RFA Reports (September 2016)

2016-10-31
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(Washington, DC — Oct. 1, 2016) Radio Free Asia broadcast the following stories, and more, in September:

RFA Reports on Beijing detaining busloads ahead of National Day

Sept. 30 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on Chinese authorities detaining dozens of petitioners who had traveled to Beijing to mark Chinese National Day by airing their grievances. Thousands converged on the city to voice complaints ranging from nonpayment of pensions to forced evictions.

RFA Reports on timber smugglers circumventing ban on log exports in Laos

Sept. 29 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on timber smugglers becoming more creative as they avoid a Lao government crackdown on illegal log exports. Smugglers are shunning the big border checkpoints where they used to openly move their cargo.

RFA Reports on Cambodian opposition leader considering return from exile

Sept. 28 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on opposition leader Sam Rainsy considering returning to Cambodia, a sign that a long-running political stalemate may be coming to a close. Rainsy has been living abroad in self-exile after being charged with a number of seemingly politically motivated charges.

RFA Reports on disappearance of detained Tibetan monk

Sept. 28 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on a Tibetan monk detained in June vanishing while in custody. Chinese authorities refused to provide details of the monk’s whereabouts or any charges made against him, leaving his friends and family in the dark.

RFA Reports on second anniversary of Hong Kong Occupy Central protests

Sept. 28 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on hundreds of people gathering with yellow umbrellas in Hong Kong to mark the second anniversary of the Occupy Central protests. The 79-day civil disobedience campaign for fully democratic elections, led largely by university students and teenagers, ended with no political victory.

RFA Reports on Cambodian opposition party planning to end legislative boycott

Sept. 27 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) planning to end its legislative boycott. By deciding to go back to the legislature, the opposition may be signaling that it is ready to deal with Prime Minister Hun Sen and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP).

RFA Reports on Chinese clinical trials data shown to be 80 percent fabricated

Sept. 27 – RFA Cantonese aired story [text in English/Cantonese] on a recent survey of clinical trials in China revealing fraudulent practice on a massive scale. A government investigation found that 80 percent of clinical data is “fabricated,” China’s food and drug regulator reported.

RFA Reports on China building more prisons in Xinjiang

Sept. 27 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on China building a large complex of prisons outside the regional capital of Urumqi amid growing tensions. The seven prisons, all placed next to each other, are “like a city of jails,” a source said.

RFA Reports on Chinese police pressuring New York-based activist

Sept. 27 – RFA Cantonese aired story [text in English/Cantonese] on police in southern China attempting to silence a U.S.-based activist by detaining his father and holding him at a Guangdong police station. New York resident Zhuang Liehong, an exiled leader of the rebel village of Wukan, received a phone call from Guangdong police who then put Zhuang’s father on the line.

RFA Reports on China planning ‘very detailed’ controls over religious activity

Sept. 26 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on proposed rules in China set to intensify a government crackdown on religious activity by Chinese citizens. The draft set of draconian rules set out measures aimed at eliminating unofficial Christian worship, Tibetan “separatists,” and Muslim Uyghurs.

RFA Reports on North Korea prioritizing security over relief in face of humanitarian disaster

Sept. 26 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Korea’s state security apparatus working to prevent information from leaking out of the country following a devastating flood. In addition to searching for defectors, authorities are also conducting house searches in order to confiscate illegal mobile phones, banned media, and other electronic devices.

RFA Reports on Vietnamese fishermen filing pollution lawsuits

Sept. 26 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on hundreds of Vietnamese swamping a court to file lawsuits demanding compensation from a Taiwanese steel plant for ruining the fishing environment with toxic waste.

RFA Reports on detention of Tibetan writer one day after his release

Sept. 23 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on a popular Tibetan writer being taken back into custody one day after being released from four years in prison. Gangkye Drubpa Kyab was detained after attending a reception in his honor celebrating his release.

RFA Reports on China extending ‘soft power’ via television networks in Hong Kong

Sept. 23 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on Beijing-backed satellite broadcaster Phoenix TV applying to run two network television stations in Hong Kong. Phoenix hopes to run a 24-hour Cantonese-language entertainment channel along with an English-language channel.

RFA Reports on renewed fighting in Kachin state leaving two dead

Sept. 23 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Burmese] on fighting between Myanmar government forces and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) leaving two dead and driving some 2,000 civilians from their homes. “Clashes have escalated to the level of heavy weapons recently,” a spokesman for the KIA’s political arm told RFA.

RFA Reports on Vietnam sending blogger back to jail

Sept. 22 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on a well-known Vietnamese blogger being sent back to jail. Nguyen Huu Vinh was imprisoned for criticizing the government in his online writings.

RFA Reports on fatal attack on Cambodian opposition official

Sept. 22 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on a Cambodian opposition party official who was hacked to death while walking home in his rural village. Police say the murder was a result of a personal conflict, but a provincial opposition party expressed skepticism, given that commune elections are approaching.    

RFA Reports on voter registration problems in Cambodia

Sept. 21 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Cambodian authorities attempting to suppress the vote by instituting cumbersome requirements and procedures for voters. Authorities are demanding that some residents bring a witness with them to prove their eligibility when they attempt to register to vote.  

RFA Reports on typhoon-induced crop losses in North Korea being blamed on farmers

Sept. 21 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Korean authorities planning to scapegoat farmers should an incoming typhoon damage the country’s fragile food supply. Before the storm even hit, authorities had already drawn up plans to punish farmers for crop damage incurred.

RFA Reports on Lao civil society’s doubts regarding justice for land-grab victims

Sept. 20 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on Lao civil society members voicing doubts after a senior Lao official requested that land-grab victims bring their cases to the government’s attention. Laotians say the government’s public calls for scrutiny are nothing new and hold little real weight.

RFA Reports on demolition of religious buildings in Myanmar

Sept. 20 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Burmese] on officials in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state moving to demolish more than 3,000 allegedly illegal buildings, including a dozen mosques and more than 30 other religious structures. Tension between majority Buddhists and minority Muslims run high in Rakhine state, where ethnic minority Rohingya Muslims face systematic oppression.

RFA Reports on China continuing destruction of Tibetan religious center

Sept. 19 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on China ratcheting up its efforts to destroy large parts of the Larung Gar Buddhist Academy as authorities demolish homes and order monks and nuns to vacate the religious study center. Targets for expulsion from the center have spread as the destruction widens.

RFA Reports on bomb blast killing police chief in Xinjiang

Sept. 18 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on the death of a county police chief and three officers after a bomb exploded in a house they were searching. The police were searching the house of a family suspected of radical behavior when a bomb exploded in the basement.

RFA Reports on the U.S. lifting Myanmar sanctions

Sept. 15 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Burmese] on mixed reactions to the news that the U.S. will lift economic sanctions against Myanmar. The business sector has welcomed the news while some ethnic and civil society groups have taken a more critical stance as they are apprehensive about the move’s effect on human rights.

RFA Reports on Vietnamese authorities evicting monks and demolishing a Buddhist pagoda

Sept. 12 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on Vietnamese authorities destroying a Ho Chi Minh City pagoda shortly after they had forcibly evicted all monks from the religious site. The former temple “… now is just a derelict place where everything has been destroyed,” the resident abbot told RFA.

RFA Reports on Cambodian opposition leader being sentenced to jail

Sept. 9 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Cambodian opposition leader Kem Sokha being sentenced to five months in prison on what many view as politically trumped up charges. Kem Sokha, who refused to appear in court, called the case an attempt to undermine democracy in Cambodia.   

RFA Reports on North Korea’s latest nuclear test

Sept. 9 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Korea launching its fifth and largest nuclear test to date. The test, which triggered a 5.3-magnitude earthquake, brought immediate condemnation by the United States, South Korea, and the United Nations, among others.

RFA Reports on ICC attorney probing murder of Cambodian activist

Sept. 6 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on the attorney handling an ICC case against Cambodia’s “ruling elite” saying he will seek to expand the case to include the recent murder of government critic Kem Ley. The attorney cited “sufficient circumstantial evidence” to suggest that Kem Ley’s murder was politically motivated.

RFA Reports on Myanmar Buddhists protesting new Rohingya commission

Sept. 6 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Burmese] on more than 2,000 Buddhist hardliners demonstrating in western Rakhine state against a new government advisory commission headed by former UN chief Kofi Annan. The commission will examine the region’s religious conflict and human rights situations, including that of the 1.1 million stateless Rohingya Muslims who call Rakhine home.

RFA Reports on Hong Kong pro-democracy activist elected to LegCo

Sept. 5 – RFA Cantonese aired story [text in English/Cantonese] on 23-year-old democracy activist and former Umbrella Movement leader Nathan Law being elected to Hong Kong’s Legislature Council, or LegCo. The election of Law, Hong Kong’s youngest-ever legislator, helps ensure that pro-democracy parties retain a crucial veto power.

RFA Reports on warning for North Koreans over ‘hostile’ speech

Sept. 2 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Korean citizens being warned against the use of sarcasm directed against the regime of national leader Kim Jong Un. The warnings were given in mass meetings organized by central government authorities across the country starting at the end of August, North Korean sources said.

RFA Reports on delegates walking out on Myanmar peace talks

Sept. 1 – RFA Myanmar aired story [text in English/Burmese] on nine delegates from Myanmar’s most powerful armed ethnic group walking out of peace negotiations. The nine members from the United Wa State Army (UWSA) abruptly left after being informed that they had been accredited only as observers and not as speakers.

RFA Reports on disappearance of Christian rights lawyer in China

Sept. 1 – RFA Cantonese aired story [text in English/Cantonese] on the detention of Beijing human rights lawyer Zhang Kai after he gave legal advice to dozens of Protestant churches facing the demolition of their crosses. Zhang was taken away by authorities after he spoke out publicly about being forced to criticize fellow rights lawyers.

RFA Reports on Tibetan monk handed jail term in secret trial

Sept. 1 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on a young Tibetan monk missing after being detained by police last year turning up in prison, where he is serving a three-year sentence. Lobsang Kelsang’s family was able to locate the young monk, who was first detained following a solitary protest in southwestern China’s Sichuan province.