USAGM WATCH COMMENTARY

We have been contacted in the last several days by a young Chinese immigrant who finished his education and now works in the United States and wanted to let us know that the taxpayer-funded Voice of America (VOA) in the $800 million (annual) U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) is repeating propaganda being put out by the communist regime in China.

Our contact in the Chinese American community is not the only one who has noticed VOA’s tendency to parrot Beijing’s propaganda. Speaking at a White House press briefing on April 15, 2020, President Trump harshly criticized the current management of U.S. government-funded media outreach abroad, stating that what the Voice of America is saying about America is “disgusting” and “a disgrace.” A few days earlier, the White House posted a statement that “Journalists should report the facts, but VOA has instead amplified Beijing’s propaganda.”

Voice of America director Amanda Bennett, who was appointed to her position during the Obama administration, defended herself in a statement asserting that “We are thoroughly covering China’s dis-information and misinformation in English and Mandarin and at the same time reporting factually – as we always do in all 47 of our broadcast languages – on other events in China.”

Several months before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB) Executive Director Ann Noonan criticized anti-U.S. and pro-China regime Twitter messages from the U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America. Representing her non-partisan, independent NGO, Ann Noonan spoke about it on September 11, 2019 at the open meeting of the USAGM Board which oversees the work of VOA executives and journalists, as the agency still lacks a permanent CEO appointed by the U.S. President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

In recent years, USAGM Watch has seen and reported on multiple examples of the Voice of America English and Chinese services using and repeating propaganda and disinformation coming from the communist regime in China, often without any challenge or balance. Under Director Bennett’s watch, VOA Mandarin Service posted in recent weeks multiple videos of Chinese communist officials making false claims on COVID-19 and attacking the United States government. We consider Director Bennett’s defense of her management and leadership at the Voice of America to be highly misleading and filled with half-truths.

We have received recently three messages from a young immigrant from China currently living in the United States who agrees that a significant portion of the Voice of America programming in Mandarin mimics Chinese government propaganda and presents a false image of the United States to the Chinese audience. We have slightly edited and combined these messages to further obscure the Chinese immigrant’s identity because the writer, a former student who works in the United States and has a family in China, does not want to be identified by name or be involved in any political activity. We made no changes to the substance of the information and opinions in these messages.

The writer is not the only Chinese-American critic of the Voice of America and its current director. In the last three years there have been thousands of Twitter comments from native Chinese and Chinese Americans who have criticized the Voice of America and VOA Director Amanda Bennett for what they see as amplifying the Chinese communist regime’s propaganda and disinformation campaign against the United States, against the protesters in Hong Kong and against its own population in China.


Are you interested in some stories I found on VOA’s Chinese website that are “disgraceful”?

BY A CHINESE IMMIGRANT WHO WANTS TO REMAIN ANONYMOUS

Are you interested in a news report I found on the Voice of America VOA Chinese website that is “disgraceful”? I just saw one saying Americans are frequently attacking Asians because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The VOA Chinese report is titled: “口水与暴力:疫情期间美国亚裔受歧视与骚扰事件频发,” which translates “Spitting and violence: Asian Americans suffer frequent discrimination and harassment during the epidemic.”

Personally, I have never been treated like that in America. And I do not know any Asian who was treated like that by Americans. It does not reflect the reality in America at all. I have seen media in China doing a lot of reporting like the one posted by the Voice of America. My mother in China called to say she was worried about me after seeing these Chinese media reports. I told her that is not what most people have experienced in the U.S. I am very safe here. I did not think that the Voice of America would do the same type of reporting as state communist media in China.

I am not saying that an incident like the one in the VOA report never happened. I am sure it did. It is the way the Voice of America chose to write its report that troubles me.

I live in Virginia. I was a student from China but now I am working. I do not know why VOA does this. I just feel they are not doing a good job. I have seen also recently at least ten VOA Chinese video reports showing nothing but statements from Chinese government officials.

Please forgive me for not being able to provide more information about myself. I do not want to get involved in politics.

I will try to translate the VOA report for you.


VOICE OF AMERICA CHINESE NEWS REPORT

This is an unofficial translation provided by a Chinese immigrant living in the United States. We cannot verify or confirm its complete accuracy but it is close to a Google translation of the VOA Chinese report posted on the VOA website on April 24, 2020 as seen on the web on April 27, 2020 at 9:00 PM EDT.

Spitting and violence: Asian Americans suffer frequent discrimination and harassment during the epidemic

On a weekend in early April, young designer Stephanie walked on the way home in Koreatown, Midtown Manhattan, New York. A middle-aged black woman was talking to herself loudly. “She was a little crazy, she came towards me and said to herself, she lost her job.” Stephanie said. Stephanie said to VOA on the phone: “She seems to be complaining. When she saw me, she looked like she was saying,” You will follow me! “Then she tried to spit at me.” Stephanie was not sprayed by the strange woman’s saliva. “At that moment, I was a little shocked because such a thing never happened to me. And I have lived in New York for a few years.”

Stephanie, who immigrated from Hong Kong to the United States at an early age, did not associate this matter with ethnic factors. But on the same weekend, the speech provocation from another stranger made her feel very uncomfortable. “We are walking on the road, a woman suddenly said to us, do you know that the Chinese are the least vulnerable to this virus?” “She meant that maybe we (Chinese) made it (new coronavirus). She started to provoke and tried to anger us.” Stephanie explained. “I suddenly realized that these two things happened on the same weekend. I usually don’t encounter strangers making such remarks to me.”

After the start of the New Crown Epidemic, reports of Chinese people living in the United States who suffered discriminatory verbal attacks and even hate attacks because they put on their masks first appeared in the media. Multiple video clips circulating on the Internet show that Asian passengers were abused, spit, and even beaten on the New York subway. Vietnamese American Nan T. is currently doing postdoctoral research in a medical economics project at a university on the east coast of the United States. He told VOA that he felt unsafe on the subway in New York. “I feel that people are indeed evading you and projecting you a skeptical look.”

The California-based Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council, Chinese for Affirmative Action, and San Francisco State University began soliciting discrimination against Asians related to the new crown epidemic in March this year. Reports of harassment and attacks. The statistical reports issued by these three organizations say that the project has received 1,135 reports from the United States in the two weeks from March 19 to April 1. “Verbal harassment”, “encounter avoidance”, “body attack”, “coughed or spit in the face” are the main types of discrimination in the report. The report says that women are attacked twice as often as men.

The largest number of reports came from California, accounting for 42.9% of the total, followed by New York State, which accounted for 18.5%. Nan told VOA that his insecurity on the subway may have come from an encounter in early March. At that time, the new crown epidemic was just beginning in the United States, and the number of diagnoses in the United States was less than 100. “I was walking in East Village, New York at about 8pm. A man pointed at me and said” coronavirus “! A very threatening look,” he said. “There were a lot of pedestrians on the road at the time, and I was the only Asian in that section of the street.” He said: “There are a lot of Chinese and Asian Americans in New York. I never had the kind of nervousness that I was afraid of being recognized before. In this city with a large number of ethnic minorities, it can be integrated naturally. “

Nan frankly said: “To be honest, what I thought at the beginning was-although I didn’t say it-but my inner rebuttal was: ‘I am not Chinese, you know, I am Asian but I am not Chinese, You discriminated against the wrong person. ‘” He said: “But after that, I think, as a racial group, it doesn’t matter whether I am Chinese or not. Once you look in the eyes of others they can be discriminated against, this is enough for them, Because you are what they think you should be. “There are a lot of fears about China now. Everyone thinks we are engaged in a cultural and economic war with China, which is the root cause. Our current situation is that we have been emphasizing that this virus originated in China. Some people in the government politicizing this issue will add fuel to the fire. ” 25 Democratic senators from the Democratic Party wrote to US President Trump on April 21 stating that the number of harassment and violence suffered by Americans of Asian and Pacific descent during the new crown epidemic continued to increase, promising to cooperate with the president to combat racism and eliminate prejudice.

New York designer Stephanie said he hopes the government will increase the efficiency of handling people ’s reports of racial discrimination. She said that after the spitting incident, she called the 311 government hotline, but 311 asked her to call 911, and 911 asked her to go directly to the police. “I don’t want to go to the police because the woman is gone. There is no place to reflect this kind of thing. I want to remind the people around me that someone here may cause harm to others.” Stephanie said. An Sam customer supermarket in Midland, Texas, USA, was cut with a knife on March 14. A 19-year-old man cut three people in a family with a knife. The FBI report said the suspect said he believed the family was Chinese who spread the new crown virus. The man may face hate crime charges.


VOA CHINESE SERVICE REPORT

As seen on the VOA Chinese website on April 27, 2020 9PM EDT.

口水与暴力:疫情期间美国亚裔受歧视与骚扰事件频发

许宁华盛顿 —

四月初的一个周末,年轻的设计师Stephanie在纽约曼哈顿中城区韩国城走在回家的路上,路边一名中年黑人女子正在大声地自言自语。

“她有点疯癫,她朝我走过来,自言自语地说,她丢了工作。”Stephanie说。

Stephanie在电话上对美国之音说:“她好像是在抱怨,当她看到我的那一刻,她的样子好像是在说‘你给我接着!’然后就试图向我吐口水。”

Stephanie没有被这名陌生女子的口水喷到。“那一刻,我有一些震惊,因为这样的事从来没有在我身上发生过。而我已经在纽约住了几年了。”

从小从香港移民到美国的Stephanie当时并没有将这件事与种族因素作联想。但就在同一个周末,来自另一名陌生人的言语挑衅让她感到十分不舒服。

“我们正走在路上,一个女人突然对着我们说,你们知道中国人是最不容易感染这个病毒的吗?”

“她的意思是,也许是‘我们’(华人)制造了它(新型冠状病毒)。她开始挑衅,试图激怒我们。”Stephanie解释说。

“我突然意识到,这两件事发生在同一个周末。我平时不会遇到陌生人对我发出这样的言论。”

新冠疫情开始后,生活在美国的华人因为“率先”戴起口罩而遭受歧视言语攻击甚至仇恨攻击的报道开始见诸媒体。

网络上流传的多个视频片段显示,亚裔乘客在纽约地铁上遭受辱骂、吐口水、甚至被殴打。

越南裔美国人Nan T.目前正在美国东岸一所大学的医疗经济学项目做博士后研究。他对美国之音说,他在纽约的地铁上感到不安全。

“我感觉人们的确在躲闪你,给你投射一种怀疑的眼光。”

设在加利福尼亚州的亚太政策与规划委员会(Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council)、华人权益促进会(Chinese for Affirmative Action)以及旧金山州立大学今年3月开始征集与新冠疫情相关的针对亚裔人士的歧视、骚扰和攻击报告。这三家机构发布的统计报告说,3月19至4月1日两星期来,该项目共收到来自美国各地1135个举报。

“言语骚扰”、“遭遇躲避”、“身体攻击”、“被当面咳嗽或吐口水”是举报中的主要歧视类型。报告说,女性受到攻击的频率要比男性高出一倍。

来自加州的举报数量最多,占总数的42.9%,纽约州其次,占18.5%。

Nan对美国之音说,他在地铁上的不安全感可能来自3月初的一次遭遇。那时新冠疫情在美国才刚开始,全美诊断确诊数还不到100。

“我当时走在纽约东村(East Village),大概晚上8点。一名男子指着我说‘coronavirus’(冠状病毒)!一副很有威胁的样子。”他说。

“当时路上有很多行人,我是那段街道唯一的亚洲人。”他说:“纽约有大量的华人和亚裔美国人,我以前从来没有那种怕被认出来的那种紧张感,觉得在这个少数族裔众多的城市可以自然融入。”

Nan坦言:“老实说,一开始我想的是——虽然我没有说出来——但我内心的反驳是:‘我又不是中国人,你知道吗,我是亚洲人但我不是中国人,你歧视对象指错人了。’”

他说:“但在这以后,我想,作为一个种族的群体,我是不是中国人不重要。一旦你在别人眼里看上去是他们可以歧视的对象,这对他们来说就足够了,因为你的样子是他们认为你应该像的模样。”

“现在有很多对中国的恐惧。大家认为我们正在与中国进行一场文化战和经济战,这是根本原因。我们现在的情况是,一直在强调这种病毒起源于中国,政府里的一些人把这个问题政治化,这更是火上浇油。”

25名民主党籍联邦参议员4月21日致函美国总统特朗普,指出美国亚太裔在新冠疫情期间遭受的骚扰和暴力事件持续增加,承诺要与总统合作对抗种族主义、消除偏见。

纽约设计师Stephanie说,希望政府提高处理民众举报种族歧视言行的效率。她说,经历了被吐口水事件后,她拨打了311政府热线,但311让她打给911,911又让她直接找警察。

“我不想找警察,因为那个女人已经不见了。没有地方可以反映这种事。我想提醒身边的市民,这里有人可能会对别人造成伤害。”Stephanie说。

美国德克萨斯州米德兰市的一家山姆会员超市3月14日发生亚裔顾客被砍伤事件。一名19岁的男子持刀砍伤一家四口中的三人。联邦调查局的报告说,犯罪嫌疑人表示,他认为这家人是传播新冠病毒的中国人。这名男子可能会面临仇恨犯罪指控。

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