As the Chinese regime steps up the sophistication and tempo of its international propaganda operations, the United States government is curtailing a mainstay of providing unfiltered news and information to the most restive large areas under one-party control.
The Voice of America (VOA) has announced plans to terminate its shortwave broadcasts into rural China and Tibet, citing cost-cutting measures and its move toward more digital programming.
Rural China and Tibet have been major sore points for the communist regime.
Farmers have led grassroots revolts against official corruption and taxation without representation. Because they do not have access to digital media, they depend on VOA shortwave broadcasts to stay informed.
“China has appropriated $7 billion on international propaganda in the past two years,” an Obama administration official close to VOA tells Bill Gertz at the Washington Times. “In 2011, CCTV [PRC state television] North America in Washington, D.C., plans to increase its reporters from 12 to 20 people. Meanwhile, VOA Chinese staff will be cut over 50 percent.”
Meanwhile, promised reforms at VOA's scandal-plagued Persian broadcasting unit are slow in coming, as this blogger has heard firsthand from dozens of Iranian democracy activists.