I have been fortunate enough to have been interviewed many times by the Voice of America (see the photo above, with Guangcheng Chen), which has enabled me to get behind China’s Great Firewall and inform the Chinese people directly of abuses in connection with China’s One Child (now Two Child) Policy. VOA has a proud history of courageous journalism, including broadcasts behind enemy lines during the Second World War. Recent troubling events have led to a State Department investigation as to whether the Chinese government is exerting pressure to censor VOA. Here’s a letter I wrote with Guangcheng Chen about this crucial investigation. Many top Chinese human rights activists signed as well.
To Whom It May Concern:
We have learned that the Office of Inspector General of the United States Department of State has decided to start an investigation of “management decisions” giving rise to the Guo Wengui interview incident at Voice of America. We applaud the OIG’s decision to investigate the VOA Management and have some suggestions regarding the investigation.
For those unfamiliar with the Guo Wengui interview incident, on April 19 of this year, Voice of America China Branch was set to broadcast a three-hour live interview of Guo Wengui, a Chinese billionaire with close ties to the Chinese State Security apparatus, who claimed to have information about high-level official corruption in the Chinese regime. Specifically, Guo stated his intent publicly to expose how China’s State Security apparatus pressured the Chinese business community into financing its infiltration into organizations globally, as well as its monitoring of Chinese citizens.
This exposure of widespread official corruption had the potential to afford a rare revelation of the machinations of the police state to those who are its innocent victims. VOA promoted the upcoming interview heavily for a week, with the full knowledge and consent of VOA management.
Instead, VOA’s upper-level management abruptly cut short the interview mid-broadcast, to the consternation of the Chinese audience, many of whom stated that they believe that VOA was kowtowing to censorship and pressure from the Chinese Communist Party. VOA has since suffered a sharp loss of its viewership and reputation in China, and has indeed become the object of mockery.
Equally disturbing, five journalists involved in the interview were put on administrative leave pending “investigation.” Five months later, four remain on involuntary leave. Has the investigation of the “Mandarin Five” been concluded? If so, why has no report been issued? Read More.