Posts tagged ‘Poland’

Saturday, November 20, 2021

China Radio International: And Now, No News

There are basically two kinds of program formats carried by China Radio International (CRI) now: those with, and those without news and current affairs coverage. Regionally, you can (roughly) draw aline between East and West, with only the former still getting CRI news in regional languages.

Chinese news item, 2019

They still do speak English

The mention of target areas does not imply that there may not be other target areas for certain languages, too. As for Esperanto, for example, I only listened to the broadcast to Europe, but Europe may  not be CRI Esperanto’s only target area.

This list is not at all exhaustive; there are many more CRI language services I haven’t recently listened to.

Language Target areas News
Vietnamese Vietnam Yes
Indonesian Indonesia yes
Malaysian Malaysia yes
Japanese Japan yes
Filipino Philippines yes
Khmer Cambodia yes
Bengali Bengal yes
Thai Thailand yes
Mongolian Mongolia yes
Urdu Pakistan, India, Nepal yes
Hausa Niger, Nigeria yes
Pashto Afghanistan, Pakistan yes
Esperanto Europe no
Romanian Romania no
Italian Italy no
Bulgarian Bulgaria no
Czech Czech Republic no
Polish Poland no
Serbian Serbia & regional no
Hungarian Hungary & regional no
German Austria & regional no

Programs without news / current affairs are usually filled up with music. Some language services without news add explanatory announcements to their music programs, but others run completely without spoken words.
Language services that may be considered global ones – Chinese, English, Russian, or Spanish, still have news in their programs, and maybe cultural programs, too, but CRI’s Portuguese service hasn’t.

Esperanto broadcasts a cultural program with lots of talk, but no news or current affairs either.

The mere-music programs may run without day-to-day updates. The genres vary, however. You get some revolutionary opera on frequencies that were used for Serb programs in the past, or rock and pop music on what was once the Czech service.
The replacement for the German service is particularly mean: typical “China restaurant” dining music.
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Related

Program reductions, Nov 25, 2019
CCTV, CRI, CPBS, March 30, 2018
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Useful links

Shortwave Info
Kiwi SDR
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Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Shortwave Logs: Nov 2 – Nov 12, 2021

Radio Poland provides Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Belarusan and German listeners with news and press reviews about current affairs, on medium wave, 1386 kHz, mainly from 04:00 to 05:30 GMT and from 15:30 to 17:30 GMT. As there are no more transmitters on shortwave or medium wave available in Poland, these broadcasts are transmitted from a medium wave station in Lithuania. The Lithuanians also carry a Russian-language program for the Western areas of the Russian Federation, and a program by Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (Radio Svoboda), also in Russian and for the same target area.

Radio Polands English service can be found online.

radio_polonia

Radio Poland QSL card from the 1980s

The shorter the days, the better these programs should be audible throughout central Europe, and possibly beyond.

Improving propagation with the start of a new solar cycle draws me to shortwave and AM radio again. A few logs of the past few days are listed underneath, received some 30 kilometers southeast of Bremen, NW Germany.

If the recorded stations don’t show, click “read more”.

Freq B’caster Lang Ctry Time Date Quality
(kHz) GMT S I O
1386 Radio Japan Rus LTU 17:30 2 Nov 3 4 3
1386 Radio Poland Ger LTU 17:00 2 Nov 4 4 3
3955 KBS World Ger G 20:00 4 Nov 4 5 4
4850 PBS Xinjiang Kaz TKS 02:00 5 Nov 3 5 3
4885 Clube do Para Por BRA 02:36 3 Nov 3 4 3
6040 RRI Romania Ger ROU 15:25 10 Nov 4 4 4
6130 PBS Tibet Eng TIB 17:31 6 Nov 4 5 4
6170 Voice of Korea Ger KRE 18:00 2 Nov 3 4 3
7265 Radio Japan Jap D 05:10 11 Nov 4 5 3
7390 New Zealand Eng NZL 12.59 8 Nov 3 4 3
7780 R: Argentina Ger USA 21:00 10 Nov 4 5 3
11725 New Zealand Eng NZL 12:57 8 Nov 4 5 4
11780 Radionacional Por BRA 01:45 3 Nov 3 5 3
12045 CPBS Chi CHN 10:00 5 Nov 4 5 4
15160 AWR Mon*) GUM 12:20 7 Nov 3 4 3

Countries as ITU codes:
Lithuania (LTU); Great Britain (G); Turkestan (TKS); Brazil (BRA); Romania (ROU); Tibet (TIB); North Korea (KRE); Germany (D); New Zealand (NZL); USA (USA); China (CHN); Guam (GUM)

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Notes
*) Mon is a language spoken in Burma and in neighboring countries
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Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Xi – Duda telephone minutes: China is a responsible great power under Xi’s leadership




All the news that’s fit to print

The following is a translation of a news item from CCTV’s main evening news program, Xinwen Lianbo. Links added during translation.

State Chairman Xi Jinping had a telephone conversation with Polish President Andrzej Duda in the evening of March 1.

国家主席习近平日晚同波兰总统杜达通电话。

Xi Jinping pointed out that Poland is a big country in the eastern European area and an important member of the European Union. It is also a comprehensive strategic partner for China in Europe. China has always1 attached great importance to the development of Sino-Polish relations. After the outbreak of the new corona pneumonia pandemic, China and Poland have kept watch of and defended one another2, developed a good cooperation in going back to work and cooperating in pandemic prevention and control, thus writing a new chapter of friendship between the two countries. In the current situation, China and Poland must strengthen their strategic communication even further, deepen pragmatic3 cooperation, and jointly react to any crisis or challenge. China, together with Poland, wants to promote Sino-Polish relations in the new year and get them into a steady mode.

习近平指出,波兰是中东欧地区大国和欧盟重要成员国,也是中方在欧洲的全面战略伙伴。中方一向高度重视中波关系发展。新冠肺炎疫情发生后,中波守望相助,在疫情防控、复工复产等方面开展良好合作,谱写了两国友好新篇章。当前形势下,中波双方更加需要加强战略沟通,深化务实合作,共同应对各种风险挑战。中方愿同波方一道,推动中波关系在新的一年行稳致远。

Xi Jinping emphasized that China wants to continue its exchange with Poland, concerning joint prevention and control and exchanges about experience gained in the process, and resume orderly contacts between the two sides. China wants to provide Poland with vaccines, in accordance with Poland’s needs and what China can do.4 During the pandemic, Travels and freight of Sino-European freight trains between China and Poland reached a historic height, reflecting the high degree of supply-chain interdependence. This also shows the enormous potential of economic and trade cooperation between the two sides. China will, by establishing a Sino-Middle-Eastern-European countries’ cooperation framework with relevant mechanisms, promote the import of more Polish excellent-quality food products. The completion of the Sino-EU Comprehensive Agreement on Investment negotiations will open up a wider space for Sino-Polish cooperation5.

习近平强调,中方愿继续同波方加强联防联控和疫情防治经验交流,同时稳妥有序恢复人员往来。中方愿根据波方需求,在力所能及范围内向波方提供疫苗。疫情期间,往返于中波的中欧班列开行量和运货量创下历史新高,反映出中波、中欧供应链产业链高度相互依存,也表明双方经贸合作潜力巨大。中方将通过建立中国-中东欧国家合作框架内有关机制,推动进口更多波兰优质农食产品。中欧完成投资协定谈判,将为中波合作开辟更加广阔的空间。

Xi Jinping pointed out that not long ago, the Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries6 summit was successfully held. I, with you and other national leaders have comprehensively reviewed the development of China-CEEC relations, thoroughly summarized development experiences, jointly looked ahead to development prospects, reached broad consensus, produced important plans and outlooks for cooperative mechanisms. With the CEEC summit as a new starting point, China wants to make joint efforts with Poland to promote Sino-CEEC and Sino-EU relations to become even more fruitful.

习近平指出,前不久中国-中东欧国家领导人视频峰会成功举行,我同你和其他各国领导人全面回顾中国-中东欧国家合作发展历程,深入总结发展经验,共同展望发展前景,达成广泛共识,为合作机制作出重要规划和引领。中方愿同波方一道努力,以这次峰会为新起点,推动中国-中东欧国家合作和中欧关系收获更多成果。

Duda said that Xi Jinping’s state visit to Poland in 2016 had vigorously advanced the development of Polish-Chinese relations. Not long ago, Chairman Xi Jinping had successfully chaired the CEEC summit which had promoted CEEC countries’ cooperation with China, critically helping CEEC countries to achieve economic recovery after the pandemic. Poland highly appreciated Xi Jinping’s promise that China would work to be a global supplier of new-corona-pneumonia pandemic-related products, and China’s wish to cooperate with CEEC countries, concerning the pandemic. This proved that China, under Chairman Xi’s leadership, was playing a responsible role as a great power. He hoped that both sides would continue to maintain contacts and cooperation in all fields and promote balanced growth of bilateral trade. Poland wnted to continue to contribute to the CEEC countries’ cooperation with China.7 I look forward to visiting China again after the pandemic8, I wish to continue close and friendly contact with Chairman Xi, and to jointly promote Polish-Chinese relations to take further steps.

杜达表示,习近平主席2016年对波兰的国事访问有力促进了波中关系发展。前不久习近平主席成功主持召开中东欧国家-中国领导人视频峰会,这对促进中东欧国家同中国合作、助力中东欧国家实现疫后经济复苏非常重要。波方高度赞赏习近平主席承诺中国致力于将新冠疫苗作为全球公共产品并表示愿同中东欧国家开展疫苗合作。这证明中国在习近平主席领导下发挥着负责任的大国作用。波方愿同中方加强抗疫合作。中欧班列为抗击疫情发挥了重要作用。希望双方继续保持各领域人员往来和合作,促进双边贸易平衡增长。波方愿继续为中东欧国家同中国合作作出贡献。我期待疫情过后再次访华,愿同习近平主席保持密切友好交往,共同推动波中关系迈上新台阶。

Notes

1一向isn’t exactly the usual word for “always” in Chinese speeches and seems somewhat more limited in its reach into the past, but I don’t remember the more frequently used word right now.

2No idea how this Mencius quote used here by Xi was translated to Duda (and what Duda thought when he heard it). Xi attaches great importance to an image as a learned paramount leader, and won’t slow down even when he talks to foreigners.

3Pragmatic cooperation – arguably a signal that Xi tries to take Polish history and the country’s narration of liberty and independence into account while talking to a conservative foreign politician. Poland used to be much more China-skeptical during the earlier rule of Polands governing conservative PIS party.

4According to a spokesman, Duda had brought the issue up “during phone talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping after a request by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki”.

5During the negotiations last year, Poland was, reportedly, the only EU member country to raise “serious objections to the deal with China, suggesting that earlier consultations with the Biden administration were needed”.

7Such efforts from Poland would certainly be welcome in Beijing. More recently, the Sino-CEEC project hasn’t been as enthusiastically supported as in the past, reportedly, although “chilly” is probably quite an exaggeration.

8Reportedly, Xi invited Duda.

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Related

Monument Policies, April 15, 2016

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Monday, November 25, 2019

Program Reductions at China Radio International (CRI)

While China Radio International‘s (CRI) airtime remains undampened, program hours appear to be going down, reports Radio Berlin Brandenburg‘s (RBB) media magazine. RBB points to CRI Portuguese as a striking example: the broadcasts have only contained music and references to CRI’s online pages for some time, and the Portuguese-language online pages contain only single articles, but not the usual program packages. Programs in Polish, Serbian and Albanian still contained short news readings, but only music apart from that, according to random checks.

CRI German, April 1 schedule

CRI German, April 1 schedule

The German program seems to have seen some cuts, too. There used to be news broadcasts at the beginning of every transmission, but I haven’t heard any news or current affairs on Saturdays and Sundays recently, and today’s (Monday) two-hour program didn’t carry any news or current affairs either.

CRI’s most recent schedule was published online on April 1 this year, shortly after the beginning of the summer frequency plan. Apparently, it wasn’t updated when the HFCC’s current B19 transmission schedule went into effect a few weeks ago.

According to the April 1 plan, the two-hours German programs, from Monday through Friday, started with a news and current affairs program of 15 minutes, (“CRI Aktuell” / “CRI Aktuell mit Hintergrund”), 35 minutes of feature programs (“CRI Panorama”), followed by a language course of ten minutes, and an hour of cultural programs (“CRI Kulturcollage”).

On Saturdays and Sundays, a five-minutes news program (“CRI Aktuell”) was followed by 45 minutes of “CRI Panorama”, followed by a ten-minutes language course and 55 minutes of “Kulturcollage”.

Today, just as recently on Saturdays and Sundays, there were 50 minutes of “CRI Panorama” and the usual ten-minutes language course. The second hour was a repetition of exactly the same content.

CRI Chinese and CRI English still carry news and current affairs programs.

Back to Radio Berlin Brandenburg’s media magazine. They wonder why the shortwave frequencies which used to carry CRI Portuguese, Polish, Serbian, or Albanian, are still in use.

The answer may be that co-channelling (a slightly more sophisticated way of jamming undesired broadcasters abroad than applying the “Firedrake”) is easier when you have many shortwave frequencies in use. Abandoned frequencies could otherwise be collected by Taiwan, from where both national broadcaster Radio Taiwan International (RTI) and Chinese opposition broadcasters like “Sound of Hope” (希望之聲) are broadcasting to China on shortwave.

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Related

By any other Name, March 30, 2018
Innovative Guidance of Public Opinion, Nov 17, 2015
Rumors about CRI, April 13, 2015

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Saturday, March 2, 2019

Belarus, Russia: together, but not THAT together (yet)

The following is a translation of a Guanchazhe newsarticle, published on February 23.

Main Link: Lukashenko: no Merger with Russia at any Time

News bubbled last week that “Belarussian president has agreed to a merger with Russia”. It also caused a former NATO secretary‘s “concern”, who demanded on that occasion that Belarus protect itself against “Russian threats.”

“白俄罗斯总统同意与俄罗斯合并”的消息上周传得沸沸扬扬,还引来了北约前秘书长的“关怀”,借此要求白俄罗斯保护自己免受“俄罗斯威胁”。

Belarussian president Lukashenko personally rebuked the rumor on February 22, stating the importance of national sovereignty and independence. He also said that as president, he would not merge Belarus into another country at any time.

对于这一传言,白俄罗斯总统卢卡申科2月22日亲自辟谣,他重申了国家主权和独立的重要性,并表示作为总统,任何时候都不会将白俄罗斯并入他国。

According to the Belarussian president’s press office on February 22, Lukashenko said on that day, while inspecting the Military Academy of Belarus and having exchanges with the academy’s teachers and students, that “national sovereignty and independence are the most important achievements we have made now. To have become the first president of this sovereign and independent state is something that makes me proud and happy.”

据白俄罗斯总统新闻局22日消息,卢卡申科当天在视察白俄罗斯共和国军事学院并与该学院师生进行交流时表示:“主权和独立是我们当今取得的最重要成就,我为能成为这个主权国家的第一任总统感到骄傲和高兴。”

Concerning speculation abroad that Belarus could merge into Russia, Lukashenko asked back: “What kind of people could allow such things to happen, after having established and lead an independent country? Would you destroy it with your own hands by letting it become part of another country? Poland or Russia? I will never take this road.

对于外界有关白俄罗斯并入俄罗斯的猜测,卢卡申科反问:“什么样的人会在建立和领导独立国家之后,允许这样的事发生?你会亲手去摧毁它,让它成为其他国家的一部分吗?波兰还是俄罗斯?我永远不会走这条路。”

Lukashenko emphasized that he had clear boundaries that he would never cross, among them, as the most important one, that of defending his country’s sovereignty and independence. He appealed not to pay attention to foreign conjectures that Belarus could lose its sovereignty and independence.

卢卡申科强调,自己有明确的不能逾越的界限,其中最重要的界限就是守卫本国的主权与独立。他呼吁,不要去理会外界关于白俄罗斯会失去其主权和独立性的猜测。

However, he said on the same day that “Russia is our important friend. No matter how many contradictions and disputes we may have, we and Russia will always be together.”

不过,他当天也表示:“俄罗斯是我们重要的朋友,无论我们有多少矛盾和争执,我们和俄罗斯永远在一起”。

Before, there had been rumors abroad that “Belarusian president Lukashenko has announced preparations to merge with Russia,” even with people relating that he had said that “tomorrow there can be a merger into Russia, no problem.”

此前,外界曾盛传“白俄罗斯总统卢卡申科宣布准备与俄罗斯合并”一事,甚至有人转述卢卡申科的话说:“明天就可以并入俄罗斯,没问题”。

Guanchazhe online checked on many Russian and Belarusian official media reporting that Lukashenko had not announced a “Belarusian-Russian merger,” but had made a vigorous statement about the two countries’ union (Guanchazhe note: the original word was объединение, meaning union or unification, translated as integration by Russian media.)

观察者网查证多家俄媒与白俄罗斯官方媒体报道,卢卡申科并没有宣布“白俄合并”,而是对两国联合(观察者网注:原文объединение意为联合、统一,俄媒译为一体化)进行了积极表态。

Reacting to the sentence of “merger tomorrow”, TASS quoted Lukashenko’s original words as being “provided that you are prepared, we can have a union tomorrow (объединиться вдвоем), that’s no problem. But are the Russian and Belarusian people well prepared? (но готовы ли вы),” “if well prepared, we will fulfill the will of the people.”

针对那句“明天就合并”,塔斯社援引卢卡申科说法,其实原话是这样,“只要你们准备好,明天我们就可以联合(объединиться вдвоем),这点没有问题,但是白俄罗斯人和俄罗斯人们准备好了吗?(но готовы ли вы)”,“如果准备好了,我们将履行人民的意志。”

According to Belarusian newsagency belta.by reporting, Lukashenko had previously also reiterated that sovereignty was sacred and could not be violated.

据白方官媒白俄罗斯通讯社(belta.by)报道,卢卡申科此前也重申了主权神圣不可侵犯。

Meanwhile, Russian president Vladimir Putin had vaguely commented about “Belarusian-Russian integration”, discussing his opinion about “independence” and saying that “there is no completely independent country in the world. No matter if they are big or small countries, today’s world is interdependent.”

俄罗斯总统普京则对“白俄一体化”进行了模糊表态,他谈到了自己对“独立”的看法,称“世界上不存在完全独立的国家,无论是大国还是小国都是如此,现代世界相互依存。”

On February 22, Lukashenko also mentioned the INF treaty. He said that Russia had not violated the treaty in question, and voiced concern that America could deploy missiles after its withdrawal [from the treaty]. He believed that this could create a very big threat to Belarus. He said that Belarus would need to consider countermeasures.

22日,卢卡申科也谈及了《中导条约》问题,他表示,相信俄方未违反相应条约,并对美国在退约之后可能在欧洲部署导弹表示担忧,认为这将对白俄罗斯造成很大威胁。他表示白俄罗斯需要与俄罗斯共同思考如何采取回应措施。

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Related

We are no scroungers, BelTa, March 1, 2019
How the EU lost Ukraine, Der Spiegel, Nov 25, 2013

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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Blog and Press Review: Frugal New Year

Warning: the following translation from a classic is just my guesswork – if you copy that for your homework, the mistakes will be your fault, not mine. Links within blockquotes added during translation.

Frugal New Year: the Xi Style

The year of the dog is upon us, and it must be a dog’s life if you are a cadre in the Xi Jinping era. That’s what you might believe, anyway, if you read secretary general Xi Jinping’s spiritual nourishment for comrades. After all, in a totalitarian society, administration, legislation, crackdowns and Something Understood all need to come from the same source.

People’s Daily has published three instalments of Xi Jinping thought. The first: go and visit the poor, and ask about their suffering, find solutions to the problems and dump the worries. The second: have an affectionate reunion with your family, as a good family style promotes virtue.

For the third instalment, the sermon turns to the New Book of Tang:
奢靡之始,危亡之渐 (which means something like “what begins lavishly will move towards danger”, I suppose).

I can only find the Chinese original [no English edition] of the  New Book of Tang online, and there, in chapter 105, Chu Suiliang, an advisor with morals, tells his surprised sovereign the meaning of things that only appear to be innocent at first glance:

帝尝怪:“舜造漆器,禹雕其俎,谏者十馀不止,小物何必尔邪?”遂良曰:“雕琢害力农,纂绣伤女工,奢靡之始,危亡之渐也。漆器不止,必金为之,金又不止,必玉为之,故谏者救其源,不使得开。及夫横流,则无复事矣。”帝咨美之。

The emperor said: “Shun made the lacquer, Yu gave us the embroideries, but the remonstrances never seem to end. How can small things be evil?”
Suiliang said: “ornate artwork harms the peasantry, and embroidery hurts the working women. What begins lavishly, will indeed move towards danger. It doesn’t end at lacquerware, it takes gold, too. It doesn’t end there, but jade will be required, too. Those who remonstrate do not want to see things pass the point of no return.”

If my impression of the Chinese texts is basically correct, Xi seems to present himself as someone who speaks truth to power – which is corny at best, and quite probably populist. The latter, anyway, is a tool lavishly handed around among the Davos jetset more recently, and it probably works fine, especially at the grass-roots level, with people who routinely delude themselves.

Roar back, if you still dare, fly or tiger.

Xi Jinping probably found a lot to copy from Ronald Reagan. His May 4 speech in 2013 resembled Reagan’s endless-opportunities speech in 1984. While frequently considered risk averse when it comes to reform, optimism, a “determination … to educate his audience” and “unobtrusive and imperceptible moral influence” (OK – it depends on how much corniness you’ve grown up with) are features Xi’s propaganda style seems to share with the late US president’s.

Footnote: when it comes to education on the ground, education of the public appears to be anything but imperceptible, as The Capital in the North reported in January.

Central Europe (1): After the “Czech Reversal”

The China Digital Times has an article by a Czech academic, describing Chinese influence in Eastern Europe (although the Czech Republic is hardly “eastern” European), and more particularly about a “China Energy Fund Committee” (CEFC). Czech president Miloš Zeman, who is quoted there with some of his characteristically tasteless remarks (about Chinese eyes, before he changed his mind), has explicit opinions about journalism, too.

Central Europe (2): German Mittelstand’s Main Thing

If the German Mittelstand can’t be found in China, it’s probably because they are investing and selling in the Visegrád countries, and beyond. the Handelsblatt‘s English-language edition has a critical assessment of Mittelstand companies role in Central Europe, quoting an apolitical German trade functionary to prove its point:

Ultimately, politics is not that important for businesspeople. Order books are full: That’s the main thing.

Obviously, German politicians (and journalists, for that matter) aren’t nearly as sanguine, and following US President Trump’s attendence at a Three Seas Initiative summit in July 2017, the Economist even recorded Teutonic tremors:

Germany is already concerned about China’s “16+1” initiative with central and eastern European states, a series of investment projects that the Chinese expect will build influence in the region. The Germans are also putting pressure on the Polish government over its illiberal attacks on independent newspapers, judges and NGOs. And they are fending off Polish criticisms that their proposed “Nord Stream 2” gas pipeline from Russia to Germany will make Europe more dependent on Russia.

But the Mittelstand shows no such unease. In fact, smaller and medium-sized companies often feel easier about countries that are closer to Germany, both regionally and culturally – it takes less time to travel, less time spent abroad, less worries about intercultural competence (or its absence), and less worries about market barriers or technology theft.

Hualien, Taiwan

Most people will have heard and read about the earthquake that caused deaths and injuries, especially in Hualien, on Tuesday.

But the place should be known for its beauty, too. There’s a travel blog about the Taroko Gorge, apparently written by a Singaporean, with some practical advice which  should be quite up to date (based on a visit in November 2016). That, plus some history.

The Spy Radio that anyone can hear

No, that’s not the BBC. They’ve only produced a video about numbers stations.

But what’s the fun in them if anyone can listen? I want some numbers of my own.

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Related

Budapest Guidelines, in Chinese and in English, Nov 2017

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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Shortwave Logs: Radio Romania International (RRI)

If you are looking for a European broadcaster on shortwave, the BBC World Service may come to your mind – or Radio Romania International (RRI). The latter’s range of program languages is quite diverse: English, Chinese, French, Romanian, Ukrainian, Russian, Arabic, Spanish, Italian, and German. One a week, on Sundays, there’s a broadcast in Hebrew, too, with a review of the week1).

— Some history

According to the station’s website, first experimental radio programmes for target areas beyond Romania’s borders were aired in 1927. Broadcasting became official on November 1, 1928, on 747 kHz (401.6 meters) – apparently targeted at a domestic audience, in Romanian only. French and English programs followed in 1932, “to inform the diplomatic corps in the Romanian capital city”, and weekly programs in French and German were targeted at central and western Europe. Before the second world war, all foreign broadcasts depended on medium wave transmitters. When the first shortwave transmissions began, the focus appears to have been on the Balkans, and the Middle East. According to RRI, [i] t seems that the first letter received from abroad came from Egypt.

It’s a detailed account of RRI’s history (and that of its preceding organizations, all headquartered in Bucharest’s General Berthelot Street), and will most likely contain some information that is new to the reader.

Olt County's coat of arms, 1985 and post-1989

Olt County’s coat of arms, as depicted on a QSL card of December 1985, and as of these days (click picture for Wiki entry)

— Languages, Programs, Contraditions

RRI provides news, background reports and some cultural coverage. Much of the content is the same in English, German, and Chinese, but focus may differ somewhat. While there is news, some background information and cultural programming in all these languages, listeners’ preferred topics seem to count, too. German listeners frequently enquire about European and social issues – something that appears to be of less interest to Chinese listeners. The scope of Chinese programs may also be somewhat limited by air time: thirty minutes per broadcast in Chinese, rather than sixty, as is the case with some of the broadcasts in English, French, and German.

When it comes to international exchange or openness, RRI certainly can’t be accused of discrimination. The Institut Francais is shown among their partners on the French service’s web pages, and a link to the “Confucius Institute” in Bucharest adorns the Chinese-language main page, side by side with one to the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (with no specified status).

According to RRI’s English service’s website, RRI’s Chinese service, which first went on air on October 1, 1999, benefited from […] Chinese language experts […] as well as our colleagues from Radio China International, the Romanian language department […].2)

Given the kind of “news” being broadcast by China Radio International (CRI), this kind of cooperation doesn’t look appropriate.

Some caveats: undue Beijing’s influence isn’t limited to RRI in particular, or to southeastern Europe in general3) (as suspected by some German quarters). A number of German universities have opted for cooperation with the agency from Beijing, for example, and areas of cooperation are hardly less sensitive.

Also, RRI’s news broadcasts in Chinese don’t appear to differ from those of the English or German departments. When Chinese listeners hear about Romanian citizens who take to the street, opposing changes to the country’s legal system, or Japan’s prime minister emphasizing liberty, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law as Japan’s and Romania’s shared values and principles, it may be met with more open minds, than if broadcast by a source that is deemed hostile by its audience.

All the same, turning October 1, 1949 into common ground between the audience and the station’s first broadcast in Chinese (October 1, 1994) spells a major contradiction, when suggesting at the same time, on a different history page, that RRI services turned towards the future, towards once again building a bridge between Romania and the democratic world and re-establishing the link between Romanians living abroad and those back home, a link that had been weakened on purpose by the totalitarian regime.

— Audience

RRI doesn’t offer detailed statistics – few international broadcasters do. It seems likely, however, that a presence on shortwave makes a difference for the better. I wouldn’t hear or read much about the country, if its signals didn’t come in handy. I’m suspecting that within Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, you can listen to RRI with a pressing iron (any appliance with spiral coils should do).

What has kept this blogger from giving feedback to the station is their online policy. It seems that everything that is mentioned in their listener’s-feedback programs goes right online, as a transcript. Facebookers probably won’t mind, but more traditional listeners may be a different story.

Either way, RRI certainly has its fans, and its multipliers.

— Shortwave

Shortwave plays an important role, at least when it comes to middle-aged and old listeners. For one, there’s the technical aspect. Nobody is encouraged to disassemble and reassemble his smartphone, or to boost its transmission power or its sensitivity. Use of shortwave, however, involves technical aspects, and people interested in some DIY. And while an app user may brush any source of information away after a few seconds, shortwave listeners’ attention span is likely to be sturdier.

It would seem to me that among a number of other aspects (sound not least – I find digital sound ugly), shortwave broadcasting signals respect for the listeners. It is more costly than web-based communication, it doesn’t provide broadcasters with as much information about how “efficient”, in terms of listener numbers, their productions actually are (which means that even the invisible listener matters), and it doesn’t ask if a listener lives under circumstances that allow for internet access – be it for economic or censorship reasons.

Shortwave is therefore a unique RRI feature. Bulgaria abandoned its shortwave transmissions years ago, so did Radio Poland, Radio Ukraine International, and Radio Prague (except for some airtime on German or American shortwave stations respectively). Radio Budapest, once one of the most popular Eastern European external broadcasters, is history.

— Recent RRI logs

Broadcasts in Chinese, German, and Hebrew
Time UTC Lang. Date Freq. S I N P O
07:00 German Jan21 7345 5 5 5 4 4
13:30 Chinese Jan21 9610 4 5 5 3 4
17:05 Hebrew Jan21 9790 4 5 5 3 4

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Footnotes

1) RRI’s website states 19:05 hours as the beginning of the transmission, which is standard time in Romania, and in Israel (17:05 GMT/UTC).
2) The Romanian department at CRI still exists, with an online presence, and medium/shortwave transmissions.
3) The “Spiegel” interview in German.

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Friday, April 15, 2016

Monument Policies (1): Poland

As Poland celebrates 1,050 years of Christianity in Poland, the country’s right-wing government is pushing the country’s European heritage as the EU steps up its criticism, writes Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international media platform. The news article seems to reflect the general angle of the German press on Polish current affairs quite well, although  milder than some German-language reports, even at DW itself, where a headline in February read Polen: Muslime unerwünscht (“Muslims unwelcome”, a choice of words that triggers memories of “Jews unwelcome”, a notice on many German doors, especially once the Nazis had come to power. Dirty German history at Poland’s expense, in only two words.

Coverage on Poland

DW: How ugly of you, Poland

Not all is well between Brussels and Warsaw, as an article by DW correspondent Barbara Wesel reflected in December, after the Polish government’s attack on the country’s supreme court, and its state media:

Polen is the biggest net recipient of EU funding in all of Europe. And Warsaw is wrong if only sees the European capital as the main cashier’s window. From there, obligations accrue, too. The number one obligation is to observe the rules of the club. If Jarosław Kaczyński believes he can impudently defy them, he needs to be disabused. Unfortunately, there are barely ways of imposing official financial sanctions, but maybe all sorts of mistakes can be found in future Polish project proposals… Rudeness like that of the Law-and-Justice party chief needs to be answered with rudeness.

Polen ist der größte Netto-Empfänger von EU-Fördermitteln in ganz Europa. Und Warschau irrt, wenn es in der europäischen Hauptstadt nur die Hauptkasse sieht. Daraus erwachsen auch Verpflichtungen. Erste Pflicht ist auf jeden Fall, die Regeln des Clubs einzuhalten. Wenn Jaroslaw Kaczynski glaubt, er könne sich frech darüber hinweg setzen, muss er eines Besseren belehrt werden. Leider gibt es in der EU kaum Möglichkeiten, offiziell finanzielle Sanktionen zu verhängen. Aber vielleicht finden sich ja allerhand Fehler in künftigen polnischen Projektanträgen… Auf einen so groben Klotz wie den polnischen PiS-Parteichef gehört ein grober Keil.

This kind of creative anger – probably indicative of the general mood among the political class in the City of Brussels – is a somewhat unpleasant sight, especially when Germans wield the financial club. Nothing is forgotten in Poland: no pressure, no words, which above all shouldn’t come from German mouths, will dissuade us, German news magazine Der Spiegel quoted Jarosław Kaczyński in January.

Kaczyński’s policies may be facing widespread opposition in Poland by now – but with comments like these, he may be able to reach some of his opponents, too.

Brussels and Berlin seem to understand that. While wide swathes of German press coverage is pulling Polish policies to pieces, German and EU diplomacy remain … well … diplomatic.

And the real dark clouds, from Warsaw’s point of view, are gathering in the West, from the direction of another complicated neighbor. That would be Russia. When it comes to the Katyn massacre, for years, “the blame for the killings was alternately attributed to the Germans and the Russians”, a Radio Poland continuity announcement informed the station’s listeners on Wednesday (7th minute), Poland’s official day of remembrance. The report that followed the announcement was more accurate, stating that the Soviet Union (the Soviet NKVD) had been responsible.

In the same broadcast, German journalist Boris Reitschuster is interviewed (20th minute) about his latest book (to be published on Friday, April 15) about Putin’s Secret Army. (Whatever may be said about the book (in terms of reliability or otherwise), conservative press people appear to be fans, while liberal and leftist publications don’t display nearly as much fascination.)

There was no official mention of the tragedy in Poland during the communist rule nor much was said in the West, which is also guilty of concealing evidence of the Stalinist crime,

Radio Poland said on Wednesday.

Maybe it’s this mood that defines the current mission of Polish remembrance policies: 500 monuments to the Soviet soldiers, who drove the German Wehrmacht out of Poland in 1944/1945, are scheduled to be demolished (CNBC) or removed (Newsweek).

It’s not the first action of this kind, but it is now reportedly the Polish state Institute for National Remembrance (INR) that calls on regional authorities to dismantle the monuments. It could become a comprehensive measure.

And at the same time, Polish media discuss the positive symbols that shall replace those from the communist era. A Radio Poland press review, still on April 13:

Back to Rzeczpospolita now which claims that President Lech Kaczyński, who was killed in the plane crash in Russia six years ago, deserves a dignified memorial in the Polish capital. Having in mind, however, deep divisions in Polish society surrounding the circumstances of the crash, it is not a good idea to erect such a memorial in front of the presidential palace, as is proposed by the Law and Justice Party. The Rzeczpospolita columnist thinks that hospitals, schools and libraries built from public funds and named after the late president would be a better way of remembering President Kaczyński, and of bridging the divides within Polish society.

The presidential palace in Warsaw may have to wait for its copy, but this what the presidential memorial might look like.

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Notes

纪念“卡廷惨案”受害者的橡树, CRI, April 14, 2016
Instructions Importantes, CRI, April 12, 2016
Lech Kaczyński, 1949 – 2010, April 10, 2010

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