In an interview with Ian Johnson for The New York Review of Books, blind Chinese human rights activist Chen Guangcheng, who now lives in the United States, said that those who advocate for the ending of shortwave news radio broadcasts in Chinese by stations such as the Voice of America (VOA) do not understand the situation in the countryside in China. “I think a lot of these foreign broadcasters are wrong to stop broadcasting in shortwave to China,” Chen Guangcheng told The New York Review of Books. In the Chinese countryside, Internet access is relatively low and many ordinary Chinese can’t get online, Chen Guangcheng said.
The Voice of America is managed by the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), a federal agency whose executives have tried repeatedly to end VOA radio broadcasts to China and Tibet. Each time, members of Congress from both parties intervened to stop BBG executives from carrying out their plans.
The problem is that many ordinary Chinese can’t get online. Right now, the percentage of Chinese with cell phones is high but in the countryside Internet access is relatively low. So I think a lot of these foreign broadcasters are wrong to stop broadcasting in shortwave to China. In the past, we listened regularly to Deutsche Welle, Radio Canada International, and of course Voice of America. But countries are planning to scale back or even cut these services. This shows that these people don’t understand the situation in the countryside in China.
‘Pressure for Change is at the Grassroots’: An Interview with Chen Guangcheng by Ian Johnson in The New York Review of Books