BBG Watch | PETITION
In a JOINT APPEAL TO CONGRESS, dated June 24, 2017, Chinese democracy seekers, press freedom advocates and scholars are asking for blocking proposed cuts to Radio Free Asia (RFA) Mandarin Service in the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) FY 2018 budget proposal.
“In view of CCP’s absolute control of all the media in China and its infiltration in various ways into American society and media, the massive budget cut on RFA’s Mandarin Service will bring a crisis to the very existence of the entire Radio Free Asia. At a time when the Chinese are attempting to influence the media in America including operating secret radio stations here, placing China Daily in the Washington Post and other major newspapers and whatever resulted in VOA Guo interview controversy, the plan to destroy RFA’s Mandarin Service will further shock and confuse the Chinese audience in China and everywhere around the world.”
Radio Free Asia’s China Services Must Not Be Silenced
The FY2018 President’s Budget reduces Radio Free Asia’s Mandarin Services by 94%, effectively silencing any accurate timely news and information inside China, where access to a free press is prohibited.
Radio Free Asia, part of US International Broadcasting, is the only surrogate broadcaster dedicated to informing, engaging and broadcasting domestic news into China from ANYWHERE in the world in Mandarin language.
Radio Free Asia is the only surrogate that powerfully penetrates the information blockade in China by providing the people with the truth about subjects China’s censors would like to hide, giving voice to the voiceless, exposing corruption and through raising public awareness of critical issues, force positive change in the world’s most populous authoritarian regime.
Radio Free Asia is the free press for in China who live in a world full of flashy media and sorely lacking information most important to its citizens’ daily lives.
In a JOINT APPEAL TO CONGRESS, dated June 24, 2017, Chinese democracy seekers, press freedom advocates and scholars, calling upon Robert Corker, Ben Cardin, Edward Royce, Elliott Engel, Hal Rodgers, Nita Lowey, Lindsay Graham, Patrick Leahy, Marco Rubio, Chris Smith, Nancy Pelosi, John McCain, Tim Kaine and Gerry Connelly, to ensure that: “Mandarin Service and RFA will continue to enhance the broadcasting and programming so that it can accomplish its mission during this historical contest between democracy and dictatorship. This way, the Mandarin Service will help ensure that human rights and freedom finally prevail in China and everywhere.”
If the President’s FY2018 Budget proposal to eliminate 94% of RFA Mandarin Services goes through, the programs that will be eliminated include RFA Mandarin radio programming and RFA Mandarin television programming. These are the only possible broadcast services that prevent China’s government from both censoring the broadcast and monitoring or surveilling those who are receiving the broadcasting.
This proposed elimination of Radio Free Asia broadcast services will mean
– No more independent voices countering Chinese propaganda;
– No more uncensored discourse on issues of public health, religious freedom, human rights, the economy, geo-political events, corruption, South China Sea, Taiwan, Tibet, pollution;
– No more investigative reports on issues petitioners raise but are shut down by the Chinese Communist Party;
– No clarifications on the pervasive Chinese language anti-US rhetoric on state media outlets (or countering anti freedom and anti democratic narratives);
– No visibility into the subjects, commentary or facts that are removed from the domestic Chinese social media environment by Chinese censors;
– unchallenged Chinese narratives vilifying Uyghurs, Tibetans and other minority populations in China
Radio Free Asia’s work for two decades will be silenced. This will silence the impact RFA has had in:
– educating citizens on polluted consumer products including vaccines, baby formula and cooking oil;
– de-isolating communities who are arbitrarily victims of corrupt land-grabs;
– forcing state media to address local corruption that resulted in building collapses;
– providing leading analysis of China’s internal political power struggle;
– breaking stories that are hidden by Chinese censors and thereby forcing state media to address;
– showing the campaign to destroy Christian churches with exclusive video of destruction and airing voices of Christians protesting the actions;
If these cuts go through, the $300,000 that is remaining in the budget will support social media work in China. China’s use of their Great Firewall and numerous censorship efforts using laws, physical intimidation, detentions, etc. may effectively prevent any RFA Social Media use in China.
Radio Free Asia’s Mandarin social media content will be reduced to headlines and some video clips.
If these FY2018 budget cuts go through, they will achieve a greater degree of oppression of expression than any Chinese censor could even dream of.
JOINT APPEAL TO CONGRESS
To: Members of Congress
Attn: Honorable Robert Corker, Ben Cardin, Edward Royce, Elliott Engel, Hal Rodgers, Nita Lowey, Lindsay Graham, Patrick Leahy, Marco Rubio, Chris Smith, Nancy Pelosi, John McCain, Tim Kaine and Gerry Connelly
Call for Congressional Restoration of Radio Free Asia’s Mandarin Service
June 10, 2017
We are deeply concerned and worried about the proposed slashing of 94% of the Mandarin Service at Radio Free Asia which would amount to an elimination of uncensored Mandarin news into China.
When in June, 1949 Radio Free Europe was set up in New York, few people would realize that this media organization, with its 1000 hours of broadcasting in 28 languages per week, would play an irreplaceable role in revealing the darkness and truth behind the Iron Curtain and in spreading the values of freedom and democracy during the Cold War that would last for half a century.
In March, 1996, according to the “1994 International Broadcasting Act” of the United States, Radio Free Asia was created with congressional funding and under the supervision of Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG). Radio Free Asia was mandated by the Congress to provide “broadcasting service to the People’s Republic of China and other countries of Asia, which lack adequate sources of free information and ideas, would enhance the promotion of information and ideas, while advancing the goals of US foreign policy.” For the past 21 years, through a generation of effort to continuously spread the truth and disseminate modern civilization values, Radio Free Asia’s impact has been far reaching.
As is known to all, Beijing government in recent years has kept strengthening its communist orthodox ideology and fanning fanatic statism and nationalism. The new cold war waged by Beijing in the 21st century takes on an even larger scale than the classic cold war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, and will bring even more serious damages and consequences.
The propaganda department of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), in recent years, has taken a full advantage of the gaps in the western societies as well as the space of market economies to engage in an external ideological infiltration. It utilizes all forms of media to export its newly packaged world strategy and a new version of its ideological and value system. It is The Grand External Propaganda Strategy, as China calls it.
In view of CCP’s absolute control of all the media in China and its infiltration in various ways into American society and media, the massive budget cut on RFA’s Mandarin Service will bring a crisis to the very existence of the entire Radio Free Asia. At a time when the Chinese are attempting to influence the media in America including operating secret radio stations here, placing China Daily in the Washington Post and other major newspapers and whatever resulted in VOA Guo interview controversy, the plan to destroy RFA’s Mandarin Service will further shock and confuse the Chinese audience in China and everywhere around the world.
More importantly, the withdrawal of RFA’s Mandarin Service, if the Congress passes its budget cut, from this battlefield of values and ideology confrontation, will not be a loss for China’s prospect of freedom and democracy alone. The absence of the service from this battlefront will also accelerate the rise of Chinese dictatorship and immediately endanger the vital interests and national security of the United States. We firmly believe that isolationism cannot and should not be the U.S. foreign policy today.
Therefore, we call for ACTION by the U.S. Congress on this matter and to prevent such most unfavorable consequences.
We hope that Mandarin Service and RFA will continue to enhance the broadcasting and programming so that it can accomplish its mission during this historical contest between democracy and dictatorship. This way, the Mandarin Service will help ensure that human rights and freedom finally prevail in China and everywhere.
[Note: This is an on-going open letter available online inside and outside China for all]
Yu Ying-shih, historian and Sinologist, former tenured professor at Harvard Univ., Yale Univ., and Princeton Univ., recipient of the John W. Kluge Prize for lifetime achievement NJ
Wang Kang, independent scholar, special commentator for VOA
Zheng Yi , writer in exile, former President,Independent Chinese PEN Center VA
Wuerkaixi, former Tiananmen student movement leader, Taiwan
Cheng Kai, former Editor-in-Chief, Hainan Daily newspaper in China SF
Yi Ping, editor, Human Rights in China Ithaca, NY
Wan Runnan, former President, Stone Group, China Paris, France
Li Weidong, former President, “Reform in China” magazine NJ
Wang Zhiyong, scholar, Christian theologians and pastor VA
He Zehong, group leader, wechat social media group xianluqiusuo China
Hu Ping, independent scholar NY, NY
Gao Yaojie, AIDs prevention and control specialist, medical doctorNY, NY
Wei Bizhou, Deputy Editor-in-Chief, World Journal newspaperNY,NY
Cai Yongmei, commentator; Editor, Open Magazine, Hong Kong Hong Kong
Xia Yeliang, visiting fellow at the Cato Institute, DC; former professor, Peking University DC
Hongfu Ding, independent scholar, retired engineer PA
Li Jianglin, scholar on Tibetan issue PA
Zhang Suqing, rotating group leader, wechat social media group fengyujiancheng China
Bing Zhiyun, rotating group leader, wechat social media group fengyujiancheng
Zhang Jing, Chairperson, China Women Rights NY
Li Jinjin, practicing lawyer NY, NY
Kunga Tashi, Chinese Liaison Officer, the Office of TibetWashington DC
Xiong Yan, U.S. army chaplain, former Tiananmen student movement leader CA
Sheng Xue, journalist, writer Canada
Tan Zuoren, rights activist Sichuan, China, Tiananmen activist in exile, VA
Xia Ming, professor, City University of New York, NY
Wang Juntoa, Chairman, China Democratic Party National Committee, Ph.D, political scientist, NY, NY
Chen Liqun, Vice Chairman, China Democratic Party National Committee NY
Chen Kuide, Editor-in-Chief, China in Perspective online magazine VA
Perry Link, Sinologist, Chancellorial Chair Professor, University of California, Riverside and Emeritus Professor at Princeton University, co-translator of Tiananmen Papers, LA
Zhang Hua, poet, France
Lin Mingmin, Editor-in- Chief, Pacific Times
Chen Pokong, political commentator, NY
Chen Weiming, sculpture artist, New Zealand
Qin JinChairman, Federation for a democratic China, Australia
Hsu Ru-Heng professor,Taiwan
Qiu Yueshou, Ph.D, political scientist; group leader, wechat social media
Zhong Jinjiang, Chairman, Chinese Alliance for Democracy, Australia
Lu Jinhua, Human Rights worker, NY
Huning Xiong, Board member, wechat social media, Australian Values Alliance, Australia
Xu Wenli, Chinese democrat, Rhode Island
Hu Yuming, Parramatta city congressman, Australia
Zhang Xiaogang, Supervisor, Federation for a democratic China, Australia
Qin Chenshou, rights lawyer, Guangxi, China
Zhong Jinhua, rights lawyer, China
Cheng Xiaonong, independent scholar NJ
Yu Jie , dissident writer in exile, VA
Yang Jianli, founder, Citizen Power, MD
Gao Jian, council member, Federation for a democratic China
Feng Congde, scholar in exile in America, former Tiananmen student movement leader, SF
Wang Xueli, Editor-in-Chief, ibaochina in the US
Kao Yu, independent Chinese writer
Bob Fu, Chairman of China Aid
Liao Yiwu, exile poet and writer
Dolkun Isa, Secretary of the World Uyghur Congress
Ishat Hassan, spokesperson/consultant of World Uyghur Congress
Tsering Woeser, Writer, poet and Tibetan activist.