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  • "Why Are You Abandoning Us?" Broadcasting to China Goes Quiet

    The end of an era is at hand. Today marks the last day of BBC World Service Broadcasts to China and Russia after 70 years on the air. Voice of America (VOA) may not be far behind.

    VOA several years ago closed down its Russian broadcasts, and, according to the President’s 2012 budget request, broadcasts to China are soon to follow. Already shortwave service in Cantonese has been closed down, and in October, Mandarin is to follow. Next year, television as well as AM and FM radio are on the cutting block.

    The Chinese people have been able to rely on truthful information from VOA and the BBC throughout their many national traumas, including Tiananmen Square. No more. While some VOA shortwave programming is to be transferred to Radio Free Asia (which is also owned by the U.S. government), the Internet will henceforth be the primary medium of communication with the people of China, a country whose government is world-class when it comes to Internet censorship.

    On VOA’s Chinese service, which devoted an evening show to the broadcasting cuts last week, callers from China expressed their disappointment and dismay with the radio silence from the West that is about to befall them. Contrary to arguments that radio and satellite TV are completely jammed by the Chinese government, callers from a number of provinces, from Beijing to rural China to Inner Mongolia, spoke of their reliance on VOA as an honest and credible source of source of news. They spoke of not knowing where to turn if the broadcasts go off the air. One expressed deep mystification and sadness: “Why are you abandoning us?”

    For instance, a caller from Hunan believes that the U.S. still has the capability to provide this service and that the U.S. should consider the needs of the Chinese people when making cuts to VOA. A caller from Shandong pointed out that only VOA provides a different view from the official media apparatus in China.

    A caller from Beijing, a longtime listener of VOA, said that if VOA makes its service available only through the Internet, the Chinese government can totally cut off the service. A caller in Guangdong explained that he lives in the countryside and that it would be very difficult for him to get VOA on the Web. Many rural Chinese can get VOA only through satellite TV and radio. This point was echoed by a caller from Guangxi, who said that many ordinary Chinese will lose the ability to get VOA broadcasts if it moves solely to the Web. Furthermore, he said, it is impossible to get real information about the ongoing unrest in the Middle East at this time on the Chinese Internet.

    The caller form Inner Mongolia offered the opinion that VOA should not cut back but actually increase its investment in all mass media, a point echoed by a number of callers. One caller from Gansu even said that if money is the real issue, then Chinese listeners would be more than happy to donate to VOA. This last comment ought to make an impression on decision makers here in Washington. Has the U.S. as a world power really come to this?

    As the President’s budget has not been approved by Congress, there’s still time for reconsideration of this decision. Congress—specifically, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the House Foreign Affairs Committee—is getting ready to hold hearings on broadcasting, and high time it is.

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    8 Responses to "Why Are You Abandoning Us?" Broadcasting to China Goes Quiet

    1. George Colgrove VA says:

      It a sign of the times. Moving on to cheaper and more available technology (internet) and a program that does not need extreemily high paid federal workers.

    2. OhioHistorian says:

      We can continue to fund National Proletariat Radio, but cannot fund the Voice of America? If, as the prior commenter states, "moving on to cheaper and more available technology (internet)" is an object, why are we paying for the infrastructure of NPR, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and grants to local stations? If the internet is good enough for Russia and China, why isn't good for the more technologically advanced nation?

    3. Matt, CO says:

      Thank you Heritage for your service to the American people. This is 1 program that I believe in and would like to see continued on older technology. Internet access is not a right; if I couldn't afford it, I'd do without and would go to places open for that purpose, like workforce or employment centers if work depended on it.

      I digress, people in China can not afford internet and I think keeping it on the air and available through older tech is fair. Truth HAS to be revealed to all by the most advanced means available to all. In this case, that means radio.

    4. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      Voice Of America is only as credible as our own Liberty still exists in America. Now that we are officially a Communist Nation and our Totalitarian Government is forming under Obama, it is not morally proper for us to criticize China. They have embraced Free Enterprise and Private Ownership, why not give them applause for what they have done. Perhaps VOA was behind it.

      The Chinese cannot conceive of Citizen Sovereignty, the Magic Ingredient in American Exceptionalism. It is spiritual freedom to be Citizen Sovereigns at liberty under God. Maybe when we get our own Citizen Sovereignty back we will have the moral authority to preach! Then VOA will be rational and we can reinstate it. American Progressive State Socialists have no use for VOA, it is preaching to the choir if VOA loves Mao as much as Obama does!

    5. Margaret Mueller, Ro says:

      The only thing you are not telling me in this article that I really do want to know, is how much of the federal budget is VOA vs National Public Radio?

    6. S. DeMeulenaere....I says:

      I find it interesting that 70 plus years ago…the BBC started it's world news service in the midst of the mission it was established to attain….That was the spokesman for the Anglican church next door called All Souls…..The BBC was a vision of outreach from this church ( my own for a time while living in London) that was to reach the world for the gospel of Jesus Christ…and to reach every nation. It was buried in the take over and hand over to the Parliament some years after and the Spiritual components of the BBC were dismantled partially and sent to Manchester away from the churches leadership. Since then it has focused on international news and entertainment but eh motto, the artistic design and purpose of the Broadcasting House at Langham Square in London West One….stayed with the building…showing God on the front of the building holding a young man playing a piccolo over the earth…to a Biblical seed sowing youth broadcasting the seed over the earth in the foyer…and finally the dedication and motto honoring God at it's inception..and the prayer of Phi. 4:8….that all things going forth from that place might be pure and right and honest… !! Interesting cry from it's being run today for a myriad of reasons other then anything that matches the motto….Times do change…seasons too..and I pray that the BBC will remember it's roots back to God as well….before it is gone…!

    7. George Colgrove VA says:

      Nothing is stopping the private sector from taking over his task. That is essentially, what the internet is – private citizens doing what is necessary to spread the truth.

      The internet can be a fundamental of a citizen-run VOA where live streaming is sent to private households who in turn broadcast shortwave into these areas.

      I am not sure with the ongoing lies and obfuscations brought to us on a daily basis by the feds that we could trust that they would tell the truth via VOA anyways.

      This is not a matter for the US Federal Government. The primary job of the feds for now and the next few decades is to pay off the debt. The second duty is to defend the boarders of the country in the most cost effective way possible. We are a debtor nation now and as such, we cannot afford to use public funds on such efforts. Not my choice, it is one that was made by the same exact self-serving federal workforce that was under the command of Clinton on up to Obama years ago by their ignorance and arrogance.

      You see, as our grand children will know as commonplace in their time, we are now seeing we are limited in the ventures we can pursuit today, by the really bad choices made by the federal workforce of the past. We have yet to pay back the debt for Reagan’s military buildup, the original gulf war, the Balkan war, and the hit on Falkland Islands, Desert Storm, and all this mess we have allowed ourselves to be dragged into since 9/11. We are mired in the mess that has become the current federal wealfare system, Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid. We are starting to see the fruits of the choices we make – which is we need to cut back in a big way on what we do today.

      VOA? Yeah, a nice idea. However, we need to cut $1.6 trillion out of the budget. What would you rather have, this program or a few soldiers? As Adm. Mike Mullen warned the country recently, we now need to prioritize! We are coming off the rush of incessant spending as a result of 9/11. The useless federal workforce did not deliver on the promises they made, even though they walked away with a massive 36% raise in their compensation while the rest of the country lost 5% in theirs. In the last two years, the feds scored another few percentage points increase in their compensation while the incomes of the American Taxpayer was sliced by 23%. From every vantage point, these public administrators (i.e. bureaucrats) did not let a good crisis go to waste. Now we are paying for it!

      As for the VOA vs. NPR – they both go. It is the times we are in. It is the new reality. The feds will be taking a back seat for a long time – hopefully forever – if we are to save this country.

    8. Paul, Hawthorne NJ says:

      “Communism is not love. Communism is a hammer which we use to crush the enemy.”

      Mao Tse-Tung quotes

      “Passivity is fatal to us. Our goal is to make the enemy passive.”

      Mao Tse-Tung quote

      Once you minimize Mao’s view of life and purpose and the democide of 30 to 80 million under Communism it is easy to deny that evil truly exist. The blame should be put upon our leaders who are weak and spineless with no convictions.

      As one who lived in China for several years and traveled all over the country everyday you see the face of the oppressive Communist regime in the human rights abuses, the adults and children working as slaves and in the factory workers who commit suicide because of the unbearable working conditions. To turn a blind eye to this is to view the world through rose colored glasses.

      Dwight David Eisenhower (1953–1961)

      "There is nothing wrong with America that the faith, love of freedom, intelligence and energy of her citizens cannot cure."

      An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.

      Winston Churchill

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