrested a number of these people amid a crackdown spurred by fears that North Koreans would view the parade and find North Korean parades lacking in comparison.

RFA Reports on public display of banned Tibetan flag

Sep. 11 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on a Tibetan national flag that was publicly displayed in defiance of official bans on the banner as a “separatist” symbol. The flag was hung in a prominent place and was later taken down by Chinese authorities.

RFA Reports on new Lao NGO law restricting work of nonprofits, development projects

Sep. 11 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on a new Lao NGO law having a potentially harmful effect on civil society groups’ effectiveness. The new law requires groups to notify or obtain permission from relevant ministries for funding they receive from foreign sources.

RFA Reports on Myanmar lawyer campaigning to end military judiciary appointments

Sep. 11 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on lawyers campaigning against the recent appointment of 20 former military officers to judicial appointments on Myanmar’s Supreme Court. The lawyers are protesting the move, as they feel the integrity and independence of the judiciary may be compromised by military influence.

RFA Reports on Lao Christians persecuted for their beliefs

Sep. 10 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on Lao authorities threatening to jail Christians who continue to practice their religion after their activities were recently banned. Authorities have been threatening Christians in recent months, seizing their bibles and forbidding them to hold religious ceremonies.

RFA Reports on Cambodia planning stricter Internet controls

Sep. 10 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Cambodia announcing plans to form a new government department responsible for monitoring and cracking down on vaguely defined “online” crimes. “We must have a department like those [of other countries] in order to protect social order, national security, and the private security of all citizens,” a Ministry of Interior spokesperson said.

RFA Reports on Hong Kong soccer fans booing Chinese national anthem

Sept. 9 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on soccer officials in Hong Kong playing down a chorus of boos by the city's football fans aimed at the national anthem they share with China. A key pro-government figure accused the fans of supporting independence for the former British colony.

RFA Reports on Cambodia’s Hun Sen ordering arrest of map detractors in border dispute

Sept. 8 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen ordering the arrest of anyone accusing the government of using “fake” maps and ceding national territory to Vietnam.


RFA Reports on Chinese woman’s forced late-term abortion

Sep. 7 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on a pregnant Chinese woman saying she was being pressured into terminating a pregnancy at eight months or risk facing her husband’s loss of employment. “They want us to kill our baby so as to save his job,” the woman said.

RFA Reports on North Korean teachers preparing for ‘ideological battle’ with students

Sep. 4 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Korean authorities organizing nationwide lecture classes to prepare teachers to grapple with students over an increase in “socially undesirable behavior and criminal acts” among young people.

RFA Reports on Chinese activist held after teaching people how to win votes

Sep. 4 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on the detention of a grass-roots election expert at the school where he teaches. The teacher suffered multiple injuries after almost a month of secret detention and torture.

RFA Reports on Tibetans defying crackdown to honor dead monk

Sep. 2 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on Tibetans marking the passing of popular monk Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, despite a crackdown on discussion of the monk’s death. The revered monk died in July under unexplained circumstances in a Chinese prison.

RFA Reports on Myanmar rejecting Muslims parliamentary candidates

Sep. 1 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Myanmar] on Myanmar’s election body, based on citizenship requirements, rejecting all but one candidate from an Islamic party. The decision could lead to the party’s disbandment, as 17 of 18 candidates who had filed to run for parliament were turned down.

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