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US to Cut VOA Broadcasts in Chinese

Feb 18, 2011

Voice of America (VOA) plans to end all radio and TV broadcasts in Mandarin and Cantonese starting in October amid a budget cut plan announced by US President Barack Obama, reports said yesterday.

The decision is highly controversial and has already engendered some strong reactions among China watchers.

“Shocking and idiotic,” said Arthur Waldron, professor of international relations at the University of Pennsylvania and an expert on China.

“Information is our strong point. As true news about China comes out, it will be easier for us to deal with them. Radios are very effective indeed at shaping public opinion,” he said.

“I would think this was bad satire, but I fear it is true. It shows a complete lack of understanding of the world situation and correlation of forces,” Waldron said.

The decision is sure to have an impact on VOA facilities in Taiwan and the many Taiwanese journalists who work for the agency.

The US’ Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), which is responsible for all US government or government-sponsored, non–military international broadcasting, made the announcement in Washington on Monday as it submitted its budget proposal for next year to US Congress. Insiders said that while there would almost certainly be objections from some members of Congress, there was also enormous pressure to cut spending.

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