Posts tagged ‘Falun Gong’

Friday, July 14, 2017

Liu Xiaobo, 1955 – 2017

It won’t be long before Liu Xiaobo‘s first post-mortem biography will be published. But it won’t have the last word. There will be further biographies, and each of them will be contested. That’s because of the man himself, and because of his country. He was a man with a conscience, and his country has been a totalitarian dictatorship for nearly seven decades – if you count the KMT’s martial law in, it’s been a dictatorship for much longer than that.

Liu Xiaobo’s political lifespan lasted for three or four decades. That doesn’t count as long in China. The Communist Party’s propaganda works tirelessly to create and sustain the “People’s Republic’s” population’s imagination of a civilizational history of five or more millenia. And at the same time, the party needs to sustain the notion that the most recent seven decades had been the best in China’s history. Not only the past fourty, after the leadership’s decision to “reform and to open up”, but the past seven decades, including Maoism. CCP propaganda’s aim is to build an image of its rule where the pre- and post-1978 decades are one political unit, without substantial contradictions within.

In all likelihood, Liu Xiaobo had foreseen that trend. Many Chinese dissidents, no matter if opponents of China’s cultural restauration, or opponents of the KMT’s military dictatorship on Taiwan, saw a Chinese complacency at work, considering itself the center of the universe.

Cultural criticism is rarely a rewarding trade, but in China, it can be lethal, as shown in Liu Xiaobo’s case.

Liu’s last camp and prison term, which began in 2009 and ended with his relase on medical parole, with cancer in its final stage, had been based on the accusation that he had “incited subversion of state power”. But the Beijing First Intermediate People’s Court’s verdict – passed on Christmas day of 2009, probably to keep the level of international attention as low as possible –  only reflected the CCP’s fear of Liu, not the likely divide between the dissident and his people. A likely divide only, because in a totalitarian dictatorship, these things are more uncertain than in an open society. Hu Jia, himself a dissident who spent more than three years in prison from 2007 to 2011, noted during Liu’s dying days that only about one out of a hundred Beijingers knew who Liu Xiaobo was. Michael Bristow, the BBC’s China correspondent  in 2011, made a similar observation back then.

The 1980s mostly came across as a period of economic optimism, but accompanied by phenomena that were viewed negatively – particularly corruption, which was one of the factors that propelled the June-4 movement at its beginning.

Liu’s answer to what was frequently seen as China’s ailments was “westernization”. Stays in Western countries seem to have intensified his idea, just as Deng Xiaoping is said to have had his own cultural shock when visiting Singapore, in 1978.

But there lies a difference between the great statesman, and the great dissident. Singapore, a highly developed city state led by a family clan, is a model not only for authoritarian Chinese nationals – Taiwanese law-and-order-minded people tend to prefer Singapore as a holiday destination, rather than “messy” Hong Kong.

Liu Xiaobo’s model of development was Hong Kong of the 1980s. It was also the crown colony that provided the intellectual in his early thirties with some public resonance. In one of the interviews, given by Liu to a magazine named Kaifang at the time, Liu made statements that astonished the interviewer:

Q. Under what circumstances can China carry out a genuine historical transformation?
A. Three hundred years of colonialism.  Hong Kong became like this after one hundred years of colonialism.  China is so much larger, so obviously it will take three hundred years of colonialism.  I am still doubtful whether three hundred years of colonialism will be enough to turn China into Hong Kong today.

Q. This is 100% “treason.”
A. I will cite one sentence from Marx’s Manifesto of the Communist Party: “Workers do not have motherlands.  You cannot take away what they don’t have.”  I care about neither patriotism nor treason.  If you say that I betray my country, I will go along!  I admit that I am an impious son who dug up his ancestors’ graves and I am proud of it.

Both the “insults” and Liu’s expressly stated pessimism probably made for a divide between him and many Chinese (as far as they got to know his story). Or, as Roland Soong, a blogger from Hong Kong, noted next to his translation of the 1988 interview, as of 2010, “I suggest that unless Charter 08 (or any other message) can connect with many people in other social strata, it will remain a mental exercise among ‘public intellectuals.'”

And nothing works in the modern middle kingdom, unless it comes with a festive up-with-people sound. (In that sense, China is globalizing indeed.)

When Soong translated the interview quoted from above, and added his assessment of the Charter 08, the global financial crisis had been wreaking havoc on Western economies for about two years, and at least one of the Charter’s demands had fallen from the tree since: #14 called for

Protection of Private Property. We should establish and protect the right to private property and promote an economic system of free and fair markets. We should do away with government monopolies in commerce and industry and guarantee the freedom to start new enterprises. We should establish a Committee on State-Owned Property, reporting to the national legislature, that will monitor the transfer of state-owned enterprises to private ownership in a fair, competitive, and orderly manner. We should institute a land reform that promotes private ownership of land, guarantees the right to buy and sell land, and allows the true value of private property to be adequately reflected in the market.

There wasn’t necessarily a conflict on this matter, between the party leadership and the authors of the Charter – time will show how the CCP is going to handle the remaining state sector of the economy. But among everyday Chinese people, this demand would hardly strike a chord. Besides, who can imagine a transfer of state-owned enterprises to private ownership “in a fair, competitive, and orderly manner”?

In the Charter’s preface, the authors wrote:

The Chinese people, who have endured human rights disasters and uncountable struggles across these same years, now include many who see clearly that freedom, equality, and human rights are universal values of humankind and that democracy and constitutional government are the fundamental framework for protecting these values.

It was a cautious description of the status quo: Liu and his co-authors understood that only a critical minority would side with them. And indeed, there was more to endure in the pipeline. The educational dictatorship China is now entering encourages anticipatory obedience rather than awareness, and it is likely to succeed. When you keep beating people up long enough – and provide them with a hopeful perspective for the future -, there is little that can help people of conscience to counter the propaganda.

This may be the main difference between Liu and his enemies (and many of his admirers, too): in the eyes of many, only hard power – no matter if you refer to it as “the people’s power” or as the “authorities” -, creates reality. If the realities are good, you don’t need to get involved. If they are evil, you can’t get involved. And when realities come in many shades of grey, you either needn’t or can’t get involved. The power of the powerless is no reality in these peoples’ world – unless they begin to tilt, so that re-orientation appears advisable.

That’s a stabilizing factor, so long as realities remain what they appear to be.  But appearances can be deceiving, often until the very last hour. Who of the Egyptians who ditched their longtime president in 2011, in colossal demonstrations, had known weeks before that he wanted to get rid of him? A mood had capsized. It wasn’t about awareness.

A manipulated and intimidated public tends to be unpredictable, and that can turn factors around that were originally meant to add to “stability”.

China’s leaders feared Liu Xiaobo. They feared him to the extent that they wouldn’t let him leave the country, as long as he could still speak a word. But in all likelihood, they fear China’s widespread, politically tinged, religious sects even more, which have a tradition at least as long as Chinese scholarship. Falun Gong is only one of its latest manifestations.

By suppressing public intellectuals not only before 1978, but after that, too, they provided space for nervous moodiness. The Communists themselves want to “guide” (i. e. control) public awareness, without leaving anything to chance.

But chance is inevitable. Totalitarian routine may be able to cope for some time, but is likely to fail in the long run, with disastrous consequences.

In that light, the CCP missed opportunities to reform and modernize the country. But then, the party’s totalitarian skeleton made sure that they could only see the risks, and no opportunities, in an opening society.

What remains from Charter 08 – for now – is the courage shown by its authors nine years ago, and by the citizens who affirmed it with their signatures.

Each of them paid a price, to varying degrees, and often, their families and loved ones did so, too: like Liu Xia, who had hoped that her husband would not get involved in drafting the Charter, but who would never dissociate herself from him.

Nobody is obligated to show the same degree of courage, unless solidarity or conscience prescribe it. In most cases, making such demands on oneself would be excessive. But those who hate the Lius for their courage – and for lacking this courage themselves – should understand that their hatred is wrong. One may keep still as a citizen – but there is an inevitable human duty to understand the difference between right and wrong. By denying our tolerance toward despotism and by repressing awareness of our own acquiescence, we deny ourselves even the small steps into the right direction, that could be taken without much trouble, or economic hardship.

May Liu Xiaobo never be forgotten – and may Liu Xia find comfort and recovery.

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Updates/Related

再生:致刘晓波, Woeser, July 13, 2017
Rebirth, Woeser/Boyden, July 16, 2017

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Taiwan Newsarticle: European and American Universities refusing Cooperation with Confucius Institutes

The following is a translation of an article published online by Radio Taiwan International (RTI), on January 13 this year. RTI based their article on coverage by United Daily News (聯合報), the Liberty Times (自由時報, sister to the English-language Taipei Times), and Associated Press (AP).

I haven’t checked upon mainland coverage of these issues yet (RTI mentions Huanqiu Shibao, for example), but might do so next week.

As for Astrid Soderbergh Widding, the Stockholm University vice-chancellor quoted by RTI, the South China Morning Post quoted her in January as saying that “establishing institutes that are funded by another nation, within the framework of a university, is rather a questionable practice”.

Links within blockquotes added during translation.

Main Link:
Academic Freedom Threatened, European and American Universities refuse Cooperation with Confucius Institutes

Related Tag:
Confucius Institute

Mainland China’s Huanqiu Shibao reported on January 12 that Stockholm University has announced the termination, by the end of June, of its cooperation with the Confucius Institute in Stockholm – the first Confucius Institute founded in Europe, in 2005. The reason was that given the expansion of bilateral cooperation, this form of co0peration was no longer in step with the times. Before that, two American universities also said that they would not renew their contracts with the Confucius Institutes. These decisions reflect the concerns that the role of Confucius Institutes in the respective countries have caused.

大陸環球時報12日報導,瑞典斯德哥爾摩大學宣布,將在今年6月底關閉於2005年開辦的歐洲地區第一所孔子學院,理由是,隨著雙邊關係的拓展,這項合作已不符合時宜。在此之前,美國也有2所大學表示不再與孔子學院續約。歐美學府的這些決定反映出孔子學院的角色已在相關國家引發關切。

To alleviate doubts, Beijing promotes soft power

◎消除疑慮 北京推軟實力

Supported by its economic power, mainland China’s international political status has risen, Beijing’s rise received high global attention, and it also led to some doubts: to highlight China’s rise as a peaceful one, and to strengthen mainland China’s international influence, Beijing set out from the cultural level to actively promote soft power, and the establishment of Confucius Institutes abroad was what caught most attention among the promotional measures.

在經濟實力的支撐下,中國大陸的國際政治地位水漲船高,北京的崛起受到國際高度重視,也引發了一些疑慮;為了凸顯中國大陸是和平崛起,並強化大陸的國際影響力,北京從文化層面著手,積極推展軟實力,其中最受矚目的就是在境外設立孔子學院。

In November 2004, the first Confucius Institute put up its name plate in Seoul, and since, Confucius Institutes have also been established in countries in Asia, America, Europe, and Africa.

2004年11月,第一座孔子學院在南韓首都首爾掛牌;後來,亞洲、美洲、歐洲、非洲等許多國家也分別設立孔子學院。

By September 2014, 123 countries worldwide cooperated with mainland China, having set up 465 Confucius Institutes and 173 Confucius Classrooms. In America alone, 100 universities took part in such programs.

截至2014年9月,全球已有123個國家與大陸合作,開辦了465所孔子學院和713個孔子課堂,單單美國就有100所大學參與相關計畫。

Confucius Institutes lead in funding

◎主導經費教材 孔子學院惹爭議

The Confucius Institutes are usually set up right within the foreign universities that sign contracts with Beijing, but the [central] government in Beijing provides funding, chooses the staff that teaches abroad, and specifies the teaching material. This has caused quite some controversy.

這些孔子學院通常是直接設立在與北京簽約的外國學府裡,但卻由北京政府提供經費、選派教師並指定教材。此舉引發相當大的爭議。

It is [sometimes] said that Confucius Institutes operating within universities have some influence on the curricula of those schools and could endanger the schools’ integrity. These commentators believe that Confucius Institutes pose a threat to academic freedom.

有評論表示,孔子學院在大學內運作,對這些學校的課程具有一定的影響力,可能危及該校的完整性。批評者認為,孔子學院對學術自由構成威脅。

Stockholm University vice-chancellor Astrid Söderbergh Widding says that when institutions within universities are funded by governments of other countries, the approach does indeed pose problems.

斯德哥爾摩大學副校長維丁(Astrid Soderbergh Widding)就表示,大學內設立的機構是由另一個國家政府提供經費,這種作法的確有問題。

The ways Confucius Institutes operate have also attracted the attention of foreign governments. Indian and Japanese officials have questioned that Confucius Institutes only teach the Chinese language – [suggesting that] they also spread ideological attitued, and deliberately influence countries’ assessments of mainland China.

孔子學院的運作模式也受到外國政府的關注。印度和日本的官員曾經質疑,孔子學院不僅教授中文,也傳輸意識形態,意圖影響各國對中國大陸的評價。

A report published in October 2013 by American think tank “Project 2049 Research Institute” pointed out that while teaching Chinese, Confucius Institutes also inculcate ideological attitudes, thus influencing foreign circles’ judgment of Beijing.

美國華盛頓智庫「2049計畫研究所」就曾於2013年10月公布一份報告指出,孔子學院在教授中文的同時,也在灌輸意識形態,藉此影響外界對北京的評斷。

To promote academic independence, American scholars demand end to cooperation

◎維護學術獨立 美學者促停止合作

Nevertheless, Beijing’s strategy of promoting soft power by the establishment of Confucius Institues in numerous countries worldwide has seen growing resistance in recent years. Besides Stockholm University, universities and schools in America and Canada have terminated or suspended cooperation with Confucius Institutes.

不過,北京在世界許多國家設立孔子學院推廣軟實力的策略近年來遭遇越來越多的阻力。除了近日的斯德哥爾摩大學外,美國和加拿大去年都有大學院校終止或暫緩與孔子學院合作。

When the University of Chicago established a Confucius Institute in 2009, 174 professors of the university jointly opposed. Last year in April, 108 University of Chicago professors jointly demanded that after the cooperation term expire, cooperation with Beijing should be terminated, and the Confucius Institute no longer be allowed on the campus. They believed that the lecturers employed by Beijing had received special training to avoid or neglect politically sensitive topics such as “June 4” or Taiwan. They believed that with Beijing’s control of the lecturers employment and training would earn the University of Chicago’s academic program political  mainland official management and control of political speech and influence on freedom of religion.

芝加哥大學於2009年設立孔子學院時,該校就曾有174位教授聯名反對。去年4月,108位芝加哥大學教授聯名要求校方於合約到期後,終止與北京的合作,不再讓孔子學院進駐校園。他們認為,北京方面聘用的講師都受過特別培訓,在課堂上會規避或忽略例如「六四」及台灣等政治敏感議題;這些教授認為,由北京控制教師的聘用和培訓,將導致芝加哥大學的學術計畫受到大陸官方管控的政治言論及信仰自由所左右。

On September 25 last year, the University of Chicago announced that the five years of cooperation with the Confucius Institute would not be renewed after September 29.

去年9月25日,芝加哥大學宣布,與孔子學院的5年合約於該月29日到期後,不再續約。

Shortly afterwards, on October 1 2014, the Pennsylvania State University announced that they would terminate their five years of cooperation with the Confucius Institute.

緊接著,美國賓夕法尼亞州立大學也於去年10月1日宣布,終止與孔子學院的5年合作關係。

Beijing’s method of transmitting ideology needs to be corrected

◎傳輸意識形態 北京作法待修正

American paper Wall Street Journal wrote that the professors’ dissatisfaction with the Confucius Institutes came from lacking teaching skills and a refusal to accept some negative chapters in Chinese history*).

美國華爾街日報曾說,這些大學對孔子學院的不滿來自於「無法教授技能和拒絕接受一些中國歷史負面內容的篇章」。

In June last year, the American Association of University Professors called for 100 U.S. universities cancel or renegotiate their contracts with the Confucius Institutes, because the Confucius Institutes were propaganda branches of mainland Chinese, particularly dissimenating the mainland authorities ideological attitudes, in violation of academic freedom.

去年6月,美國大學教授協會呼籲美國的100所大學,取消或重啟與北京的孔子學院談判協議,因認為孔子學院是大陸當局的宣傳分支,主要在傳播大陸當局的意識形態,此舉違反學術自由。

Even earlier, in June 2013, the Canadian Association of University Teachers called on Canada’s universities and schools to terminate relations with the Confucius Institute, because allowing governments of totalitarian states to guide curricula content, teaching material and the topics in classroom dialogue would harm the integrity of all universities.

加拿大大學教師協會則早在2013年6月即已呼籲加拿大的大學院校與孔子學院斷絕關係,理由是如果允許極權國家的政府機構主導課程內容、教材及課堂上的討論話題,將損及各大學的誠信。

The University of Manitoba, and the Toronto District School Board refused or suspended the establishment of Confucius Institutes last year, their main concern being that Confucius Institutes could interfere with academic freedom at the schools.

加拿大曼尼托巴大學(University of Manitoba)和多倫多教育局已於去年先後拒絕或暫停設立孔子學院,主要的顧慮就是孔子學院會干涉學校的學術自由。

But is the gradual termination of cooperation with Confucius Institutes by European and American countries purely based on concern about academic freedom, or does it represent an outbreak of fear of mainland China? Future developments will be worth continued observation.

然而,歐美國家紛紛停止與孔子學院的合作,純粹只是對學術自由發展感到憂慮,還是代表歐美國家對大陸的另一種恐中發作?後續發展還值得繼續觀察。

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Note

*) If RTI referred to this WSJ blogpost, hiring practice rather than lacking skills were the source of dissatisfaction: the institutes’ hiring practices and refusal to acknowledge unflattering chapters of Chinese history.

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Related

» Unobtrusive and Imperceptible Moral Influence, Jan 7, 2012

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Radio Taiwan International Shortwave Issues: maybe not as China-Influenced as first reported

The high-level official meeting in Nanjing is in the international headlines, and once that happens, there’s probably nothing to add to what you couldn’t find elsehwere, too.

But a comment has reminded me that it’s time to keep track again of something else – Radio Taiwan International‘s (RTI) shortwave broadcasts. Sound of Hope (SoH), a Falun-Gong-affiliated broadcaster who rented airtime from RTI had said in summer 2013 that they had been asked to cut their airtime by half after the return of the KMT to power in the 2008 elections, and other allegations – as quoted by Radio Free Asia (RFA).

Chiang Kai-shek statement of resistance, apparently through a CBS microphone

Chiang Kai-shek’s statement of resistance on July 17, 1937, apparently speaking through a CBS microphone – click picture for info

This is what I wrote on June 8 2013. And this is a collection of links posted by Kim Elliott on July 12 2013. His links seem to suggest that shortwave airtime would hardly, if at all, be reduced once the relocations from Huwei and Tainan are completed.

A statement by Taiwan’s de-facto embassy to the U.S. published in a statement in Chinese on July 2 2013 (i. e. more than half a year ago and shortly after the Sound of Hope accusations), saying that plans for relocation had been  made as early as in 1997. The Executive Yuan had, at the time, told the Central Broadcasting System (CBS) to finalize the planning by 2004. The Taiwan embassy statement also reflected domestic Taiwanese politics in saying that DPP legislator Chen Ting-fei (陳亭妃), who herself represented a Tainan constituency, had on many occasions pushed for early removal of the towers to facilitate the city’s development.

Sound of Hope had been given assurances that the relocations would not affect the number of hours it can broadcast through RTI facilities and the services it received. It was regrettable that Sound of Hope had run reports without verification.

The official Taiwanese remarks seem to have gone mostly unnoticed or ignored. It’s obviously reasonable to follow stories over some time anyway, but especially when as contested, shit-stormed and “psy-oped” as they frequently are in cross-strait relations. The official Taiwanese reaction on the Sound of Hope and RFA allegations, in turn, was called into question by the Epoch Times, apparently Falun-Gong-affiliated as is Sound of Hope. This recent comment was very helpful in bringing me back to this story.

The proof of the pudding is the eating, of course. If any readers among you have information about how much airtime Sound of Hope currently gets from RTI, or if there have been changes in the airtime contract, or any other information on this matter, please let me know, by comment or e-mail.

Maybe even American and European RTI listeners will get the chance to listen to shortwave broadcasts directly from Taiwan again, sooner or later.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Taiwan fades from the Shortwave Map – under Chinese Pressure?

» Updates concerning this post , Feb 12, 2014

The Voice of Pujiang (浦江之声) in Shanghai has abandoned shortwave on May 2, 2013, according to an email sent by the station’s Victor Qian quoted here. The station’s target area was Taiwan.

Radio Taiwan International QSL card, showing the shortwave broadcasting site in Tainan

Broadcasting to China and to the world: Radio Taiwan International Tainan Shortwave Broadcasting Site (RTI QSL card)

Apparently more controversially, shortwave broadcasts from Taiwan for Chinese audiences are also scrapped. The following is a Radio Free Asia‘s (RFA) article by  Lee Tung (李潼), on April 25, 2013, and it uses the term CBS (Central Broadcasting System) rather synonymously with that of Radio Taiwan International (RTI), the foreign-broadcasting section of CBS:

“Sound of Hope”, a privately-run radio station with Falun-Gong background, commissioned Taiwan’s Central Broadcasting System (CBS) with broadcasting its programs to mainland China. But under high-level adjustments of policies within CBS, it appears that in future, shortwave activities will be phased out.

具有法轮功背景的民营电台「希望之声」,从二零零四年起出资委託台湾中央广播电台向中国大陆播送。但最近却传出央广高层正进行政策调整,未来恐怕逐步取消短波播音业务。

During the years of the cold war last century, with financial and technical assistance from the U.S., CBS built a huge broadcasting network. The shortwave signals covered the entire mainland Chinese territory. These callsigns are probably no strangers to the older members of the mainland Chinese public who were used to listening to “CBS” and the “Voice of Free China”.

在上世纪冷战期间,台湾中央广播电台通过美国的经费和技术援助,建立了规模极为庞大的播音网络。短波信号能涵盖中国大陆全境。年纪稍长,习惯收听台湾广播的大陆民众,对于「中央广播电台,自由中国之声,在台湾发音」的这段台呼,想必都不陌生。

After the end of the cold war, CBS started carrying clients’ broadcasts on shortwave.  In 2004, “The Sound of Hope” started broadcasting through CBS. During the time of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in government, this cooperation rapidly rose from two hours a day to twenty hours daily. Sound of Hope became the biggest client of CBS.

随着冷战结束,央广开始为出资的客户代播短波节目。二零零四年「希望之声」开始通过央广向大陆播音。民进党执政时期,这项合作业务从每天两小时快速成长到二十小时,希望之声也成为央广最大客户。

But news has recently emerged that reforms of the CBS transmission site could soon end this cooperation. Sound of Hope president Zeng Yong went to Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan on Thursday [i. e. on April 25, apparently] to petition the DPP’s legislator Liu Jianguo.

但这项代播业务近来却传出可能随着央广重整发射台而结束。希望之声总裁曾勇星期四到了台湾立法院,向关注本案的民进党籍立法委员刘建国陈情。

In an interview with this station [i. e. Radio Free Asia], Zeng Yong explained the value of shortwave broadcasts to the Chinese public. He said that people in totalitarian countries were the most obvious listeners to shortwave broadcasts, because when they distrusted information provided by the government, they could only rely on shortwave broadcasts. June-4 was an excellent example for this. At that time [1989], the impression was that the entire country listened to the “Voice of America”.

曾勇接受本台访问时说明了短波广播对中国民众的价值。他说,短波广播先天存在的听众就是极权国家的人民,因为他们对政府提供的信息天然不信任,这时只能依赖短波广播。六四就是一个最好的例子,那时的印象甚至是「全中国都在听美国之音」。

Zeng Yong said that when the KMT returned to power [in Taiwan] in 2008, there was no way for Sound of Hope to increase their airtime further, and instead, they were asked to cut their airtime by half. Only mobilization of public opinion and great efforts narrowly kept up the status quo. But this year, an intentional division of branch transmitters and equipment was gradually phasing the shortwave broadcasts out. Once this point was reached, all broadcasts – those of CBS and its clients alike – would all come to an end.

曾勇说,二零零八年国民党重返执政后,央广代播希望之声的时段不仅无法再增加,零九年甚至被要求砍掉一半。经过发动舆论、极力争取才勉强保住。而今年,再传出央广高层有意藉着整併分台土地和设施,逐步取消短波播音。届时不管是自製或代播,一概停止。

The authority in charge of CBS is the ministry of culture. Minister of culture Lung Ying-tai explained the CBS policies on broadcasts to mainland China to the Legislative Yuan during question time on Thursday [again, this should be April 25]. She said that there was no intention to halt broadcasts to mainland China, and on the contrary, communicatons with mainland China should be strengthened.

央广的上级单位为文化部,部长龙应台周四在立法院备询时,说明了央广对中国大陆的播音政策。她说,对中国大陆的广播没有要喊停,反而是要加强和大陆的沟通。

But reporters continued to ask if the current amount of airtime and client airtime was or wasn’t being reduced. Lung Ying-tai replied that this issue was part of “technical issues”,  and therefore part of the planning carried out by CBS itself. The ministry of culture’s only concern was the policy, and the policy was that broadcasts to China should only be increased, not reduced.

但记者进一步追问,现有的短波广播和代播的时数会不会减少。龙应台回答,这部份属于「技术问题」由央广自行规划,文化部只管政策。而政府的政策是:对大陆广播只能增加不能减少。

Lung Ying-tai’s argument of only taking care of the policy and not asking for details can hardly put the minds at Sound of Hope at ease. Sound of Hope says that there was news that reducing Sound of Hope’s airtime was a request from Beijing, made in meetings between high-level CCP and KMT officials. There was evidence: during the frequency-changing period [i. e. usually every year, late in March and October], CBS had asked to abandon frequencies one by one, and every time, precisely those frequencies were taken by Beijing.

龙应台「只管政策,不问细节」的说法,让希望之声方面难以安心。他们表示有消息指出,缩减希望之声时段是来自北京当局通过国共两党的高层互访平台,向央广管理阶层提出的要求。证据是,在这一波变动中,央广一度要求先删减某个频道的时段,而这个频道,恰恰对正的就是北京。

Lung Ying-tai said that in her opinion, there was a lot of “blockage” of traditional broadcasting methods. CBS should therefore develop new media, as this would broaden contacts and reduce the effects of being blocked.

龙应台同时指出,她认为传统的传播方式,有很大的「被屏蔽」的问题。所以央广应该试着去开发新媒体,能让接触面更广,让被屏蔽的效果减低。

Zeng Yong disagrees. He says that the internet’s digital signals can be shut, while this is can’t be effectively done when it comes to shortwave. The penetration power of shortwave is very strong. The support for and protection of shortwave should be part of Taiwan’s own security policies.

对于龙应台认为传统的短波电台容易被屏蔽,曾勇表示了不同的看法。他说,以电台和互联网相比较,互联网使用的数字信号是可以关闭的。但短波是无法有效关闭的,它的渗透力极强。对于短波广播的支持和保护,应该是对台湾本身的安全维护政策的一部分。

Opinions on the importance of shortwave differ. There is no evidence that shutting the Voice of Pujiang’s shortwave transmissions down is in any way connected to the (apparent) Taiwanese moves, concerning shortwave. But it should be an educated guess that Sound of Hope has more listeners in China, than Voice of Pujiang ever had in Taiwan.

It is also obvious that Beijing takes Sound of Hope‘s (希望之声) broadcasts very serious. On most days, you would find a frequency where Sound of Hope can be listened to in Europe – but once in a while, the signals get completely drowned in Chinese music – a rather tuneful way of jamming. Example here:

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 northern Germany in June, 2011.)

And while the short-range effects of jamming are often more limited than across long distances, Beijing appears to believe that jamming justifies quite a budget.

According to reports by the Epoch Times, reportedly a Falun-Gong-affiliated paper, Sound of Hope received a notice that dismantling of one of CBS / Radio Taiwan International’s shortwave transmitter sites, Huwei substation in Yunlin County, would begin ahead of schedule, on June 1. Sound of Hope broadcasts from there would therefore be discontinued at the end of May. Tianma substation (天馬台) in Tainan (台南) would be dismantled a few months later. Also according to the Epoch Times, it was RTI high-level executives (be it in addition to or instead of the high-level KMT members mentioned in the above RFA report) whose visit to mainland China was – supposedly – linked with the decision to phase out shortwave.

Radio Taiwan International (RTI, the foreign broadcasting section of CBS) usually uses relay transmitters in Britain and France for its broadcasts to Europe. However, once in a while – once a year or less -, European listeners get the opportunity to listen to broadcasts directly from Tainan, on 9955 kHz. RTI’s German service apparently told its listeners on a club gathering in Gaggenau-Ottenau in May this year that saving measures were due at RTI. Replying to a request from a listener in Hamburg that there would be another direct broadcast this year, one of the hosts told the audience in a mailbag show on Friday night that RTI’s German service might broadcast directly from Tainan later this year, as had frequently been done in previous years. However, this wasn’t yet certain, and if there should be another direct shortwave transmission from Taiwan this year, it would be the last time.

There was no mention of possible cross-strait influence on RTI’s use of shortwave.

In the same program, plans to scrap the relay broadcasts to Europe (and to rely on the internet in future) were also mentioned, however, those were portrayed as comparatively remote considerations.

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Related

» Resignations at RTI, Oct 3, 2008

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

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.

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Update / Correction (Febr 26, 2013):

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

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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.

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Related

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

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

(CRN) CNR Interference with Voice of Mongolia

When listening to 12,085 kHz shortwave this morning*), some time after 10:30 Greenwich Mean Time, I initially thought that the Voice of Mongolia (VoM) had expanded its broadcast in Chinese at 10:00 hours GMT, from thirty to sixty minutes. In fact, it was China National Radio (CNR) on shortwave which obliterated the Voice of Mongolia’s half-hour broadcast in English, which starts at 10:30 GMT.

When trying to listen to Taiwanese shortwave stations, I usually happen on CNR, too – they seem to “accidentally” broadcast on the same frequencies, and the reason may be – just my guess – that they consider this somewhat more “polite” than the outright jamming that occurs on the frequencies used by stations like Sound of Hope (Xiwang zhi Sheng), or the BBC, or the Voice of America. After all, relations with Taiwan have “warmed”, according to Beijing’s, Ma Ying-jeou’s, and many international news agencies. Fighting harmful information from Taiwan with the “firedrake” may therefore be deemed inappropriate by Beijing’s protocol. The protocol doesn’t count however when it’s Sound of Hope which broadcasts from Taiwan. The Voice of Hope broadcasting site appears to be Tamsui (aka Tanshui).

But it is hard to tell if the CNR broadcast on 12,085 kHz, interfering with the VoM, is really intentional jamming. VoM’s Chinese-language broadcast which precedes the English program (and which I also listened to) apparently wasn’t impaired by Chinese broadcasts this morning, at least not in the beginning.

Interference on 12,085 kHz, Mr Soumya / Youtube (click picture for source)

Interference on 12,085 kHz, Mr Soumya / Youtube (click picture for source)

Either way, Mr Soumya, a YouTube user, is angry. Voice of Mongolia’s English language transmission blocked by strong QRM from China Narional Radio (CNR1) August 2012 1040UTC+, he wrote on Monday, and: Curse the Chinese!!

That said, he uses a Tecsun receiver.

I searched for “Voice of Mongolia” and “jamming” once I noticed that what I heard after 10:30 wasn’t really the Voice of Mongolia anymore.

Anyway, dear reader: next time you listen to China Radio International (CRI) – on shortwave or on FM from your local provider – spend a moment on thinking of those whose broadcasters you are allowed to hear, but who won’t be allowed to listen to your country’s broadcasts.

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Note

*) India seems to be a much better location to listen to the Voice of Mongolia’s GMT-“morning” broadcasts, than Northern Germany. You can find my own recordings of the broadcasts here (10:00 GMT) and here (10:50 GMT).

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

NTD TV China Analysis: Once Upon a Time in Sunday School

Now, what did Wen Jiabao mean?

It is, of course, all about Falun Gong, explains Matt Gnaizda, of NTD TV (New Tang Dynasty Television).

Main Link here

Jiang Zemin

The Bad Guy

Hu Jintao, Wen Jiabao

The repenting Bad Guys

Sudden access to the Truth: the horrified public

The horrified Chinese public, with sudden uncensored access to the truth (click picture for NTD TV report)

Which seems to emind me of this highlight from Li Hongzhi‘s opposite numbers in Beijing:

Xinwen Lianbo, March 20, 2009

CCTV Evening News, March 20, 2009 (coverage of a Tibetan delegation providing vivid examples and detailed and accurate data to the American public - click picture)

But what does this mean? It probably means that Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao, Wen Jiabao and Li Hongzhi once attended the same Sunday school.

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Related

» Thoughts and Feelings, NTD TV, Dec 15, 2011
» NPC Delegates’ visit to U.S., March 20, 2009

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Monday, November 14, 2011

In Praise of the Times and the People: the Good and Respectable Market Stall Operator

Wang Chaohua (Shangqiu Ribao, click picture for source)

Wang Chaohua (Shangqiu Ribao, click picture for source)

A scroll is hanging at the food market, and it reads “Good and respectable Wang Chaohua (王超华), all marketers should learn from you”.

Henan Cultural Industry Network (Henan CI, 河南文化产业网) describes Wang as a poor market stall operator who, on his way to his stall, hours before the crack of dawn, found a briefcase with 6,000 Yuan RMB in it along the road, and then waited in the cold wind for hours so as to hand the lost property back to its owner. Netizens s nationwide are discussing his great virtue (引发全国网友的道德大讨论), writes Henan CI.

It wasn’t money I earned myself, and had I spent it, I would have felt uncomfortable (不是俺挣的钱,花着心里肯定不舒服),

Wang is quoted, and a description of his family’s (his wife and their six-year-old son)  uncomfortable living conditions is added.

“If you were a poor market vendor with a monthly family income of 2,000 Yuan, and found a briefcase with 6,250 Yuan, and important documents in it, which choice would you make?”, Henan CI asks, rhetorically.

The answer is obvious:

Wang Chaohua, the greengrocer from Shijiazhuang, chose to wait in the cold. He stomped to warm his feet, and raised his collar. After six hours, the owner still hadn’t passed by, but after many setbacks, the briefcase was finally restored to its owner.

To cut a long story short, Wang took the briefcase to the market manager, who found 6,250 Yuan, an ID card, a passport, and more than twenty bank cards in it, and they went to Zhuodong Police Station with the briefcase and its finder.

Wang was lucky – the owner of the briefcase, a certain Mr. Du (杜), didn’t claim that the briefcase had originally contained, say, 10,000 Yuan. Maybe he, too, was an honest man. Or maybe he understood right away that the whole Lei-Feng circus was now in full swing, and that the trend had become irresistible.

Either way, Old Wang and his family, grief- and misery-stricken like Job, become a happy family again, as Wang becomes a model citizen of Shijiazhuang, and Wang’s stall fees for the coming six months – some 5,000 Yuan – are waived by the market management.

And given that Wang is now a model citizen, cadres from near and far announce their support for his family’s livelihood. The internet is in awe of his virtue (the Henan CI article contains a long review of online comments). Yanzhao Evening News (燕赵晚报), Hebei Television, Shijiazhuang Television and Henan CI report his story, which in turn attracts CCTV’s, and China Youth’s (中国青年报) attention. Even IFeng (Phoenix TV, Hong Kong) joins the media blitz.

They are all singing the praises of the era and the people, and draw on the material provided by societal life.

If Wang Chaohua’s story is true, he couldn’t have found the briefcase at a better time.

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Note

The Henan CI webpage is currently not available. The police station named in the report (卓东派出所) also features prominently in an Epoch Times article. Probably coincidentally (but who knows), there’s a Mr. Du (and his wife) playing a role in that article,  as Falun Gong practitioners.

The character seems to be the same – see 卓东派出所抓捕了老杜夫妇 here.

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Related

» 顶着月光出发 伴着星星回家 (photo story), Sohu, Nov 14, 2011

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