BBC Statement accuses China of Jamming

On Mondaqy, the BBC accused China of jamming its Mandarin English-language service on shortwave. However, it also added that it wasn’t poossible to determine exactly where the blocking was coming from. Not at “this stage”, anyway.

On Tuesday, a foreign ministry spokesperson claimed not to understand the situation, and a media commenter, Michael Anti, apparently presented himself as a nerd (quoted by The Guardian):

I doubt there is anyone listening to the BBC English radio in China.

Anti should know better – there are even Chinese online discussions about foreign broadcasters on shortwave. Not to mention that only every second Chinese citizen is a regluar internet user so far.


Update / Correction (Febr 26, 2013):

the BBC statement is about jamming of its shortwave programs in English.


The following is a recording of a Falun-Gong-leaning station, the Sound of Hope (希望之声) being jammed.

You can hear the jamming station’s output rise after 35 seconds into the recording, and the “alternative” program, Chinese folk music known as “Firedrake” (火龙干扰) sets in after one minute. (Recorded in June, 2011.)

It appears that regular Chinese domestic programs on shortwave are also at times used to interfere with undesired foreign broadcasters, as they go on air along with them, and off air once the undesired broadcasts are over.

click picture for source.

click picture for source.

That’s a lot of time and effort for nothing, if nobody in China actually listens.



» Always with you on Shortwave (Chinese blogpost translation), March 17, 2012
» Radio jamming in China, Wikipedia, acc. 20130226


8 Responses to “BBC Statement accuses China of Jamming”

  1. The ABC didn’t reference you JR

    That’s alright – I’d rather wish that this would be referenced frequently, but the story appears to be untouchable.

    What China is doing on the airwaves amounts to hooliganism. What I found somewhat strange, however, was Simon Spanswick‘s remark that jamming is simply so contrary to the notion of a universal right to fair and free information that it simply can’t be allowed to continue.

    Quite frankly, you either add teeth to such remarks, or you can save the CO2 it takes to utter them. If the vandalism doesn’t stop, Western media should react. Rebroadcasters for China Radio International, for example, could bindingly agree among themselves to add something like a one-minute-announcement before the rebroadcast. Stuff like this:

    This is a rebroadcast of a China Radio International program. Chinese media can freely access free societies and tell their side of the story. The other way round, it’s quite different. […]

    Wet fantasies – I know. But without preparedness for steps like these (which would indeed hurt face-conscious propagandists quite a bit), all the talk about “it can’t be allowed” is bullshit.


  2. Agree with your wet fantasy JR. The PRC has been gaming the rest of the world for ages beginning with the WTO.Thus my sneering at Richard’s latest at PD. Given up on any negative reciprocity as I live in a social formation which automatically assumes a supine/starfish position in relation to all matters PRC ie. unequal investment opportunities, application of commercial law, property investment, industrial espoinage etc. The list is endless.

    Think of Germany 1914 and 1939. I can’t dredge up the exact trade figures between Germany and Britain/US etc, but they were significant, yet they didn’t interfere or hold back Nazi nationalisn and the us versus them mentality. Those who think that trade and commercial links will keep China in line as it emerges as a major geo-political entity are fools. I expect military conflict to arise in whats left of my lifetime.

    Fortunately, China has nil experience as an expansive military power, just a collection of shiny new military toys. Combine this with the US pivot and all the PRC’s close neighbours who fear and suspect her foreign policy “dreams”, and the wheel of karma will eventually come the full circle…..implosion and the gradual emergence of new dynastic order, which will have to deal with some of the most intractable environmental problems on the planet.

    Symapthy for their environmental and other predicaments? Not a one, since it is their culture (ethics, morality, ways of making sense of the world (the inherent constraints of their language ) which is turning China into an untrustworthy and dangerous global actor.


  3. Your comment in the spam bin, KT? Never!
    It was in the pending queue, though.

    As for the opportunism vis-a-vis China, I’m not blaming China first of all. I believe that many among our political “elites” are quite fond of how the CCP carries out its “social management”. You know, peers talk among each other all the time, and when your counterpart wears a Rolex and has quite an economic entity or company under his command, it must be the right guy to talk to.

    That’s why the Economist called North Korea fascist in a book review (or agreed with the book in that regard), but wouldn’t ever think of talking that way about China.

    They seem to have hardened a bit, though. China hasn’t been as useful recently as it had been prior to the global financial crisis.


  4. Social managemant. The dazzling timepeace. Dead true.
    sinonk has provided great reading of late.


  5. “That’s why the Economist called North Korea fascist in a book review (or agreed with the book in that regard), but wouldn’t ever think of talking that way about China.”

    Perhaps the Economist has never described China as fascist, but both the New York Times and Foreign Policy have published articles asking whether the People’s Republic of China could not be described in such terms.

    The jamming brings an end to an example of something which 6-7 years ago would still be touted as a difference between the PRC and a totalitarian state – that people may still access foreign media relatively unimpeded if they have the means and the know-how to do so. Now, it is no longer possible to access foreign websites using anything other than a VPN – and sometimes not even with a VPN. RFA, VOA, and the BBC’s English language broadcasts are jammed, but we can expect that these will not be the last broadcasts to be jammed. Television is now routinely interrupted, even when broadcast via satellite.

    I don’t know the degree to which this is actually effective though. I remember back in ’03 hearing all about Jiang Zemin’s various affairs from taxi-drivers and shop-keepers in Nanjing, and I expect that Wen Jiabao’s familial goings-on have just as much currency in today’s China – block or no block.



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