RFA Reports (September 2011)


(Washington, DC — Oct. 1, 2011) Radio Free Asia broadcast the following stories, and more, in September:

RFA Reports on halting of Burma mega-dam project

Sept. 30 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on Burma’s government suspending plans to build a controversial dam on the Irrawaddy River in response to public outcry over the project. The decision by President Thein Sein to halt construction of the $3.6 billion Myitsone Dam is the latest signal of reform on the part of the nominally civilian government that took power in March.

RFA Reports on house arrests for China poll activists

Sept. 30 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on authorities in Beijing holding a group of activists under house arrest and administrative detention. The individuals tried to register as independent candidates in district legislative elections, which are controlled by the ruling Communist Party.

RFA Reports on disbanding of Confucius award committee

Sept. 29 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on Beijing culture ministry officials disbanding the group charged with awarding the Confucius Peace Prize. The award, only given once, was largely seen as China’s response to the decision of the Nobel Peace Prize committee to honor jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo last year.

RFA Reports on Burma’s announcement to free prisoners

Sept. 29 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on speculation continuing to swirl in Burma about a possible release of several hundred political prisoners. The speculation came as Burma’s Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin told the U.N. General Assembly in New York that an unspecified number of prisoners will be released soon under an early amnesty program.

RFA Reports on North Korean officials soliciting bribes from travelers

Sept. 28 – RFA Korean aired story [text in English/Korean] on North Korean officials demanding bribes from citizens applying for domestic and international travel permits. A North Korean woman who recently fled to China told RFA that citizens can no longer travel within North Korea without money, as security agents in charge of issuing travel documents will openly ask for “commissions.”

RFA Reports on netizen reactions to Shanghai subway crash

Sept. 28 – RFA Mandarin and Cantonese aired story [text in English/Mandarin/Cantonese] on angry reactions of Chinese netizens to an official media description of the Sept. 27 Shanghai subway crash as “mild.” Analysts said the collision showed that regulators had yet to learn any lessons from a fatal high-speed rail crash in July.

RFA Reports on laid-off Uyghur professors rejecting deal

Sept. 27 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on a group of 20 Uyghur professors at a teachers college in northwestern China refusing new positions in school security after being laid off. The group was let go on the grounds they don’t speak fluent Mandarin as China has begun implementing a more rigid bilingual education policy throughout the mainland, including the ethnic Uyghur region.

RFA Reports on new Tibetan self-immolations

Sept. 26 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on two more Tibetan monks from Sichuan’s troubled Kirti monastery committing acts of self-immolation in protest of Chinese rule. One of them, Lobsang Kalsang, 18, was identified as the brother of Phuntsog, who died in a self-immolation protest against Chinese rule in March, marking an anniversary of unrest three years before.

RFA Reports on detention of Chinese health petitioner

Sept. 22 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on Beijing authorities detaining a woman after she protested outside the health ministry about area hospital practices. The woman had alleged that mistakes made at Tongji Hospital resulted in the long-term illness of her son, who was admitted there for care four years ago.

RFA Reports on fresh criticism of Khmer Rouge tribunal

Sept. 21 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on a judicial rights group condemning the U.N.-backed Khmer Rouge tribunal for rejecting applications by families of victims wanting to be included as civil parties in the trial. The New York-based Open Society Justice Initiative said in a statement that it was “deeply concerned” by a recent decision by two judges at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) which “undermines the principle that victims of international crimes should be given a voice in the courtroom.”

RFA Reports on Burma leader expressing no opposition to Aung San Suu Kyi bid

Sept. 20 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on Burma’s parliament chief Khin Aung Myint saying he has no objections to pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi joining the legislature. Linked to hardliners opposed to political reforms, Khin Aung Myint, a former senior official in the previous military junta, had kind words for Aung San Suu Kyi in a telephone interview with RFA.

RFA Reports on deaths linked to property dispute

Sept. 20 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on two deaths in the central Chinese city of Wuhan linked to the demolition of homes on disputed property. A 65-year-old woman jumped from the fourth floor of her housing apartment complex to protest a forced demolition of the building. She was rushed to the nearby Wuhan No. 11 Hospital, but succumbed to her injuries shortly afterward.

RFA Reports on Lao plans for controversial dam
Sept. 19 – RFA Lao aired story [text in English/Lao] on Laos moving ahead with plans to build a controversial dam on the Mekong River. Earlier, the Lao government said it would delay construction after the Mekong River Commission (MRC) decided in April to defer any decision on the $3.8 billion project until the end of 2011.

RFA Reports on beatings of Chinese blind activist’s supporters

Sept. 19 – RFA Cantonese and Mandarin aired story [text in English/Cantonese/Mandarin] on the detention and beating of two human rights campaigners attempting to visit blind Shandong-based activist Chen Guangcheng. Chen has been under house arrest with his wife and child for almost a year.

RFA Reports on clashes over Cambodian development project

Sept. 16 – RFA Khmer aired story [text in English/Khmer] on Cambodian authorities beating unconscious an activist who led villagers in a Sept. 14 standoff against a construction crew hired to demolish their homes. The protest was over a controversial development project in the Boeung Kak Lake area of the Cambodian capital.

RFA Reports on Chinese factory shutdowns amid lead-poisonings

Sept. 16 – RFA Cantonese aired story [text in English/Cantonese] on authorities in Shanghai deciding to halt production at two battery-making plants, one of which is owned by a Fortune 500 company. The shutdown happened in the wake of protests as the number of parents reporting lead-poisoning of their children continues to rise.

RFA Reports on China training online PR teams

Sept. 15 – RFA Cantonese aired story [text in English/Cantonese] on China stepping up media training for officials as well as an army of freelance commentators paid to direct public debate online known as the “50 cent army.”

RFA Reports on death of imprisoned Tibetan monk

Sept. 14 – RFA Tibetan aired story [text in English/Tibetan] on the death of a monk in Tibet who had suffered beatings and endured hard labor during his 10-year prison sentence. News of his death comes amid a U.S. State Department report that many of the Tibetan monks and nuns under detention are subjected to “extrajudicial punishments, such as beatings and deprivation of food, water, and sleep for long periods.”

RFA Reports on fears for Chinese individuals named in leaked cables

Sept. 12 – RFA Cantonese aired story [text in English/Cantonese] on the vast cache of classified diplomatic cables published by controversial whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks already having repercussions for rights campaigners, liberal-minded officials, and academics.

RFA Reports on death of imprisoned Vietnamese activist

Sept. 12 – RFA Vietnamese aired story [text in English/Vietnamese] on the death in jail of an ailing Vietnamese political prisoner. Truong Van Suong, a former military officer in South Vietnam’s Army serving a life sentence for his role in a failed attempt to overthrow the communist Vietnamese government, died in Nam Ha prison in Ba Sao at the age of 68.

RFA Reports on call for responsible investment in Uyghur region

Sept. 11 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on exiled Uyghur activist Rebiya Kadeer calling on foreign companies to consider “humanitarian responsibility” when conducting business in the volatile region. Her remarks came after Chinese authorities hosted an international trade fair in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The China-Eurasia Expo, the first of its kind held in the region’s capital city of Urumqi, netted $5.5 billion in foreign trade contracts.

RFA Reports on release of two Burmese child soldiers

Sept. 9 – RFA Burmese aired story [text in English/Burmese] on the release of two child soldiers to their families from the Burmese military, following international attention to the situation. Zaw Wai Lin, 16, and Nay Ye Lin, 15, who were conscripted into different military units, were both allowed to leave their barracks after each had spent nearly a year in forced service. Both children had been the subject of RFA coverage after their parents reported the boys missing.

RFA Reports on possible false claim in Uyghur repatriation

Sept. 7 – RFA Uyghur aired story [text in English/Uyghur] on accusations that Chinese authorities made a false claim in persuading the Thai government to extradite a Uyghur man in August for his alleged involvement in ethnic riots. Nur Muhemmed was arrested by local police on Aug. 6 for illegally entering Thailand and was handed over to Chinese authorities in the capital of Bangkok, making him one of the most recent of a number of Uyghurs who have been repatriated following pressure from Chinese authorities.

RFA Reports on two Chinese papers facing greater controls

Sept. 4 – RFA Mandarin aired story [text in English/Mandarin] on authorities in China placing two popular Beijing papers under the supervision of the powerful Chinese Communist Party’s local propaganda department. The move has prompted fears the papers face tighter censorship in days to come. Beijing News and Beijing Times, previously under the control of state-level propaganda authorities, will now be supervised by the publicity department of the Beijing Municipal Communist Party Committee.

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