President Obama is canceling pro U.S. shortwave radio broadcasts to China while the Chinese show no signs of cutting broadcasting to the U.S.
If Congress approves the cuts, U.S. shortwave broadcasts to China will end on October 1st, 2011.
Many critics argue that many in China rely on U.S. shortwave broadcasts for news that is unfiltered and untouched by the communist Chinese government, especially those in Tibet and western Xinjiang province.
“This is another alarming sign that America is cowering before China‘s gangster regime,” said Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, California Republican and member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “The Chinese people are our greatest allies, and the free flow of information is our greatest weapon.”
The plan is a cost cutting measure to shift broadcasts to the internet, but many argue that China blocks most pro democracy internet websites and shortwave broadcasts are notoriously difficult for the Chinese government to block and censor compared to internet based sources.
“This cut will send a very wrong message to China,” said an administration official close to VOA. “By eliminating all VOA radio and TV broadcasts to China, the United States will remove one of the most important sources of unfiltered news broadcasting into China.”
During the visit of Hu Jintao, one official in the state department said that the U.S. didn’t pressure China to permit U.S. broadcasts in China for fear of the Chinese limiting U.S. academic exchange student programs.
Former Broadcast Board of Governors member Blanquita Cullum said
“When it comes to pro-democracy broadcasting to the world and with events like Egypt happening, this is not the time to retreat,” she said. “This is the time to advance and reach out with more broadcasting.”