Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A678-W417

魏京生基金会新闻与文章发布号: A678-W417


Release Date: Dec. 24, 2011



Topic: Congratulatory Letter to Voice of America's Chinese Services -- Wei Jingsheng

标题:给美国之音中文部的祝贺信 -- 魏京生


Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)



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Congratulatory Letter to Voice of America's Chinese Services

-- Wei Jingsheng



Dear Sasha and all the friends at the Chinese branch of VOA, first I must apologize.


I had already planned to celebrate the 70 years of Voice of America broadcasting to China with all of you, but my luck was not always so good.  This is not the first time that in the planned time frame, I got into trouble with my car or at the airport.  In particular, this time the time coincidence was right before the departure back to Washington DC.  So I have no choice but to apologize to everyone.


I particularly wanted to come over and celebrate with everyone for two reasons.


Many of our generation of Chinese people grew up while we were listening to the Voice of America (VOA) broadcasts.  If we were not the primary school students who were easy to deceive, there were friends who told us quietly that there is a radio station called Voice of America which tells the truth.  But listening to this radio station could result in arrest and being sent to labor camps on charges of "secretly listening the enemy's radio stations".


But there were still many people who were not afraid of this serious charge.  They obtained information from the broadcast of the VOA, and thus were able to identify what is true and what is a lie.  Even my father, a senior member of the Communist Party, knew that he could only learn the true information about me after my arrest, along with other information that he wanted to know, from the Voice of America. 


The police from the jail I stayed in traveled to North Korea.  After they came back, there were two issues that touched them most: one was that the situation there was almost like the Cultural Revolution period in China, when people behaved like madmen.  The second was that the most desired gift in Korea was only 10 dollars worth of a short-wave radio.  This was because the dictatorship of the Kim dynasty did not allow the people to have short-wave radios.  North Korean people are just like the Chinese people, and want the information that they could not get in their average media.


The feeling that these people of our generations in several countries have towards the Voice of America comes from the fact that we could get real information there, which was not available from our official media in our own countries.  Using the language of the U.S. Congress, it is complementary to freedom of expression.  Each media has its own characteristics.  It attracts its own specific audience, due to its own characteristics, rather than competing with the other media in the areas where those others have merits. 


David Ensor, your new director of VOA told me he is most concerned about one thing, that is how to get the audience back.  In recent years, criticism towards the VOA are in line with the question of Mr. director.  The reason why the old audience drifted away from the VOA is not only because there are many voices now on VOA which argue for the Communist Party, but also because VOA lost its style of political news and commentary which ranked it number one.  It departed away from the principle of being a supplement to freedom of speech.


Does VOA wants to compete with other entertainment stations in what they are good at?  It is not possible.  Do we need to use U.S. taxpayers' money to introduce Texas grilled steak, or New York's Fifth Avenue?  In fact, other private media will do better, without spending this money from the American taxpayers.  Really, there is not a need for you, as a media of political news and commentary that is historic and widely trusted, to compete for other people's business.


Of course, there are some people who certainly hope that half of the VOA will become the gossip type media of Hong Kong and Taiwan, while the other half becomes a platform to speak by the soft power of the Chinese Communist Party.  It is said that doing so will enable VOA to get the Chinese government's tolerance, and to enter the Chinese market.  Yet, this is also the thing that both old and new listeners of VOA are most angry about.  I think that if the American taxpayers were aware of this anger, they will not accept this reality either.


By the way, I have been scolded by your audience for several years.  They asked me as why VOA has become an advocate for the Chinese Communist Party.  So I have to once again apologize to everyone.  I have said so many unpleasant remarks at this beautiful moment of congratulations.  This is because I think that if you do not have a major reform, if you do not return to your once glorious path, you are in debt to those tens of millions of people who trust you.


Thank you for helping me over all these years.  I have been listening to VOA since I was seventeen years old when I began to doubt the Communist Party.  I have greatly benefited from that.  Thank you.



WEI Jingsheng

December 5, 2011



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Wei Jingsheng Foundation News and Article Release Issue: A678-W417

魏京生基金会新闻与文章发布号: A678-W417


Release Date: Dec. 24, 2011



Topic: Congratulatory Letter to Voice of America's Chinese Services -- Wei Jingsheng

标题:给美国之音中文部的祝贺信 -- 魏京生


Original Language Version: Chinese (Chinese version at the end)









-- 魏京生

















你们新来的台长David Ensor告诉我:他最关心的就是一件事,如何找回自己的听众。最近几年对美国之音的批评也和台长先生关心的问题一样。老听众们们之所以远离美国之音,就是因为现在的美国之音不但有很多替共产党辩解的声音,而且失去了政治评论第一台的风格,远离了言论自由的补充这个原则。



















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