….”National Public Radio (NPR) reported recently that Buddhist monks in Tibet secretly listen every night to VOA Tibetan radio broadcasts. BBG staffers claim that Radio Free Asia Tibetan radio broadcasts are sufficient in times of tight budgets. They propose to eliminate seven radio broadcasting positions in the VOA Tibetan Service. This move would effectively prevent the Voice of America from reaching any substantial audience in Tibet due to local Internet and satellite TV restrictions.”
“NPR did not report in this story that the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), a federal agency that manages the Voice of America, has just proposed to terminate VOA Tibetan language radio programs. This news has not yet been widely reported by American media. The BBG also wants to close down the VOA Cantonese Service, thus targeting two languages and cultures which are also being suppressed by the communist regime in Beijing. The Voice of America Tibetan Service was established in 1990 by an act of Congress and went on the air in 1991.”
BBG members with IBB Director Richard Lobo and Deputy Director Jeff Trimble
[US Agency (BBG) supporting and Implementing China’s Policies of Suppression]
In the FY2013 budget proposal, the Broadcasting Board of Governors plans on eliminating the Voice of America’s Tibetan language radio to Tibet.
The Tibetan People are burning with anguish and pain at this moment
This comes at a period when Tibet is literally burning, and China’s repression and crackdowns on the Tibetan people are at their harshest and most violent. Twenty five young people, mostly monks and nuns, have self-immolated to draw attention to the attacks on Tibetan religion and culture. China’s response has been to crackdown harder, conduct beatings and detentions and inflict painful and humiliating ‘re-education’ programs at Tibetan religious institutions.
Wrong political message to the Chinese Communist Party
Cutting this lifeline for Tibetans in their hour of need sends a wrong message to China. China will understand it to mean that decimation of Tibetan religion and culture, and indeed their very identity, will now be overlooked by America. And to the Tibetan people, it will be a heartbreaking blow from a nation that Tibetans love, respect, and consider a friend in stormy weather.
VOA Tibetan language radio is a unique source of information for Tibetans
A recent NPR report on the Tibetan self-immolations in Tibet said, “The monks listen secretly to Voice of America’s Tibetan service news every night, despite feeling almost physical pain at the bleak news.” That’s because ever since 1991, when the Voice of America was mandated by an act of Congress to start its Tibetan language service, it has been the only international broadcast into Tibet that provides world news, US news, the activities and efforts of the Dalai Lama for his people, and information and analysis on the workings of the free world to Tibet. And today, VOA Tibetan radio is still the only one that gives all of that to the Tibetan people.
Shortwave radio is still a powerful medium in Tibet
Shortwave radio remains a cheap, easily concealed, and thus the safest mode of getting news and information in Tibet. Radio signals are jammed by the Chinese in town centers, but in the rural areas where the vast majority of Tibetans live, Voice of America’s radio is loud and clear.
The Dalai Lama said that Voice of America Tibetan radio is “vital medicine” for Tibetans, and the Tibetan people consider it as one of the most valuable and priceless gifts from the people and government of the United States to them.
Save VOA Tibetan radio on behalf of the millions of Tibetans living under extreme oppression, and the American people who have supported the plight of the Tibetans for over 50 years.