RFA in the News (October 2018)


Oct. 31 “Ex-Child Soldier Aung Ko Htwe Acquitted of Latest Charge

… He was rearrested late last year after the military charged him with incitement for an interview he gave Radio Free Asia in which he claimed he was abused by authorities during his first trial.


Oct. 29 “What's Happening in Xinjiang? Four Questions About China's Human Rights Crisis

“On the streets of villages you can only see very old Uighurs,” Gulchehra Hoja, a Uighur journalist who has reported extensively on the camps for Radio Free Asia, told Asia Blog.


Oct. 29 “N.Koreans Continue to Work in China, Russia Despite UN Sanctions

… "The UN banned the issuance of new work permits to North Korean workers in September, but Russia is believed to have hired 10,000 North Korean workers," Roh Chang-hee, a defector, told a forum in Washington last week, according to Radio Free Asia.


Oct. 28 “North Korean Defector Describes ‘Prison Camp’ Conditions for Slaves Sent Overseas

… He couldn't believe one of Kim's highest officials was killed so suddenly, so he confirmed the fact through Radio Free Asia.


Oct. 27 “They Escaped China’s Crackdown, but Now Wait in Limbo

… Sweden has deported Uighurs before. In 2012, a Uighur man and woman who had sought asylum there were sent to China after their applications were rejected, Radio Free Asia reported.


Oct. 27 “U.S. urges all UN member states to fully enforce sanctions on North Korea

…. Meanwhile, according to Radio Free Asia on Saturday, the EU has followed the UN and included more ships on its sanctions list for banned ship-to-ship transfers of refined petroleum on behalf of the regime.


Oct. 27 “A million Muslims are held in detention camps that China now portrays as 'humane'

… Omurbek Eli, an ethnic Uighur, told Radio Free Asia that he learned Mandarin Chinese, sang patriotic songs, studied Communist Party laws and regulations, and took weekly exams.


Oct. 27 “Deans of 6 N. Korean Universities Visit Canada

Radio Free Asia reports that the leaders of six top universities in North Korea visited the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada last week.


Oct. 27 “Could Hong Kong’s ‘One Country, Two Systems’ Work For Korea?

… Earlier this year, Radio Free Asia, citing an unnamed source in Pyongyang, reported that North Korea had begun holding seminars to brief Workers’ Party officials on Kim Jong-un’s plans for “China-Hong Kong-style unification” – in which South Korea would be the lesser power like Hong Kong.


Oct. 26 “Laos dam collapse: bombshell accusations, few answers (video)

… Radio Free Asia on Tuesday reported that Leth Xaiyaphone, governor of Attapeu province, had given conflicting estimates of the projected cost to house the homeless victims, figures “deemed unnecessarily high by another official source and contradicting statements he himself had made earlier in an interview”.


Oct. 26 “US stresses full implementation of sanctions regarding Kaesong industrial park

… The US State Department stressed the full implementation of UN sanctions against North Korea in regard to the possible resumption of operations at the inter-Korean industrial park in Kaesong, US broadcaster Radio Free Asia reported Thursday.


Oct. 25 “[NEWSLETTER] The Markets And The Advance Of The State

… It’s worth contrasting state media’s drumbeat of “reform and opening up” with this cartoon from exiled satirist Rebel Pepper, recently published on Radio Free Asia’s Chinese website.


Oct. 24 “N. Korea's autumn rice output to grow to 1.6 million tons this year: report

… The report issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture also forecast that North Korea is expected to import about 80,000 tons of rice by year's end in consideration of its grain supply circumstances, according to Radio Free Asia.


Oct. 22 “African Swine Fever Found in Southwestern China, Confirming Spread Throughout Country

… After the outbreak of ASF, that news was quickly censored by the Chinese regime, according to a Radio Free Asia (RFA) report published on Oct. 17.


Oct. 22 “Pardoned from a Cambodian prison, this political activist eyes a return

… Before moving to the United States 15 years ago, Meach worked as a journalist at U.S.-funded Radio Free Asia, where he covered government corruption and rule-of-law violations, he said.


Oct. 21 “China Seeks to Rebrand Internment Camps as ’Vocational Education and Training’ Centers

… Also in September, the Uighur editor-in-chief of a state-run literature magazine reportedly committed suicide “out of fear” of being detained in a political "re-education camp," sources told Radio Free Asia (RFA).


Oct. 20 “Did Korean builder’s corner-cutting lead to Lao dam disaster?

… Separately, Laotian Minister of Energy and Mines Khammany Inthirath told Radio Free Asia in July that unseasonably heavy rains and poor construction of the auxiliary dam were the factors behind the tragedy.


Oct. 19 “My aunt and sister in China have vanished. Are they being punished for my activism?

Rushan Abbas is a former Uighur service journalist with Radio Free Asia.


Oct. 18 “Singapore charges suspects with smuggling luxury goods to North Korea

… Radio Free Asia reported Wednesday the Kaohsiung District prosecutor's office said Tuesday two Taiwanese nationals, surnamed Huang and Wu, were arrested for illegally selling 1.8 million liters of diesel fuel to North Korea through their ship the Shang Yuan Bao.

Hawaii Public Radio

Oct. 18 “Asia Minute: U.S. Urges Caution on Inter-Korean Relations

… On Tuesday, a State Department official told Radio Free Asia “The improvement of relations between North and South Korea cannot advance separately from resolving North Korea’s nuclear program.”


Oct. 18 “Uighur Americans Speak Against China’s Internment Camps. Their Relatives Disappear.

… In April, the State Department’s chief spokeswoman met with Gulchehra Hoja, a Uighur American journalist for Radio Free Asia who said two dozen of her family members had been detained in Xinjiang.


Oct. 18 “China’s Targeting Of Uyghur Scholars An Outrageous Abdication Of The Rule Of Law

… In late September, Radio Free Asia’s Uyghur service reported that it had received information that a political film purporting to show “dangerous separatists” was being shown to audiences in Xinjiang, western China.


Oct. 18 “Government “intentionally and recklessly” restricting freedom of expression: Athan

… Reporters have also received death threats and two journalists have been fired in cases that Athan links to freedom of expression. Government restrictions on free speech also prompted Yangon-based MNTV to terminate its contract with BBC Burmese in September 2017 and caused Radio Free Asia to end television broadcasts on the Democratic Voice of Burma network in June 2018.


Oct. 16 “How extensive restrictions have shaped the story in Xinjiang, China

… Radio Free Asia maintains a map of known detention centers; the organization employs a team of Uighur reporters who have continued work despite their own families in China being jailed.

Korea Times

Oct. 16 “Allies differ on keeping N. Korea sanctions

… According to Radio Free Asia, U.S. Pentagon Spokesman Christopher Logan said, "The United Nations Command (UNC) will ensure compliance with the Armistice Agreement and its implementation under current circumstances considering the spirits of the inter-Korean and Singapore summits."


Oct. 15 “Report: China Wants Google’s Help to Persecute Uighur Minority

… Breitbart News has reported on China’s Uighur population extensively, Breitbart News reporter Frances Martel reported in March of this year on the arrest of dozens of relatives of Radio Free Asia reporters in China for covering the Uighur situation

Committee to Protect Journalists

Oct. 15 “Vietnam sentences citizen journalist on second anti-state charge

… His defense lawyer, Ha Huy Son, told Radio Free Asia that the methods authorities used to collect evidence against Duong were not compliant with local laws and that Duong was innocent of the charges.


Oct. 12 “Heads of 6 N. Korean universities to visit Canada next week: report

… The heads of six major North Korean universities will visit Canada next week at the invitation of the University of British Columbia (UBC), American broadcaster Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported on Friday.


Oct. 11 “Myanmar: Christians Forced to Sign Papers Vowing Not to Pray in Church, Curb Their Faith

… "The UWSA has also forcibly recruited 41 male and female students who were participating Bible study classes in various churches," Lazarus told Radio Free Asia earlier this month.

Yonhap (also in urdupoint)

Oct. 11 “Number of foreign professors sharply decreases in N.K. university: report

The number of foreign professors at North Korea's only private university has nosedived amid the strict enforcement of U.N. sanctions on Pyongyang, Radio Free Asia reported Thursday.


Oct. 10 Recent Home Buyers Take to Streets in Protest as China Housing Prices Plummet

… Zhou Qiang, a Beijing real-estate analyst, told Radio Free Asia (RFA) that the most important factor behind plummeting housing prices is state interventionism.


Oct. 10 “China Legalizes ‘Transformation’ Internment Camps for Muslim Uighurs

… Radio Free Asia (RFA), which has published some of the most rigorous documentation of China’s crackdown on the Uighur population in Xinjiang and abroad, reported on the death of at least one detainee, a young woman, in a re-education camp in late September.


Oct. 10 “China okays massive re-education camps for Muslim minorities after denying the camps exist

… Earlier this month Radio Free Asia this week quoted unnamed regional authorities as saying they had to transfer inmates out of Xinjiang to other regions across China because, one said, "we are experiencing an overflow of inmates."


Oct. 10 “US, IAEA likely to inspect NK nuclear test site: experts

… However, IAEA spokesperson Fredrik Dahl did not rule out the possibility of its participation, telling Radio Free Asia on Monday that the IAEA’s “verification role in North Korea would depend on any political agreement reached among countries concerned and authorization by the IAEA’s board of governors.”


Oct. 9 “Former Interpol chief 'held in China under new form of custody'

… The Chinese journalist Chen Jieren, who had accused a party official in Hunan province of corruption, has been detained since July by the NSC and denied access to his lawyer, according to Radio Free Asia.

NK News

Oct. 9 “Video surveillance equipment on rise inside North Korea

… U.S. outlet Radio Free Asia in June reported that “Chinese investors are demanding that closed-circuit surveillance cameras be installed in Chinese-North Korean joint ventures operating inside North Korea to prevent workers from stealing materials and products that cause financial losses.”


Oct. 8 “China’s Timber Demand Is Destroying Forests in Russia and Zambia

… Chinese companies frequently bribe Russian officials to gain access to forest lands, according to an Oct. 4 article by Radio Free Asia (RFA), citing Russian media.


Oct. 8 “China’s New Cybersecurity Regulations Allow Unfettered Police Search, Inspections of Internet-Service Providers

… Mr. Liao, an internet activist in China, said in an interview with Radio Free Asia (RFA) that the intention behind the latest regulation is very clear: to tighten Beijing’s control of the internet in a further crackdown on freedom of speech.

Korea JoongAng

Oct. 8 “How private trade is transforming the North

… According to a Radio Free Asia report from July, the median price for an apartment in Pyongyang stands at around 5,000 to 8,000 Chinese yuan per square meter (10.7 square feet).

American Interest

Oct. 5 “The Courage of the Powerless versus the Craven Behemoth

… Official efforts to control what is said and written in the country have gone to the absurd step of banning use of the word “Rohingya” in print or on the air – and both the BBC and Radio Free Asia are no longer able to broadcast in the country because they continued to call the Rohingya by the name they call themselves.


Oct. 5 “Former information minister call for Reuters retrial

… Myanmar’s former information minister on Thursday called for a review and retrial of a case involving two Reuters reporters sentenced to seven years in prison for breaching a law on state secrets, RFA reported.

Human Rights Foundation

Oct. 5 “HRF to UN: Investigate Arbitrary Arrests in Cambodia and Iran

… Uon and Yeang formerly reported on land rights and social issues for Radio Free Asia, an independent media outlet that was forced to close its Phnom Penh office in September 2017.

Business Insider

Oct. 5 “Photos show huge expansion of Chinese facility where Muslim minority say they are persecuted and forced to sing hymns to Xi Jinping

… This number may even be growing, with Radio Free Asia citing unnamed regional authorities this week as saying they have had to transfer inmates out of Xinjiang to other regions across China because "we are experiencing an overflow of inmates."


Oct. 5 “WHO includes N. Korea among countries most burdened with tuberculosis: report

… The World Health Organization (WHO) has included North Korea on a list of 30 countries with the worst tuberculosis problem over the 2016-20 period, Radio Free Asia reported Friday.

National Review

Oct. 4 “Your Death Row meal, &c.”

… I thought of this when reading this report from Radio Free Asia. It begins,

The Uyghur editor-in-chief of a state-run literature magazine . . . has committed suicide “out of fear” of being detained in a political “re-education camp” . . .

Chosun ilbo

Oct. 4U.S. Groups Accuse Seoul of Ignoring N.Korean Human Rights

… Alex Gladstein at the Human Rights Foundation, told Radio Free Asia in an interview that the South Korean government showed it is more interested in improving relations with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un than it is in improving the North's human rights.


Oct. 3 “Myanmar should revise laws used for political aims: US panel

… Another example mentioned by CRS concerned Aung Ko Htwe, who was sentenced to two years in prison with hard labor on March 28 this year, following his August 2017 interview with Radio Free Asia in which he said he had been forced by the Myanmar army to become a child soldier.


Oct. 3 “A muffled cry for freedom in Vietnam

… Before the Brotherhood’s creation, Dai told Radio Free Asia, pro-democracy movements in Vietnam “were just individual-based” and “there was no coordination. That was why they were weak.”


Oct. 3 “Overcoming a government crackdown on social media in Laos

… Boonkwang was accused of harming the reputation of Laos and conducting inappropriate activities on Facebook, according to the US-funded Radio Free Asia.


Oct. 2 “Myanmar: Communist Rebels Detain Pastors and Shave Their Heads, Destroy Churches

… “The UWSA has also forcibly recruited 41 male and female students who were taking Bible studies classes in various churches, and 52 churches in the Mongpauk area have been shut down, and three have been destroyed,”  Rev. Lazaru, a spokesman for the region’s ethnic Lahu Baptist community, told Radio Free Asia.


Oct. 2 “Analysis: Military Immunity Forgotten Amid Corruption Crackdown

… “When it comes to the military, they are constitutionally allowed to manage [corruption investigations] by themselves. We can’t do it,” U Aung Kyi said during a recent interview with Radio Free Asia.


Oct. 1 “Chinese Regime Loosens Controls on Air Pollution

… Lin Jiang, a professor of economics at Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, southern China, told Radio Free Asia on Sept. 28 that he believes the relaxed targets issued by the Chinese central and local authorities are directly related to the Sino-US trade war.


Oct. 1 “Dam Collapse May Slow, but Not Stop, Laotian Hydropower Projects

… An official with the 770-MW Pak Lay project in northwestern Laos’ Xayaburi province told Radio Free Asia’s (RFA’s) Lao Service that developers have not been told to stop work on a feasibility study.

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