Congressional Record, April 6, 2011: Rep. Rohrabacher confronts BBG on China and Iran
From time to time, BBG Watch publishes significant historical documents on U.S. international broadcasting. Today, we want to bring you for easy viewing the minutes of the 2011 Hearing on the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
The April 6, 2011 hearing was presided by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA). The witness on behalf of the BBG was S. Enders Wimbush, Board Member, Broadcasting Board of Governors, who later resigned from the Board in 2012.
[House Hearing, 112 Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
IS AMERICA’S OVERSEAS BROADCASTING
UNDERMINING OUR NATIONAL INTEREST AND
THE FIGHT AGAINST TYRANNICAL REGIMES?
SUBCOMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND INVESTIGATIONS
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED TWELFTH CONGRESS
APRIL 6, 2011
Serial No. 112-13
Printed for the use of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.foreignaffairs.house.gov/
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
65-628 PDF WASHINGTON : 2011
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Washington, DC 20402-0001
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida, Chairman
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
DAN BURTON, Indiana GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York
ELTON GALLEGLY, California ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American
DANA ROHRABACHER, California Samoa
DONALD A. MANZULLO, Illinois DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California BRAD SHERMAN, California
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio ELIOT L. ENGEL, New York
RON PAUL, Texas GREGORY W. MEEKS, New York
MIKE PENCE, Indiana RUSS CARNAHAN, Missouri
JOE WILSON, South Carolina ALBIO SIRES, New Jersey
CONNIE MACK, Florida GERALD E. CONNOLLY, Virginia
JEFF FORTENBERRY, Nebraska THEODORE E. DEUTCH, Florida
MICHAEL T. McCAUL, Texas DENNIS CARDOZA, California
TED POE, Texas BEN CHANDLER, Kentucky
GUS M. BILIRAKIS, Florida BRIAN HIGGINS, New York
JEAN SCHMIDT, Ohio ALLYSON SCHWARTZ, Pennsylvania
BILL JOHNSON, Ohio CHRISTOPHER S. MURPHY, Connecticut
DAVID RIVERA, Florida FREDERICA WILSON, Florida
MIKE KELLY, Pennsylvania KAREN BASS, California
TIM GRIFFIN, Arkansas WILLIAM KEATING, Massachusetts
TOM MARINO, Pennsylvania DAVID CICILLINE, Rhode Island
JEFF DUNCAN, South Carolina
ANN MARIE BUERKLE, New York
RENEE ELLMERS, North Carolina
Yleem D.S. Poblete, Staff Director
Richard J. Kessler, Democratic Staff Director
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
DANA ROHRABACHER, California, Chairman
MIKE KELLY, Pennsylvania RUSS CARNAHAN, Missouri
RON PAUL, Texas DAVID CICILLINE, Rhode Island
TED POE, Texas KAREN BASS, California
DAVID RIVERA, Florida
C O N T E N T S
The Honorable S. Enders Wimbush, Board Member, Broadcasting Board
of Governors…………………………………………… 6
Ms. Jennifer Park Stout, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State,
Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, U.S. Department of
Mr. Philo L. Dibble, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau
of Near Eastern Affairs, U.S. Department of State………….. 25
Mr. Amir Fakhravar, general secretary, Confederation of Iranian
Shiyu Zhou, Ph.D., vice president, New Tang Dynasty Television… 38
John Lenczowski, Ph.D., president, Institute of World Politics… 43
Mr. Robert Reilly, former director, Voice of America…………. 55
LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
The Honorable S. Enders Wimbush: Prepared statement………….. 8
Ms. Jennifer Park Stout: Prepared statement…………………. 22
Mr. Philo L. Dibble: Prepared statement…………………….. 27
Mr. Amir Fakhravar: Prepared statement……………………… 34
Shiyu Zhou, Ph.D.: Prepared statement………………………. 40
John Lenczowski, Ph.D.: Prepared statement………………….. 46
Hearing notice…………………………………………… 78
Hearing minutes………………………………………….. 80
Mr. Robert Reilly: Prepared statement and material submitted for
the record…………………………………………….. 81
IS AMERICA’S OVERSEAS BROADCASTING UNDERMINING OUR NATIONAL INTEREST
AND THE FIGHT AGAINST TYRANNICAL REGIMES?
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 6, 2011
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations,
Committee on Foreign Affairs,
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:50 p.m., in
room 2200, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Dana Rohrabacher
(chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Good morning. Except it is not morning.
Good afternoon, everyone. And I want to thank the ranking
member, who isn’t here, and he will be here, and I will thank
him when he gets here, and the other members of the
subcommittee who have joined us here. And I also want to thank
the witnesses for coming today.
I have called this hearing to investigate one of the
greatest failures in recent American foreign policy, and that
is to define and follow a strategic communications strategy. As
I was going through my background, when I said I worked at the
White House, obviously most of you know I was one of President
Reagan’s speech writers. And a communications strategy–I was
actually on the scene to witness Reagan change the world.
Today I would like to talk about this, a strategic and lack
of, perhaps, a strategic communication strategy, and I would
like to talk about this in the context of two of America’s most
dangerous enemies, Iran and Communist China. First and
foremost, American strategic–Russ, come right on. Sorry I
started without you, but we did wait for you. Honest we did.
First and foremost, American strategic communications and
public diplomacy should seek to promote the national interests
of the United States through informing and influencing foreign
audiences. This is often referred to as the war of ideas. The
role and responsibilities of the Broadcasting Board of
Governors, that is the BBG, is not only journalism. I was a
journalist before. While I was doing all those crazy things, I
was earning a living being a journalist. That is not the only
job for the Broadcasting Board of Governors. The BBG is
critical to our national security effort, and not just to a
journalism and a journalistic effort.
While much is said about how new technology–Internet,
social networks, Twitter–is bringing the world together and
empowering the general public, not much is being said about the
messages being carried along these new information conduits. It
is often assumed that these messages are being dominated by
people who believe in freedom and would liberate the country
from tyranny, yet the dictatorial regimes of Communist China
and Iran are currently controlling and manipulating the flow of
information in their countries and about their countries.
During the Cold War I worked in the White House when
President Reagan ordered a massive infusion of funds to help
Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. Reagan knew the utility of
public diplomacy, and he used it artfully. Lech Walesa, leader
of the Solidarity freedom movement, and later the President of
Poland, remarked on the value of U.S. Radio broadcasting by
saying of its importance, quote, deg. “it cannot be
described. Would there be Earth without a sun?” end
of quote. deg.
Could the BBG’s programming today have that same level of
significance and importance to the modern Lech Walesas of Iran
and China? Is our programming helping or undermining freedom
movements in those dictatorships?
During the Cold War we defined the Soviet Union as the
enemy, and under Reagan’s leadership we set out to defeat it.
If the Communist Chinese Party is to be defeated without us
suffering war, not just us but them suffering war, as Reagan
ended the Cold War without a confrontation, a conflict directly
between the Soviet Union and the United States, we must have
the same level of commitment to broadcasting our message and
the freedom message, and we need to energize public diplomacy.
Recently it was announced that the Voice of America will
lay off over half of its Mandarin language broadcasters, a
reduction of 45 Chinese journalists. The BBG proposes to
eliminate Voice of America’s daily 12-hour Chinese radio and
television broadcasting next year. This is worrisome. I look
forward to hearing our administration witnesses address this
point specifically. Is there more behind this reduction than
merely saving money? The $8 million saved will do far more to
weaken our efforts in trying to confront a belligerent and
dictatorial China than it will to balance our Federal budget,
that is for sure.
In Fiscal Year 2012, the BBG has requested over $767
million. That is an increase from the $758 million that they
were appropriated in Fiscal Year 2010. I might add, being given
money this year of all years is no small request. We need to
make sure that it is worth it because we are in the business of
cutting down the level of deficit spending. So if we spend
more, we have got to get more. And the gutting of the VOA’s
China service does not seem to fit into this criteria. At the
same time, China is spending lavishly. The Chinese regime has
dished out over $7 billion over the last 2 years on its
propaganda, this as we are slashing our communications effort.
I seriously question the wisdom of the BBG’s recent
decision to switch from short-wave radio broadcasting to an
Internet-based service. This new approach will be much more
vulnerable to the type of Internet controls and monitoring that
the Chinese Communist Party has been perfecting for the last
As the U.S. has retreated from short-wave radio, the
Communist China Radio International has expanded, tripling its
English broadcasting since 2000 and going from using 150
frequencies to over 280 frequencies. Obviously short-wave is
working for someone if they are expanding that way. As we are
about to lay off over half of VOA’s Mandarin language
workforce, the official propaganda arm of the Chinese Communist
Party is aggressively expanding and opening an office in
Unfortunately, the problems with U.S. public diplomacy
extend well beyond China. Promoting democracy in Iran has been
an official U.S. policy since the Iran Freedom Support Act was
passed in 2006, though American broadcasts to Iran, of course,
started much earlier than that date.
Radio Farda and the VOA’s Persian News Network have in the
past used Iranian Government sources for their reporting.
Giving air time to the Iranian Government is a misguided effort
perhaps to have some kind of journalistic balance. Well, the
American taxpayers are not and should not be funding an effort
to give a balance to the mullahs’ repressive views. This is
less of a problem for Radio Farda, since they spend the
majority of their time and resources playing music, not talking
about issues or informing the Iranian people.
It is disturbing to learn of the BBG’s slowness in
reporting information about the violence that the Iranian
mullahs unleashed against the Green movement when it was
protesting the stealing of Iran’s elections back in 2009. And
so at the same time we are trying to give balance to views, we
are slow at reporting the type of negative things that they are
doing. Certainly this is not the kind of record that best
serves America’s national interest.
Recognizing these problems, I am a strong supporter of U.S.
diplomacy, and I believe we need more of it and not less of it.
But it needs to be reformed, and it needs to be energized and
properly directed. America needs an up-to-date national
communications strategy that reflects our values, ideals and
our national interests. U.S. broadcasting must commit itself to
Perhaps background checks or more training of BBG employees
is in order here. We will discuss that. But I am sure–and I am
sure our distinguished witnesses, will have some ideas how to
improve U.S. strategic communications, and I am looking forward
to hearing them.
To explain the issues today, we have a number of witnesses
who I will introduce after my ranking member Mr. Carnahan
proceeds with his opening statement.
Mr. Carnahan. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to start off
by congratulating you again on being chairman of the
subcommittee. I enjoyed working with you on the subcommittee in
the past and look forward to working with you as ranking member
in this upcoming session. Also, I know, as you said, that you
are a strong supporter of U.S. diplomacy to be sure that we are
doing it in the most effective way, and I join you in that
commitment. And thank you for holding this hearing.
Taking a critical look on how we are conducting public
diplomacy and strategic communications abroad is a great start
for the subcommittee. Public diplomacy programs are a critical
and indispensable component of U.S. foreign policy. From
exchange programs to international broadcasting to strategic
communications, public diplomacy is not only an effective
component of U.S. foreign policy, it can and it should also be
I commend Under Secretary of State Judith McHale for her
new Strategic Framework for Public Diplomacy that she released
this year. While there are enormous challenges facing how we
conduct public diplomacy, I would highlight that her pointing
out the need to reach populations that are underserved by U.S.
engagement, such as women and young people, is especially
critical. I held a subcommittee hearing last year on women’s
empowerment in the political process. That hearing showed the
impact that empowering women can have on increasing stability
in many countries.
Regarding the youth population, we need to look no further
than recent events in the Middle East and North Africa to see
not only the need to reach this huge group of people, but also
the great promise it can have, and particularly their use and
engagement of new social media. I will be especially interested
to hear about these points from our witnesses today.
All five of the strategic imperatives laid out in this
initiative have great merit, but I want to make a few comments
about the second that seeks to, quote, deg. “expand
and strengthen people-to-people relationships.” The value of
human interaction has some of the highest impact of our foreign
policy. One of those is our student exchange programs. Both
Americans abroad to show others firsthand who we are as a
country, as well as those coming from other countries here to
learn American values are invaluable. I was very pleased when
Secretary Clinton indicated her commitment to these programs
when she testified before the full committee last month, and I
will continue to encourage the administration to support these
types of programs going forward.
As I have stated before in this subcommittee, my district
is home to one of the largest Bosnian American populations in
the country. I often hear from them about the value of U.S.
broadcasting to Bosnia. Many of them watch Voice of America on
line or via satellite. This type of programming has enormous
value, both here and abroad. It continues to reinforce American
values to diasporas like the Bosnians in my district who stay
active in their home countries. We need to continue engagement
in all possible ways. I look forward to hearing about how we
can continue these efforts in the most effective way.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Thank you.
Our witnesses today, I would ask if you could, if you do,
if you can, limit your remarks to 5 minutes, and then we will
put the rest into the record, and we will then proceed to have
a question-and-answer session.
With us today we have–and we are a little mixed up because
I got everybody up here so we could have one session of
questions. To explain these issues today we have Deputy
Assistant Secretary of State Jennifer Stout. Pardon me, I could
not read your thing from here, and you were supposed to be
there, but that is okay. We will work this out. Jennifer Stout,
responsible for public diplomacy and public affairs in the
Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs. Ms. Stout worked here
on Capitol Hill for over 11 years before going to the State
Department, and was then, before that, a staffer to Senators
Biden and Leahy. She holds an M.A. from George Washington
And next we have Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern
Affairs, Philo Dibble, who is a retired senior Foreign Service
officer–where are you? There. Okay–who has been overseas on
many overseas assignments, especially the Middle East. He has a
master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University.
From the Broadcasting Board of Governors we have with us
Enders Wimbush and Michael Meehan. Of course, Mr. Wimbush is a
senior vice president at Hudson Institute. And from 1987 to
1993, he served and did a great job as director of Radio
Liberty in Munich, Germany. And Mr. Meehan is president of the
Blue Line Strategic Communications, and over the past two
decades has served in senior roles for Senators Kerry and Boxer
in addition to others.
Then we have with us John Lenczowski, or I should say Dr.
Lenczowski, one of my very good friends from my years in the
Reagan White House. John was the Director of European and
Soviet Affairs at the National Security Council, a man targeted
by the Soviets, but stood firm. And we were always proud of the
good work that he was doing there, and a man who I think can at
the end of his career feel very satisfied that he helped end
the Cold War. And today he is the founder and president of the
Institute for World Politics and International Affairs Graduate
School here in Washington, DC.
Another friend of mine from the Reagan years, Robert
Reilly, who was a special assistant to President Ronald Reagan
and then went on to become director of the Voice of America.
During the Iraq war he was a senior advisor to the Iraqi
Ministry of Information and a senior advisor for information
strategy to the Secretary of Defense.
And we also have with us Amir–please pronounce it.
Mr. Fakhravar. Fakhravar.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Okay. Fakhravar.
Mr. Fakhravar. That is okay.
Mr. Rohrabacher. There you go. Can you pronounce
And we are very happy to have him with us today. He was a
writer and journalist inside Iran, who was jailed by the regime
for opposing their despotic and violent ways. After spending 5
years in prison, he came to the United States in 2006 and
founded the Confederation of Iranian Students to work to create
a free Iran.
Then we have with us Mr. Shiyu Zhou. There you are. Okay.
And he is executive vice president of the New Tang Dynasty
Television, the only U.S.-based, independent Chinese-language
TV network broadcasting into China. Mr. Zhou is a Ph.D. and
formerly a computer scientist at the Mathematical Science
Research Center at Bell Labs.
I would like to ask the witnesses to summarize for 5
minutes each. The order will be Mr. Enders Wimbush first, then
Ms. Stout, then Mr. Dibble, and then the gentleman who I can’t
pronounce his name.
Mr. Fakhravar. Fakhravar.
Mr. Rohrabacher. There he is. You are next.
And then Mr. Zhou. And then Mr. Lenczowski and Mr. Reilly.
Did I forget anybody? No. Okay.
So may we start with Mr. Enders Wimbush.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE S. ENDERS WIMBUSH, BOARD MEMBER,
BROADCASTING BOARD OF GOVERNORS
Mr. Wimbush. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the
committee. It is a pleasure to be here to discuss something
that has been part of my professional thinking for my entire
professional life. I would like to, Mr. Chairman, submit my
full testimony for the record and proceed with even abbreviated
Mr. Rohrabacher. Without objection.
Mr. Wimbush. Thank you.
The focus today is going to be on Iran and China. I am
ready to address both issues from the standpoint of the
Broadcast Board of Governors, but I want to start with a little
good-news story that has to do with neither, but affects both,
and that has to do with the recent events in the Middle East.
Just 2 weeks ago in Tahrir Square, a nascent democratic
movement that started in Tunisia blossomed on the streets of
Cairo. Citizens took to the square to air their political
demands and economic demands and their demand for justice and
The Arab-speaking world saw and heard the events unfold
through reporters from Alhurra Television on the air and on the
scene 19 hours a day, providing live coverage of these
historical events. In a flash survey of Cairo and Alexandria
during the critical events, 25 percent of respondents, 25
percent of respondents, said they used the station to follow
the news. These results are comparable to international
broadcasting’s best success stories during the Cold War.
At the height of the demonstrations, pro-Mubarak
demonstrators targeted international journalists. They passed
out fliers on the street naming Alhurra and saying, we are
going to kick you out of Egypt. Thugs physically ejected
Alhurra’s journalists from their Cairo studio, but the
journalists immediately found another place, and for a
significant period of time in Tahrir Square, Alhurra Television
was the only network in the world with a live feed coming out
of Tahrir Square. Alhurra is just one of the–one part of the
global broadcast enterprise that constitutes U.S. international
It was quoted–Alhurra’s coverage was quoted around the
world. The leading Pan-Arab newspaper, Al Hayat, wrote that,
and I quote, “Alhurra was distinguished for its live and
continuous coverage of the protest through its network of
correspondents in the different European cities.”
The same news coverage continued in Libya, in Syria, in
Bahrain and in Yemen. In Libya, a Radio Sawa correspondent,
part of the Middle East broadcasting network, accompanied the
rebels as they advanced toward Tripoli. Time.com commented on
Alhurra’s positive coverage exposing Yemenis to “the support
of the outside world.”
On March 27th, in a cooperative transmission effort with
the Department of Defense, direct broadcasts of Radio Sawa were
sent into Libya on an FM frequency from Commando Solo, an
airborne transmission platform provided by the United States
Air Force. Commando Solo will provide approximately 6 hours per
day of radio transmission from the aircraft. Prior to this
breakthrough, Radio Sawa was only available in Libya via the
Internet streaming or satellite broadcast.
I cite this, Mr. Chairman, to begin my remarks as a
reminder to all of us that we have some extremely brave people
involved in international broadcasting, and they do some
extremely important things in the national interest.
In broadcasting to Iran today from the Voice of America’s
Persian News Network and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s
Radio Farda, the BBG has taken this as one of its highest
priorities. And I will be happy to discuss both our concern of
the way things–the way we found things, and what we have done
to pick things up and to get it back on an even keel.
The Government of Iran, as we know, does what it can to jam
both the PNN and the Farda broadcasts and to interfere with
their Internet sites. PNN broadcasts are jammed on satellite.
Radio Farda’s medium-wave signal has been jammed since shortly
after its inception. Things haven’t always been perfect in
these places, but these are pretty good measures of
effectiveness. More recently Radio Farda was the target of a
denial-of-service attack to swamp its incoming phone lines and
disrupt calls from its audience.
In China, as in the case with Iran, BBG broadcasts faced
substantial transmission hurdles. The BBG is unable to place
its programming on any media, any media, in China, despite, as
you pointed out, Mr. Chairman, the Chinese ability to place
their content on media around the world. We are not able to
place it on any media in China, and the Chinese Government
heavily jams our radio broadcasts.
In spite of this, China’s firm control over access to
information has been increasingly thwarted by the proliferation
of cell phones and the Internet, and the Internet is
particularly worrisome to the Chinese and offers opportunities
for the BBG and other media to reach Chinese citizens.
Now, I will be happy when I yield in question time to go
into the specifics of the BBG’s realignment to China, but I
need to make a couple things clear right at the beginning. We
have not given up short-wave broadcasting to China. The VOA
will not be broadcasting short-wave to China, but Radio Free
Asia, which has been assigned the best frequencies and the best
times, will continue broadcasting short-wave to China.
Meanwhile, the Voice of America’s very substantial resources
will be focused on the Internet, and when we have time for some
questions, I will tell you precisely why we decided on going in
But to get to the point, to get to the bottom line, this is
a two-prong strategy. It is not the strategy that has been
widely portrayed in the media, that the United States is going
out of the short-wave business in China. It is nothing of the
kind. We are continuing legacy short-wave broadcasts to China
with one of our most powerful and dynamic short-wave
broadcasters, and we are reinvesting in the Internet where the
audience is migrating. And I will be happy to give you facts
and figures on how that audience is migrating into those areas.
So in conclusion, my time is up. I am ready to answer
questions and eager to do so.
Mr. Rohrabacher. You will get the questions.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Wimbush follows:]
[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]
Mr. Rohrabacher. Ms. Stout.
STATEMENT OF MS. JENNIFER PARK STOUT, DEPUTY ASSISTANT
SECRETARY OF STATE, BUREAU OF EAST ASIAN AND PACIFIC AFFAIRS,
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Ms. Stout. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member
Carnahan. Thank you for the opportunity to be here today and
testify before you to discuss about our U.S. diplomacy efforts
Before I get into my testimony, though, Mr. Chairman, I
wanted to thank you very much for the comments you made at the
outset of this hearing regarding the solidarity and support
that we are showing our Japanese friends and the Government of
Japan. On Monday will be the 1-month anniversary of the tragic
earthquake and tsunami, and so our thoughts are very much still
with the Japanese as they go through this recovery. So thank
you for those comments.
Mr. Rohrabacher. You know what the greatest thing about
being a Congressman is you can say things that are really
important like that and that are weighing on your heart, and
you can express them, and the message might even get through to
some of the people in Japan. So you didn’t need to thank me,
but I appreciate that. Go ahead.
Ms. Stout. Thank you very much.
We at the State Department very much appreciate Congress’
longstanding interest in what we do to engage and inform and
influence the Chinese public through a variety of means. In
this endeavor we do face many hurdles. Within China we function
in a highly controlled information environment, often with no
option but to use platforms that are either run by the People’s
Republic of China or censored by the PRC.
Our challenge, and the one that we believe we are meeting
with some success, is to build trust and understanding with the
Chinese public. Although our two governments do not always see
eye to eye, the United States and China have shared interests,
as do the Chinese and American people. Our task is to emphasize
those interests in a way that moves forward the U.S. global
agenda on trade, rule of law, human rights, regional stability
and combating terrorism.
We are unstinting in representing American values and
sharing examples of our own democratic, transparent and law-
based society. As we work hard to present these in a manner to
which the Chinese people can relate–and we work hard to
present these in a manner to which the Chinese people can
relate rather than in a prescriptive manner that would be as
poorly received in China as a prescriptive approach from a
foreign country would be received by the American people. The
U.S. domestic system and our global approach have resulted in a
prosperity and a security that are respected around the world,
and these successes lead our Chinese audiences to draw the
right conclusions from those examples we present.
We are, of course, not naive about the challenges we face
in our public diplomacy efforts in China from a government that
sometimes blocks access to our messages to an oftentimes
nationalistic public that has been taught to be weary of
foreign influence. In our public diplomacy we remain forthright
about discussing openly the complexity of the bilateral
relationship and those points on which our two governments
agree, just as our leaders do. As the President and Secretary
of State have done, we emphasize to the Chinese public that the
United States welcomes the rise of a prosperous, stable China
even as we state honestly our differences over various issues
and our concerns with certain aspects of PRC policies.
We have many diplomatic tools in our public diplomacy
toolbox. The explosive growth of the Internet in China has
given us new avenues through which to reach out to the Chinese
public that would have been inconceivable decades ago. Chinese
bloggers enjoy a certain latitude that state-run television
stations and newspapers do not, and we have used that trend to
blog and microblog to reach millions of Chinese readers.
When President Obama held a town hall with students in
Shanghai, 55 million Chinese Internet users visited the site.
Chinese bloggers and microbloggers invited to a book store
event with Ambassador Huntsman got over 100,000 hits to their
site within just 2 hours of the event. Web chats with top U.S.
Government officials often receive tens of millions of hits.
Our Embassy in Beijing is one of the busiest cultural and
academic exchange offices in the world. We have more than 200
Americans and Chinese learning about each other’s countries
every year through Fulbright. We expect to bring 135 Chinese
professionals, up-and-coming Chinese professionals, to the U.S.
We fund the translation of U.S. law texts into Chinese for the
use in Chinese law schools. On the basis of a successful
opening of an American study center run as a partnership
between Arizona State University and Sichuan University, we are
moving forward with other pairings of American and Chinese
universities to promote American studies on campus.
The State Department is securing private-sector support
from many quarters for the 100,000 Strong initiative, which
will encourage and help facilitate 100,000 U.S. students to
study in China over the next 4 years. Our EducationUSA advising
office in Beijing advises the huge and growing number of
Chinese students who want to study in the United States. The
nearly 130,000 students from China in the United States is our
single largest foreign student contingent and represents a
unique opportunity for the U.S. to influence the next
generation of Chinese leaders. They are also tuition-paying
customers who make no small contribution to our economy.
Before I close, I would just like to reemphasize a point I
made earlier about the greatest asset of our public diplomacy,
which is the attractiveness of the United States, including to
so many in China, due to our power of our example and the
appeal of our values. So while we do not underestimate the
challenges that we face in conducting public diplomacy in
China, I am confident of our continuing progress in that realm
thanks to the strengths of our society, our form of government,
the freedoms we enjoy and our culture.
Though any country’s public diplomacy will benefit from
more resources at the end of the day for public diplomacy to be
successful, the country itself has to put forth the model that
others aspire to emulate, and that is certainly true of the
United States and China. The U.S. public diplomacy mission,
therefore, is to continue showing the very best of our Nation.
Chinese citizens can glean from our examples a way to make
their own society more just. Our efforts to explain U.S.
policies aim to develop a common understanding that makes our
countries readier to cooperate with one another on the global
challenges we both face.
Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Carnahan, thank you for
extending this opportunity to me to testify today, and I look
forward to responding to your questions.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Thank you very much for your testimony.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Stout follows:]
[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]
Mr. Rohrabacher. And Mr. Dibble.
STATEMENT OF MR. PHILO L. DIBBLE, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF
STATE, BUREAU OF NEAR EASTERN AFFAIRS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Mr. Dibble. Chairman Rohrabacher, Ranking Member Carnahan,
thank you for this opportunity to discuss the Department of
State’s public diplomacy work on Iran. With your permission, I
would ask that my written testimony be submitted for the
Mr. Rohrabacher. Without objection.
Mr. Dibble. The United States and Iran have not had
diplomatic relations since 1980. We do not have an Embassy in
Tehran. Our diplomats do not have regular contact with their
Iranian counterparts. We have very few official avenues for
dialogue, communication, influence or interaction with the
Iranian people. For that reason, U.S. Government broadcasting
and public diplomacy activities play a more crucial role for
our policy on Iran than for virtually any other country.
The tools we employ to engage the Iranian people include
broadcasting, social media, the Internet and traditional
people-to-people educational and cultural exchanges. The
witnesses from the Broadcasting Board of Governors can speak
about U.S. broadcasting efforts to Iran, and they have. I would
like to share with you the Department of State’s public
diplomacy outreach plans and efforts, including how we
participate in the BBG’s programs.
First, traditional media, meaning radio and television
broadcasting, play an important role in our efforts. President
Obama himself began his Presidency with a commitment to change
the tone of the U.S. relationship with Iran. He did that on
live television. Since his inauguration the President has
conveyed this message personally and in a variety of ways,
including through several New Year’s messages directly to the
Iranian people and to the government, again through broadcast
means. Despite this increased outreach, the majority of
Iranians continue to hold unfavorable views of U.S. policies,
even as they acknowledge and appreciate the President’s
initiatives. And we have seen that the Iranian regime continues
to reject the President’s offer for meaningful dialogue.
But we cannot rely exclusively on the highest levels of our
Government to convey all our messages to Iran. Especially since
the elections of June 2009 and the evidence of popular
unhappiness that followed, we recognize the importance of
communicating directly with the Iranian people. Consequently,
in order to do that and to make clear the support of the United
States for the changes Iranians wish to see in their
government, the Department of State created a plan to
communicate our policy message via interviews by Persian-
speaking U.S. spokespersons.
Those interviews clearly must include Iranian state-owned
media. For years private-sector studies have shown that a
majority of the Iranians, upwards of 80 percent, get their news
from government-owned media. We are offering to those media
appearances by U.S. official spokespersons on live Iranian TV
and radio in Farsi. We hope that by engaging with all aspects
of Persian-language media, private, Western, Iranian state-
owned and, of course, Radio Farda and VOA Persian, we will
expand what Iranians hear about U.S. foreign policy and enable
them to hear messages directly from U.S. sources. This long-
term effort to engage in Persian-language outreach will become
a part of our messaging strategy for all elements of Iran
Second, I want to discuss briefly exchange programs, which
have long been a staple of traditional public diplomacy. We
have found that educational, cultural, sports and science
exchanges are an effective means to engage Iranians and have
produced significant results. Exchanges have started the
process of reestablishing contacts between academic and
scientific communities and helping reconnect ordinary Iranians
to the West and to the United States specifically.
Exchanges over the past year have included, for example, a
partnership with the National Academy of Sciences, which
brought two groups of Iranian academics and professionals in
solar energy and urban transportation to the United States for
professional exchanges. Because Iran is an earthquake-prone
country we funded a workshop on seismic risks in urban areas.
American and regional academics as well as private-sector
experts discussed practical applications for mitigating the
impact of a future earthquake.
Finally, I think I need to refer to new media efforts,
because I think that is where the future is, even if the
present is with broadcasting. We recognize the importance of
new media, especially to rising generations of Iranians. Hence,
we also use Farsi language in social media sites to communicate
directly with the Iranian people. The State Department’s
official Farsi language Twitter account at USAdarFarsi,
launched earlier this year, already has more than 5,000
followers. Our Farsi-language Facebook page and YouTube channel
both provide active platforms for engaging Iranian youth.
We employ native Persian speakers who engage on Internet
forums and portals to communicate and clarify U.S. Policy to
Iranian audiences. Two of these individuals were recently
transferred to the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs to ensure
close collaboration with policy makers who are already seeing
the fruits of this collaboration.
Finally, I wanted to say a word about the Secretary’s
position on Internet freedom more generally. It is one of her
greatest priorities, which is why we provide training and tools
to civil society activists throughout the region to foster
freedom of expression and the free flow of information on the
Internet and other communications technology. Current projects
support countercensorship, virtual communication and peer-to-
peer technologies. The State Department is exploring means with
the interagency and allies to combat cyber vandalism coming
from Iran under the banner of the Iranian Cyber Army, and
recent attacks have targeted U.S.-based e-mail servers that are
used by many Iranians as well as the VOA Persian Web site
Mr. Chairman, we are making use of every tool we can to
reach out to the Iranian people to explain our policies in
spite of the restrictions imposed by the government in Tehran,
and to give the Iranian people the means to communicate with
one another, and to organize to hold the government accountable
for its actions. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss these
questions with the committee and look forward to the
discussion. Thank you, sir.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Thank you very much. I am sure there will
be some questions about that as well.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Dibble follows:]
[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]
Mr. Rohrabacher. And Mr. Fakhravar.
STATEMENT OF MR. AMIR FAKHRAVAR, GENERAL SECRETARY,
CONFEDERATION OF IRANIAN STUDENTS
Mr. Fakhravar. Good. Great. Thank you.
Good afternoon, honorable Members of Congress, ladies and
gentlemen. I am honored and delighted to be among members of
the House Foreign Relations Committee and distinguished guests
who are testifying today. I don’t want to torture everybody
with my weak English and speak.
I spent more than 5 years of my life in jail and with a lot
of torture, and I have the sign of torture in my hand and I
love it. And after–I am talking today on behalf of the
Confederation of Iranian Students. The CIS was recognized by
the Congressional Research Service as one of the most important
Iranian opposition groups since 2009 until now.
And I was arrested for the first time when I was 17 because
of one of my speech in school about Supreme Leader. And I just
said maybe we don’t have that much freedom the Supreme Leader
is telling us, that is it, and they put me in jail. And then
for 14 years on and off, I was in jail, the revolutionary
court, and the law school and medical school.
In 2005, I escaped from prison, a notorious Iran prison.
And then for months before coming out of country, I was living
underground, and I had chance to watch Voice of America and
Radio Farda. First of all, that was a good feeling to hear some
real news. And then after a few days I realized that some anti-
American message is coming in the middle of the news. And then
I realized more and more.
And after I escape from the country and came here in May
2006, Senator Tom Coburn invited me to testify on behalf of
the–in front of the–what is that–Homeland Security
Committee, U.S. Senate, and that was about the nuclear issues
in Iran and next step. And I tried to put the spotlight on
Voice of America and Radio Farda during my testimony. And I
just mentioned that Voice of America and Radio Farda, they have
a more potential and the great potential to promote freedom and
democracy. And that is exactly their mission, the mission of
Broadcasting Board of Governor and the mission of Voice of
America, the mission of Radio Free Europe, to promote freedom
and democracy and to tell the truth about the United States to
make a better face of United States in the world. It is clear
that is the mission.
And I said the Iranian people right now are confused
because of these type of so-called balanced news. Because when
the people for years, for more than three decades, they don’t
have any access to other source of media, and they, the
government, they are brainwashing the people via state media.
That is not fair to send some type of balanced news, and it is
not balanced, it is anti-American, and make people confused.
And then I started to help Senator Tom Coburn. After that
testimony, the Voice of America and Radio Farda, both they
boycotted me and entire organization and all of my friends, and
they didn’t let us to talk at all. And they even criticized me
on air several times.
And then we helped–me and my organization, we helped
Senator Tom Coburn, and we reviewed some of the programming,
and we helped them about monitoring the programs, and we
collected a lot of facts. And in 2008, September 2008, finally,
with the help of Senator Tom Coburn, the inspector general
investigated the Voice of America Persian Service. And thanks
God that management of Persian Service, they were removed, but
nothing changed. The same people, they came to the power again,
and for next 2 years again that was the same problem.
And then we had briefing on February 23, 2010, in House,
and the Congressman Trent Franks after briefing told me–asked
me about the U.S. taxpayers and some type of watchdog on Voice
of America Persian Service, and I said you don’t have anything.
And then he said, okay, I will write a letter to President
Obama, and I ask my colleagues to sign this letter. And he send
this letter with 69 signatures to President Obama. And then
after maybe 2 months, the second layers of the management of
Persian Service, they were removed. But the problem was still
And then we had several meetings with Governor Enders
Wimbush. And again, thanks God, he came to the power, and the
new governors, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, and with
their great experience, and we could see some hope about the
And then we started to talking with the Congressmens, and
we had several meetings with you, Mr. Chairman, and with
Congressman Ted Poe, Congressman Ed Royce, and Congressman Ted
Deutch, and several Congressmen and Senators. And we discussed
the issue, and we realized the problem is, first, not following
the BBG and VOA mission by VOA Persian and Radio Farda. They
changed the mission on their Web site. You can right now look
at the Voice of America Persian Service, and you can see
clearly they changed the mission by themselves. And the mission
on BBG Web site is to promote freedom and democracy, and on the
Persian Web site is our only duty is to report the news. This
is not the mission. They changed the mission. And please find,
Mr. Chairman, who changed this mission and who asked when they
should follow this one.
And also, the second problem is broadcasting anti-American
messages regularly without balance. We will give you, Mr.
Chairman, a lot of facts and date and document about this with
the document; and wasting money for unnecessary traveling and
Four, nepotism. It is not hard to find a lot of family
members and friends as an employee of Voice of America. And you
can find mother and daughter and father, all of them, working
together. And it is a lot of family business over there. It is
really easy to find and investigate these things.
And also favoritism, number 5.
And 6, lack of background check. Again, give you several
examples about the people without any background check. They
came directly from Islamic Republic. They worked for state TV
in Iran. Ms. Mana Rabeei, last year March 17, 2010, she asked
Congressman Ed Royce about the sanction of the Revolutionary
Guard. And she said, why do you want to put sanction on
Revolutionary Guard; you can’t do that because they are
protecting the Iranian people. And then we realize that 3 days
after Neda was killed, she produced a video for the state TV in
Iran, and she was working at that time for the Press TV in
Iran, and she produced that video to tell the people how much
the messages are the great people. And it is not hard to just
Google her name and see who is this lady.
And lack of oversight and supervision, number 7.
Eight, misusing the power of media to support the political
views of its employees.
Nine, boycotting and even slandering people they don’t
agree with. Our organization is one of the best examples for
And 11, not supporting and criticizing the U.S. policy.
And 12, acting as a political party that shores up those
with similar points of views and tries to weaken others.
And 13, misusing VOA to support their—-
Mr. Rohrabacher. Mr. Fakhravar, is that the last one?
Mr. Fakhravar. I am so sorry. It is the end of it. And you
know my English is not so good.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Your English is great.
Mr. Fakhravar. Just give me 1 more minute.
Mr. Rohrabacher. You are over. But I do want you to ask you
to reread one part. What was it you read? The change that took
place in the mission statement. Could you reread that for me,
please, and where you found that?
Mr. Fakhravar. It is on BBG’s Web site. You can find the
mission is to promote freedom and democracy and to enhance
understanding through multimedia communication of accurate,
objective, and balanced news, and to tell the truth about the
United States. And they change it to, our only duty is to
report the news. You can find it really easy on the top of the
Persian Web site.
Mr. Rohrabacher. When did that–report the news–when did
that change of mission take place?
Mr. Fakhravar. 6 years ago. And they put this one as a
mission on the top of their—-
Mr. Rohrabacher. Okay. So 6 years ago it went from
promoting freedom and democracy to basically report the news.
Mr. Fakhravar. Only report the news.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Okay. Got it. All right. Thank you very
[The prepared statement of Mr. Fakhravar follows:]
[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]
Mr. Rohrabacher. We have a couple more witnesses, and then
we will get to our questions and answers. And I am going to
have to–Mr. Zhou.
STATEMENT OF SHIYU ZHOU, PH.D., VICE PRESIDENT, NEW TANG
Mr. Zhou. Chairman Rohrabacher, Ranking Member Carnahan and
members of the committee, thank you for inviting me to join you
Since the mid-1980s when waves of immigrants came abroad
from China, Beijing had been concerned about communication
between the overseas Chinese and those on the mainland. Surveys
have shown that Chinese living outside China still rely heavily
on Chinese-language media as their information sources. As a
result, people have seen over the past two decades the
aggressive efforts made by the Chinese Government to expand the
global presence of its own media and control the existing
overseas Chinese media.
For example, CCTV’s Chinese service alone is on 26
satellites around the world. Eight of them are over North
America, including the DirecTV and Dish Network satellites. In
the U.S., CCTV channels are carried by all major cable and
direct-to-home satellite TV systems in both Chinese and English
languages. In the meantime, using a vigorous campaign over the
past two decades to infiltrate and influence third-party
Chinese media, and at the same time suppress independent voices
in the Chinese community, the Chinese Government has by and
large successfully controlled the overseas Chinese-language
media market and manipulated public opinion among the overseas
But Beijing’s propaganda machine would rarely pass up a
chance to rouse Chinese nationalism, sometimes mixed with anti-
American sentiments. Just months ago the Chinese media under
Beijing’s control have successfully convinced many Chinese
Americans that the ongoing inflation in China was caused by
some plots of the U.S. Government, including Federal Reserve’s
QE2, to transfer the U.S. problems to China.
The Chinese-language media market has become very unique in
the sense that one can hardly hear a different voice,
especially on those sensitive issues most challenging to the
Chinese Government. A free media in Chinese language should
take up the social responsibility to be an alternative voice
for the Chinese audience; however, sometimes when I read
reports on those challenging issues by some U.S. Government-
funded media, the reports repeated in great lengths rhetoric of
the Chinese Government officials. I doubt people in China take
great risks to break through the censorship to read or watch
those reports just to find out what the Chinese Government’s
The damage this kind of reporting may cause to the Chinese
audience could be much greater than that of the Chinese
Government’s own media, since the Chinese audience had hope and
trust in such supposedly alternative voice.
Next I will use New Tang Dynasty Television, NTD, as an
example to speak about the challenges facing independent
Chinese-language media today. NTD was established in 2001 after
September 11th by a group of Chinese American media
professionals, Wall Street investors and people in academia. At
the time they were disappointed how Chinese-language media
reported on the terrorist attacks and realized the importance
of having an American media broadcasting in Chinese language
that reflects American values and journalistic standards, and
hence NTD came into being.
Over the past 9 years, NTD as a nonprofit media has grown
to become a global television network with reporters in over 50
cities around the world today and broadcasts globally via
satellite, cable and the Internet. Just over the Internet
alone, more than 1 million visitors from mainland visits the
NTD Web site every month, using Internet anticensorship
software such as FreeGate and UltraSurf.
However, NTD’s development has necessarily become a threat
to Beijing’s heavy-handed grip on media. Thus, over the years,
the Chinese Government has launched an aggressive and
relentless campaign to silence NTD.
Insiders have revealed that CCTV has made some major U.S.
cable and satellite TV companies accept its lucrative business
deals in exchange with the condition that these companies need
to get CCTV’s approval to add any additional Chinese-language
channel to their broadcast platforms. Its target is NTD. As a
result, NTD has suffered discrimination by and being excluded
from many broadcast platforms in the U.S.
In May 2004, in partnership with Eutelsat, a Paris-based
satellite company, NTD launched the very first 24/7 uncensored
Chinese-language satellite broadcast into China. Within a year
Eutelsat was under Beijing’s business pressure and intended to
drop NTD. Then BBG and the U.S. Congress supported Eutelsat to
resist Beijing’s pressure and brought VOA television service to
the same satellite used by NTD, which comprised a protection
umbrella for this open satellite window to China.
So Eutelsat continued to carry NTD and some other NGO
broadcasters for 3 more years. However, it was unfortunate that
in 2008, for some reasons, BBG moved VOA from Eutelsat to a
Chinese Government-controlled satellite. Then Eutelsat shut
down the open satellite window 2 months before the Beijing
In the 21st century today, the Internet and satellite TV
have become the two most important high technologies to tear
down the censorship wall of the closed societies like China.
According to official surveys, there are hundreds of millions
of Internet users as well as satellite TV viewers in China. The
user bases of different technologies in China seem vastly
different. It would be important that we keep the door open for
not only the Internet users, but also the satellite TV viewers
in China to have free access to uncensored information.
The past experience have shown that without the support of
the U.S. Government, no satellite companies in the world can
resist the threat and the lucrative business deals of Chinese
Communist Government to allow an uncensored TV channel to
broadcast to China on their satellites.
It has been proven that BBG’s Chinese-language service
would be able to play another critical role consistent with the
U.S. national interest and commitment to freedom. It can create
a protection umbrella on the satellites it uses for China so
that it allows other U.S. independent Chinese-language
broadcasters to lease channels on the same satellite to
broadcast to the same target audience. This by far appears to
be the only hope to create a protective platform for all
independent Chinese-language broadcasters to reach the vast
satellite TV audience in China.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Zhou follows:]
[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]
Mr. Rohrabacher. We have two more witnesses, and then we
are going to questions and answers.
We have been joined by Mr. Rivera from Florida. Thank you
very much. Also a new Member of the Congress, so we welcome you
to the committee and to Capitol Hill.
Our next witness will be Dr. John Lenczowski.
STATEMENT OF JOHN LENCZOWSKI, PH.D., PRESIDENT, INSTITUTE OF
Mr. Lenczowski. Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Carnahan and
members of the committee, I am honored to have the opportunity
to contribute to Congress’ deliberations on a matter of vital
importance to our national security. I would like to begin by
arguing why Internet broadcasting is so strategic, and then
make some recommendations concerning current policy. These
remarks are a summary of my prepared statement, which I would
like to submit for the record, please.
Mr. Rohrabacher. So ordered, without objection.
Mr. Lenczowski. Thank you.
International broadcasting is such an important instrument
of U.S. foreign and national security policy that a strong case
can be made that it played a more strategically decisive role
in bringing down the Soviet empire than any other instrument of
Broadcasting is the only means by which the U.S. can
provide unfiltered information to hundreds of millions of
people around the world who are denied access to a free press
and to other media. Those tyrannical regimes that control
information tend to be more aggressive and hostile to U.S.
vital interests than other kinds of political order. Complete
control over the media and their message enable such regimes to
establish political conformity and a psychological sense of
futile resignation among the people when it comes to resisting
The rise of the Internet cell phones and other modern media
has made communication of the truth, particularly among
resistance forces, more possible than ever before.
But although broadcasting appears antediluvian in
comparison, it possesses key properties that remain decisive
and are even superior to modern digital technologies in a key
respect: It is able to reach millions of people with
instantaneous unfiltered information even faster than viral
communications that remain vulnerable to tyrannical State
control and manipulation. It remains the only method of
reaching many large populations in the world and an essential
compliment to reaching those who do have access to digital
Broadcasting combats tyranny’s attempts to atomize and
demoralize society. It connects America with oppressed people.
It encourages and inspires them, making them feeling as though
they are not alone. It enables us to have relations with
millions of people and not just governments.
If those long-distance relations are well managed, we gain
sympathizers, allies, and even intelligence sources. And if
people living in a theater of war like Afghanistan understand
the motivations underlying the presence of our troops in their
country, they are less likely to be hostile.
So what is wrong today? Public diplomacy and international
broadcasting have suffered from significant neglect at the
national strategic level. This has resulted in inadequate
national strategic coordination; funding that is inadequate to
meet the strategic need; resource allocation among the
broadcasters that does not adequately reflect national
strategic priorities; removing entire language services from
the Voice of America in the absence of serious national
integrated strategic deliberation and coordination; the
conflation of the VOA mission with the mission of the freedom
broadcasters, such as RFE/RL; this conflation has resulted in
misguided attempts to avoid so-called duplication of, say, a
Chinese service in the VOA and the Chinese service in Radio
Free Asia when the two services have distinct and intrinsically
valuable missions; the failure to protect against the
penetration of various language services by agents of influence
from target countries; and the failure to monitor the quality
and balance of programming to ensure high journalistic
standards and compatibility with U.S. national interests.
Unfortunately, these consequences arise when the governance
of the broadcasters is not part of an integrated national
strategy. The fact that the Secretary of State is a BBG member
appears to have little effect on many board decisions. This is
due to the historic pattern of an almost complete lack of
attention to broadcasting policy within the State Department.
Ensuring that broadcast programming serves U.S. foreign policy
interests is extremely difficult, given the BBG structure,
which suffers from an absence of truly accountable executive
The absence of serious executive responsibility means that
some of the most vexing challenges that have historically faced
our international broadcasters have gone unaddressed. Prominent
among these have been the ideological and factional struggles
within the various language services. The task of balancing and
managing such factionalism is a very hard thing. It may be the
hardest thing in the U.S. Government to manage. But it is made
all the more difficult by the vulnerability of these language
services to the penetration by foreign agents of influence,
whose activities can sabotage huge parts of our broadcasting
Given the many problems faced by these most important of
national institutions, I believe that the following reforms are
necessary. And I am going to begin with macro reforms and get a
little bit more specific.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Can you summarize those?
Mr. Lenczowski. Yes. Very quickly, public diplomacy needs
to be raised to the highest level of national strategic
attention. I believe we have to create a new U.S. public
diplomacy agency, which would be much more than an information
agency. It would comprise all the major public diplomacy
functions of the government, including the State Department,
USAID, Peace Corps and BBG. And I believe that 50 percent of
all nonpolitical ambassadorships should come out of that
agency, and then you will see a rejiggering of the incentive
structure in U.S. foreign policy so that the State Department
will start taking public diplomacy seriously again.
The services of the BBG should be divided into two
categories; one under the VOA umbrella and another under the
freedom broadcasters umbrella. Each would have their own
director. Radio Sawa and TV Alhurra, for example, should be
placed under the freedom broadcasters umbrella. And the Arabic
service, which was shut down in a fit of absence of mind,
should be restored to the Voice of America. The Chinese service
should not be gutted at the VOA. It should be preserved and
strengthened. Disbanding it, in my view, is the height of
irresponsibility, given the rise of China’s power, its
manipulation of the media that we have just heard, its
espionage efforts in this country, its military build-up, its
increasing territorial claims and so on and so forth.
Then the BBG should cease to have any executive power. It
should serve the role formerly served by the Board for
International Broadcasting; namely, it should be a programming
oversight board. Here is where the bipartisan composition of
that board can really make a difference. The executive director
of that board would hire independent language-fluent scholars
to do systematic program reviews to test for propagandistic
content and so on and so forth. All broadcast services should
be subjected to background checks by counterintelligence
Mr. Rohrabacher. And finally?
Mr. Lenczowski. Yes. And finally, Congress should consider
combining all foreign affairs spending with the defense budget
into a so-called defense and foreign affairs budget so that
America can fund the nonmilitary elements of our national
defense at levels commensurate with national strategic needs.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Lenczowski follows:]
[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]
Mr. Rohrabacher. Thank you.
Dr. Lenczowski, it is very difficult for a Ph.D. to get
this down to 5 minutes.
But how about Robert Reilly, who has more of a journalistic
background, can you meet your deadline in 5 minutes today?
STATEMENT OF MR. ROBERT REILLY, FORMER DIRECTOR, VOICE OF
Mr. Reilly. Yes. Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Carnahan,
members of the committee, thank you very much for this
You are not going to get an awful lot of traction with your
constituents by paying serious attention to these issues. But
if you get them right, you are going to save American lives.
And I thank you for the attention you are bringing to this. I
would like to submit my extended critique of public diplomacy
for the record.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Without objection.
Mr. Reilly. And restrict myself to–at least when I went
over them last night, they were 5 minutes of remarks with a red
California Zinfandel. I will try to replicate this, albeit—-
Mr. Rohrabacher. It started 30 seconds ago.
Mr. Reilly. Indulge me in an imaginative exercise. If we
were setting up a broadcasting service for the U.S. Government
from scratch today, we probably would want to focus on the 10
most important countries and language groups in the world. In
our hemisphere, say Brazil, the largest country, biggest
economy; in Eurasia, certainly Russia; to the south, China; to
the southeast, India; in the Near East, certainly the Arabic
world. Our mission would be to tell these countries and
audiences who we are, what we are doing, and why. If we want
the world to be reasonable, we had better give it our reasons.
We might, in other words, create the Voice of America,
whose purpose, by charter, is to do these very things. Now if
an outside observer looked at what has happened to VOA over the
last 10 years, he might discern a pattern that broadcasting to
the largest, most important countries of the world has been
eliminated. Portuguese to Brazil, gone. Hindi to India,
eliminated. Arabic to the Arabic world, ended and replaced by a
pop music station. Russian, eliminated. And now the Chinese
service is on the block for extinction in all but its Internet
presence, which is blocked.
The pattern is clear but the purpose is not. Why have we
done this to ourselves? The excuse 10 years ago or more was
that history had ended in the sense that the model of the
democratic constitutional free market political order stood
undisputed in its moral authority. But 10 years ago, at the
price of 3,000 American lives, we found out this was not true.
Why then are we continuing on this path? Economic
considerations might be one explanation, but they can’t account
for 10 years of this behavior. The elimination of Chinese VOA
radio and TV broadcasting in Mandarin will save $8 million but
lose an audience of at least 6 million. Do we need no longer
explain ourselves to the world? Do we no longer need to give it
Be sure that others are willing to give reasons for us. I
invite you to the coverage of Chinese state media of U.S.
policy in Libya today. If that is the way we would like the
Chinese to learn about what we are doing, we seem to be on that
The BBG rebuttal might be that we are keeping Radio Free
Asia Chinese service, albeit diminished, and the VOA Web site.
However, the Internet is highly vulnerable, and surrogate radio
broadcasting, as very valuable as it is in itself, does not
have the mission of explaining who we are, what we are doing,
and why we are doing it. One of my predecessors, Geoff Cowan,
told me that in meeting with foreign ministry officials in
Beijing, they told him that the first thing they did every
morning was tune to the Voice of America because they needed to
know what the United States was thinking. They would not tune
into RFA to learn that for the very good reason that its
mission is to tell the Chinese about China, not about us.
This brings me to the most likely explanation for the
elimination of VOA’s services to the most important countries
in the world, a loss of the sense of mission. The loss began
with the end of USIA when USG broadcasting was placed under the
BBG. As the BBG consists of eight CEOs, it is no wonder that
confusion ensued. Rome had troubles with only two pro councils.
Imagine the mess if they had eight. Very importantly, most BBG
members have been highly accomplished individuals who made
their fortunes in private sector media. They, therefore, sought
to replicate their success according to commercial criteria.
This meant large youth audiences and abandoning markets in
which such audiences could not be attracted. Who listens came
to be less important than how many listened or to what.
The diminished mission became news, not the full service
radio that VOA offered, which also presented and explained U.S.
policy, but news. Play music for 40 minutes an hour on Radio
Sawa, if you must, so long as they listen to the news. After
all, said the BBG chief of staff in 2008, “It is not in our
mandate to influence.” The new BBG chairman, Mr. Isaacson,
said in a recent Alhurra broadcast that “we just want to get
good news, reliable news, and credible information out.”
Reliable news was always part of U.S. broadcasting, but the
mission was never reduced to just that.
When the Dalai Lama called the VOA Tibetan service “the
bread of the Tibetan people” and when Aung San Suu Kyi called
the Burmese service “the hope of the Burmese people,” do you
think they were referring to the news?
Hope is a theological virtue. It is not engendered by news.
The Declaration of Independence was not a news release or
I think the United States has enduring interests in the
world. I think we need to explain ourselves in the most
persuasive way and by the most effective means, particularly to
those peoples and countries whose futures are going to most
affect our future. I think we need to begin again to think
through to whom we should be broadcasting about what and with
what. I think this needs to be done within the U.S. Government
in a command structure related to our national security and not
by an independent part-time board.
Failure to do this will be paid, I am afraid, in American
lives. Better to win the war of ideas than have to win a war.
That is simple economics. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Reilly appears in the
Mr. Rohrabacher. Thank you very much.
And I appreciate all the witnesses today.
As I said before he got here, Russ, that I would be keeping
the tradition that we started with what they call “The Bill
and Dana Show,” Bill Delahunt and Dana Rohrabacher, when Bill
was the chairman. We want people to be able to get to the heart
of the matter and to ask as many questions as is necessary and
not to let the 5-minute clock, which we would like to bring it
under, get in the way of actually seeking answers and getting
to the proper questions.
And what I intend to do now is to–because the ranking
member does have something to do in about a half an hour, I
thought that we would let him go first into questioning. So you
And I am going to let our new freshman take over the chair
for about 5 minutes, and we will go from there.
Mr. Carnahan. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you to the panel. You really covered a lot of items
here, and I want to try to jump into a few follow-up questions.
Let me start with the last witness first.
And the chairman mentioned your background, working during
the 1980s with regard to the former Soviet Union. I wanted you
to compare the public and cultural diplomacy work that the U.S.
engaged in then with the work today in Iran in terms of what
worked, what didn’t. You know, where you see similarities,
where you see differences.
Mr. Lenczowski. Congressman, I presume you are asking me
about this because I worked on the Soviet Union.
Mr. Carnahan. Yes.
Mr. Lenczowski. I think that it was vitally important
that–I believe the radios–there were many different public
diplomacy vehicles with the peoples of the Soviet empire.
However, many of the traditional instruments, such as
exchanges, which we tried to do, certain kinds of cooperative
agreements, visitors programs and so on and so forth were
What was successful about our public diplomacy programs in
the Cold War was that they helped, first of all, to combat the
atomization of society. In a society like that, atomization is
created where nobody can trust anybody else. And this is
because of the pervasive network of informants, secret police
and so on and so forth. And so the individual is left alone
against the all powerful State.
And what broadcasting did, whether it was news, whether it
was even music that could uniquely be heard, say, over Radio
Free Europe rather than, let’s say, Warsaw one and Warsaw two
is that secret listeners who would sometimes risk their lives
or risk being severely punished for being caught listening
would hear something like that–a wonderful story is a guy who
got on a bus in Warsaw and started whistling a song that he
heard over Radio Free Europe that you couldn’t hear anywhere
else. And then somebody else 10 seconds later started whistling
with him and somebody else 10 seconds later. Pretty soon, the
whole bus was whistling it. They all looked at each other. They
said, we are all secret listeners, and there is more of us than
there is of them. And they could start establishing
relationships of trust.
The radios–when Vaclav Havel came, the first president of
post-Soviet Czechoslovakia, post-Communist Czechoslovakia, came
he didn’t come to the Department of State to thank them for all
the negotiations and the arms control agreements. He went to
the VOA and thanked them for keeping their national flame
alive. The VOA was giving them history programs that restored
the national memory that the regime was trying to flush down
George Orwell’s memory hole. And by destroying the national
memory, they would try to change the national identity in order
to create their new Soviet man, their new Communist man.
So, then, the radio supplied alternative ideas. They
supplied religious programming, real religious programming,
services of many different faiths. It wasn’t a violation of the
First Amendment to do that. And then they gave real information
to expose the lies of the regime. And one of the great
techniques of the dissident movements inside those countries
was to try to tell the truth one day at a time and not repeat
any of the official lies of the regime.
Solzhenitsyn said that when the lie–the daily force
feeding of the steady diet of lies was the single most
oppressive thing about life in that type of a political system,
and that when the lie fastens its claws around your neck, it is
not only a political act; it is an attack on your very human
And so these people thirsted for the truth more than they
thirsted for food or the basics of life. Solzhenitsyn said that
the power that resides in the airwaves, what we are talking
about today, to kindle the human spirit is beyond the scope of
the Western imagination. This is how it can be the bread for
Tibet, the hope for Burma, and it is the hope for all of these
people in China. This is a tonic–it is a gift that we give
these people of incomparable magnitude.
And I don’t remember the numbers today. But when I start
thinking about economies and saving money in this business, at
its zenith, the VOA had a budget that was the equivalent cost
of five F-15 aircraft and that was the time when we were
ordering 900 F-15s. This is cheap stuff we are talking about.
Probably the single most cost-effective instrument of American
national power, especially in dealing with these people.
When the instantaneity of information was huge, when you
get a signal into a region, people have incentives to order
resistance groups. If there is no signal, there is no incentive
to organize the resistance group. This is because if they know
they can get an underground line of communication to the
headquarters of some of our radios, then if there is a strike,
a civil disturbance or something like that, which is normally
crushed. But part of the crushing involves cutting off all
This is what happened with the Solidarity Trade Union
strikes in 1980. They cut down all communications to the city,
and they said that the hurricane blew down the telephone lines.
But the Solidarity strikers had an underground line of
communication to Munich to the RFE/RL headquarters, and within
a matter of hours, the fact of the strike was broadcast to
millions of Poles.
The normal modus operandi is, crush the strike; and then if
the rest of the people learn about it, they have learned about
it weeks or months later, and the news is that the strike was
crushed. But here, the news is, you can join it while it is
still going. This is a huge threat to the—-
Mr. Carnahan. Thank you for the great historical
perspective that you bring to that and lessons I think that are
very valuable in looking at what we are doing right now.
I wanted to turn to our witness Mr. Wimbush from the BBG to
talk about what you mentioned, you had explained and that is
why the shift of resources from VOA to RFA, how much of the
population do you expect to reach via shortwave radio through
RFA? And is the trend line that we can expect BBG to defund
shortwave radio in China and other countries? What can we
Mr. Wimbush. Thank you, Mr. Ranking Member.
Let me begin answering that by stating that the BBG in
making this realignment did not plan to make it easier on
Chinese authorities. In fact, we planned to make it more
difficult for them. We think the realignment of platforms
tracks with good common sense, good strategy, and good
budgeting, and I will tell you why.
In 2006, 24 percent of Chinese owned and used radios for
news and information. In 2009, only 8 percent of adults were
weekly radio listeners. That is a drop of one-half since 2007.
With regard to shortwave–and the research and surveys we have
got–these are not just ours. These are from the BBC from
Deutsche Welle from Radio France International, from other
radio broadcasters as well. Ownership and use of shortwave
radio is in dramatic decline everywhere. Now, I am not saying
we are going out of the shortwave business, and I will come
back and give you specific examples of that in just a moment.
The BBG’s and others, 2010 showed that only 0.1 percent of
Chinese listened to the Voice of America in Mandarin. Only 0.4
percent reported listening to any shortwave broadcast in any
previous week. Survey results showed hardly any acknowledged of
listening to an international broadcast.
But in contrast, the trend for use in the Internet and
mobile technology is increasing rapidly. China today has the
largest number of Internet users in the world. The growth of
mobile technology will offer additional means for content
delivery to Chinese audiences; 75 percent or more of Chinese
mobile subscribers are projected to have access to the Internet
within 5 years. By 2015, more than 550 million people are
projected to have 3G subscriptions in China.
From a recent survey by the OpenNet Initiative Citizen
Lab’s report from MIT, it concludes that as of 2008, Chinese
Internet users had grown 42 percent year over year, 42 percent
year over year; 90 percent of these have broadband access.
There are about 600 million cell phone users currently. Here is
a critical piece: Although the rural-urban divide remains
substantial, at the end of 2008, rural Internet users,
according to the MIT survey, made up almost a third of the
entire online population, a jump of over 60 percent. And this
was driven by a policy goal that every village has access to
the telephone and every township has access to the Internet by
Expansion of infrastructure development has given access to
92 percent of the townships already. Web site registrations
grew 91.4 percent since 2007. Almost a third participate in
online chats. If you look at this strategically as somebody who
is trying to make it more difficult for the Chinese to filter
the flow of information to their own population, it is not–one
can debate the merits of different approaches, but the long-
term approach is pretty clear. The Internet, which can be
filtered, is going to play an increasingly important role.
Shortwave, which can be totally blocked, is going to play a
less important role. That is just the way it is going all over
When we announced this realignment, it became almost an
urban legend that the BBG was proposing to go out of the
shortwave business. We are not proposing to go out of the
shortwave business. We have a weekly listenership of about 165
million; 38 million of those listen in shortwave, some
exclusively in shortwave. And they are in critical target
audiences: Burma, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, North Korea. We
are not going to touch any of those. We are not going anywhere
The realignment was intended to take advantage, to get
scarce resources into exploiting this burgeoning digital
technology as best we can while maintaining our legacy
shortwave broadcast capabilities to the extent that we feel
that that is justified. We think that we have got the balance
about right. I am sure we are going to be debating it a lot
But the reality is, we are not going out of shortwave in
China. We are going heavily into digital because that is where
the audience is and particularly that is where the demographic
is that we seek to reach.
And I agree totally with Bob Reilly on this, although I
would dispute the idea that we are necessarily going to lose 6
million listeners. That assumes that none of them are going to
tune in to VOA on the Internet or to Radio Free Asia, which has
Internet capabilities as well. Thank you.
Mr. Rohrabacher. I would like to just follow up to that. Is
it possible for a government to track down who is listening to
a shortwave broadcast? Is it possible for a government to track
down someone who is involved in an Internet exchange? I think
the answer to the first one, I believe, is no. And I believe
that the answer to the second question is yes, thus what we are
saying is, we are eliminating the communications channel that
cannot be traced, and we are depending on the channel that can
Mr. Wimbush. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I am glad you brought that up because it raises a very
important point. I think you are probably correct on the first
part that it is very hard to track who is listening in
shortwave, if they can receive the shortwave.
However, it is not always the case that you can track who
is listening on the Internet. One of the BBG’s most important
efforts here is in the anti-Internet circumvention
technologies, which we are deeply involved in. This is a
network of proxy servers, which obliterates the identification.
Mr. Rohrabacher. All right. Well, let me yield one more
question to my ranking member. But let’s just note I am on the
Science Committee, and one of the things I know about is the
Chinese are investing heavily in how to track people on the
Internet and some of our Internet CEOs have shown their
dedication to democracy by helping them out.
Mr. Carnahan. My last question I wanted to direct to Deputy
Assistant Secretaries Stout and Dibble and to really follow up
on this very issue with regard to Internet censorship by both
the Iranian and the Chinese Governments. I would like you to
talk about the most effective form of public diplomacy in your
respective regions and also what steps are being taken to
counter some of this Internet censorship.
Mr. Dibble. I will start, if it is okay. Thank you for your
First, with respect to Internet censorship, this takes us
from the issue of public diplomacy and public communication
into I think an area the chairman referred to earlier, namely
support for freedom and democracy in, in my case, Iran. It is
absolutely true that the Iranian authorities make enormous
efforts and have developed sophisticated means to try and find
out first to block access to Internet sites, find out who is
visiting and to interfere with the ability of average Iranians
to use the Internet to communicate with one another and to
The State Department is investing heavily itself in ways to
combat that. One of those is the kind of circumvention
technology that Mr. Wimbush mentioned. But it is also important
that, as the chairman pointed out, to recognize that people who
use the Internet can be tracked. Therefore, they need not just
the ability to access certain Web sites, but they need the
ability to protect themselves as they do that, and they need
the ability to hide, essentially, whatever they have downloaded
from the authorities who may be seeking it.
It is that kind of not just technology but training in
security practices and other similar aspects of the portfolio
that the State Department is working on. So that is sort of
part of an answer to the first part of your question.
On the effective form of public diplomacy, I think we need
all of them, certainly with respect to Iran. We need to be able
to get our message across. We need to say, as Mr. Reilly
pointed out, what we stand for, what we are trying to do, how
we are trying to do it, what our objectives are.
We need to be able to demonstrate to the Iranian people
that we are not the great Satan, that there is value in people-
to-people exchanges between the United States and Iran and
that, for that reason, they need not to trust what the
government says about U.S. policies, at least begin to sell
some doubts about that.
And I think what we also need to do in order to accomplish
the objectives of Iran Freedom Support Act is to enhance the
ability of Iranians in Iran to reach out, not just to access
information but also to reach each other and to organize. I
think that is one of the lessons of Tahrir Square was the value
of the kind of technologies that the Egyptians used to
mobilize. That would be my answer.
Mr. Carnahan. And Ms. Stout.
Ms. Stout. Thank you, Congressman.
I would associate myself closely with my colleague’s
comments regarding Internet freedom and the Internet
circumvention technologies that the State Department has been
looking at and supports. With respect to public diplomacy in
China, our public diplomacy mission in China is our largest and
most robust. In terms of what is most effective, obviously, we
are dealing with, you know, an environment where we have
certain restrictions that we need to be mindful of. So,
therefore, our communication directly with the Chinese public
is, I would say, our most vital goal. We do so in a variety of
ways. The State Department and the Embassy run a number of
microblogs, Twitter feeds, that communicate with the Chinese
people through the social media platforms that we have in
indigenous Chinese languages.
We have over 400,000 Chinese followers on those blogs and
those Twitter feeds. That is our way of communicating directly
with the Chinese people about our values, our goals and our
U.S. policy interests.
In addition to that, we have, as I mentioned in my
testimony, a number of other programs that our mission in China
is actively engaged in. The 100,000 Strong program represents a
desire to correct a major imbalance in terms of the number of
U.S. students we are sending over to China. We would like our
next generation of leaders here in the United States to have a
better understanding of Chinese language and culture so that
they can come back here and be more competitive in their
We have a very robust speakers program that goes and
supports both the U.S. Government nonprofit private-sector
individuals to go to China, not just the urban centers but
outside into the rural centers, and promote democracy, civil
society, human rights, corporate social responsibility, a
number of things. And we feel that those are all elements of a
very strong public diplomacy program.
Mr. Carnahan. Thank you all very much.
Mr. Rohrabacher. And thank you, Mr. Carnahan.
And I know that, at some moment, you are going to have to
sneak out because you have another meeting, but we appreciate
your participation. I have got a few areas to cover, and I
don’t know if Mr. Rivera will be coming back, and so we will
make sure he gets a chance to ask some questions as well.
There are a number of issues that we need to discuss. Mr.
Zhou, am I pronouncing it correctly?
Mr. Zhou. It is more like “Joe.”
Mr. Rohrabacher. I am sorry. I really have trouble with
these. With a name like “Rohrabacher,” an American name like
Mr. Zhou, did I hear you right that you are saying that the
BBG uses a Chinese Government satellite?
Mr. Zhou. It is a satellite that is controlled by the
Chinese Government because China has the biggest share of that
satellite, and it is based in Hong Kong.
Mr. Rohrabacher. It is made in Hong Kong. Now is that
Mr. Wimbush. It is a satellite owned by an international
consortium of which the Chinese Government has a piece.
Mr. Rohrabacher. What kind of piece?
Mr. Wimbush. Not all of it, I can tell you that.
Mr. Rohrabacher. I didn’t say all of it. All you need is 51
percent, and that makes you, you own the pie. And of course,
some of the companies in Hong Kong that probably own the other
part of the pie rather than just the Chinese Government may,
well, be sympathetic, let’s say, to the regime. It sounds like
to me that if we are relying on that satellite, that is going
to make jamming easier and perhaps even the identification of
opposition easier, certainly easier than shortwave. Go ahead.
Mr. Wimbush. Mr. Chairman to my knowledge, that satellite
has not been jammed. One of the things that makes it harder to
jam for the Chinese is that General Electric and others are
part of the consortium. I mean, it is not total immunity.
Mr. Rohrabacher. I have got you. But I will have to admit,
I have been so impressed with America’s CEOs’ commitment to
democracy over my career. They have just rejected signing any
agreements with tyrants. You know, I remember when IBM rejected
their opportunity to deal with Adolf Hitler. And I remember
during the 1960s and 1970s, how our businessmen would refuse to
sell commodities to Russia when they were indeed–hell, I
remember all those things.
Oh, wait a minute. I am wrong. I was wrong about–my memory
must be slipping. The CEOs actually made deals with dictatorial
regimes before. Okay. Enough of that.
Let’s go into a little bit about China, and then we will do
a little bit about Iran. Let me suggest that I am a free
trader, which always disturbs people. But my motto is free
trade between free people. And what I think we have with China
is a one-way free trade, but we also have, consistent with
that, a one-way free information.
Do you recognize this paper? This is published by the
Communist Party of China. It is distributed widely. I think it
comes to every one of our governmental offices. Do we have a
similar publication that goes to the people who are in the
Mr. Wimbush. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Point very well taken. The Voice of America, Radio Free
Asia, whomever is dealing with China, cannot get access to
China. They won’t accredit our journalists. We have a single
office in Beijing, which is allowed no programming. They won’t
give us visas. We have not a single affiliate broadcast
relationship in China, which is the way normally you do it. You
beam something up to a satellite. You bring it down, and you
rebroad it cast it in F.M. Or A.M., which is the preferred
method of listening.
Meanwhile, the Chinese, as you have just pointed out, are
all over the world. If you think they are big in here and in
Galveston and in places like that, you should see them in
Africa. It is a huge investment going into the billions of
dollars. We are not challenging them with anything comparable
to that. And even more regrettable in my sense is that we are
not even challenging them seriously to get our own media access
to their market.
Mr. Rohrabacher. There you go. And let me just note that
this is totally consistent with the other type of negotiations
that we have with China. You know, we have sent Peewee Herman
over to do our negotiating when we should have sent Arnold
Schwarzenegger or somebody. The bottom line is that there are
negotiations on a number of issues in which we lose. We
basically accept giving the Chinese dictatorship what it wants.
I will go back to China in a moment.
But I would like to ask about Mr. Dibble’s point that the
majority of the Iranian people don’t like the United States, is
Mr. Dibble. No. They love us.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Maybe you could tell us a little bit. Here
is someone who went to jail there. In Mr. Dibble’s world–I am
sorry. I will let you comment on it. But I am taking it out of
context. But I seem to remember you saying in your testimony
that what you had found is that the Iranian people don’t like
the United States.
Mr. Fakhravar. And maybe the employees of Voice of America
Persian Service, yes, they don’t like America that much. But
about the Iranian people inside Iran, I am talking about the
more than 70 percent under the age of 35 and 81 percent under
the age of 40, they love the United States.
Mr. Rohrabacher. So we have a huge group of young people
who would be susceptible to our freedom message. And maybe, Mr.
Dibble, you could tell me why it is important that we broadcast
to those young people and put the Mullahs on to explain their
Mr. Dibble. Let me first correct what is clearly a
misimpression. What I said was that they don’t like U.S.
policies, not that they don’t like the U.S.
In fact, it is sort of a common place in Iran policy
circles has that Iran is the one country in the Middle East
where the people like us better than the government.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Well, let me note for the record that our
student leader here from Iran is shaking his head “no.” But
we will go right ahead.
Mr. Dibble. In any case, I think it is important for us to
broadcast to the younger generation in Iran because they–one,
it is the preferred means of getting news.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Right. And so how is us putting the
Mullahs directly on with them, how is that going to help us get
our message across?
Mr. Dibble. What we are proposing is not to put the Mullahs
Mr. Rohrabacher. Well, the Mullah spokesman on.
Mr. Dibble. To put our U.S. Government Persian-speaking
spokespeople onto Iranian media.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Okay. But you are not suggesting that we
have a spokesmen for the Mullahs being covered by our
Mr. Dibble. No, not at all. We are proposing to have our
Mr. Rohrabacher. Okay. Fine. I have heard criticism of that
in the past. So that isn’t happening.
Mr. Dibble. Certainly not in our plans.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Not what?
Mr. Dibble. It is not in our plans to do that. Our plan is
to put our guys—-
Mr. Rohrabacher. But is it happening now? It is not in our
plans to do something.
Mr. Dibble. Not that I am aware of.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Okay. Is anyone on the panel aware that we
have put the Mullah spokesman on? Because some people had come
to me with that charge.
Mr. Fakhravar. On Voice of America Persian Service, yes.
Sometimes there are some people from the inside government they
came to speak, and they had a super bad attitude with the host
and anchors, and it happened.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Okay. And to your knowledge, it is just
not a policy, but that just happened once or twice?
Mr. Dibble. As far as I know, yes.
Mr. Fakhravar. But it is not bad, Mr. Chairman. It can be.
But let us to have the ability to talk with them and make them
some balance. Maybe something. But it is not fair to boycott
the part, that it is the side of people and just give the other
part to speak.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Okay.
Mr. Dibble and Ms. Stout, is it your position that the
conflict between our countries is based on a misunderstanding
of our cultures of each other? Or that it is based on the fact
that the Chinese Government is the worst human rights abuser in
the world and it continues to put religious believers in jail
and murdering them, could that have something to do with the
fact–their basic value of their government political value
rather than all the other values of our cultural values?
From listening to your testimony, you seem to be saying
that it is a misunderstanding of their culture. And let’s have
a sports exchange. And you know Hitler had that really good. I
remember all these videos of, what, the 1936 Olympics, was it?
Is that your position, that we are talking about a
misunderstanding of culture?
Ms. Stout. No, sir. With respect to our relationship with
the People’s Republic of China, I think what I was trying to
say in my testimony was, in our communications directly with
the Chinese people, we would like to build a better
understanding of our values, of our way of life, of our
promotion of democracy. This is between the U.S. Government and
the people of China.
I do not dispute at all you know our–in terms of the human
rights abuses that the Government of China has engaged in, we
have been quite vocal about our concern. We raise our concerns
at the highest levels with the forced disappearances, the
arrests, the treatment of our journalists, people who come out
and speak up against repression. We have been very open and
candid with our Chinese interlocutors about this.
We do not hide the fact that this continues to be an
irritant in our relationship.
Mr. Dibble. And all the more true in the case of Iran.
This is not a question of cultural misunderstanding. We are
not shy at all about criticizing Iran’s human rights record,
and we have any number of strategic disagreements, disputes,
hostilities with respect to Iran.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Uh-huh.
Mr. Dibble. We do have an interest in ensuring that the
Iranian people continue to look to the United States as a
repository of the values that they have as distinct from their
own government. And I think much of our public diplomacy is
aimed at fostering that feeling. And to the extent that my
friend at the end of the table is correct, we have been
Mr. Rohrabacher. Okay. Well, let me ask someone who used to
be director of Voice of America, Mr. Reilly, his reaction to
what has been said, specifically in terms of China.
Mr. Reilly. Well, to China, I would like to–you held up a
Communist Party publication. I would like to quote from one,
too. May I? It is the Global Times, published by the People’s
Daily. And this is the reaction to the elimination of the VOA
TV and radio broadcasting service: “The cut demonstrates a
blow to the ideological campaign that certain countries have
waged for over half a century. Representative Dana
Mr. Rohrabacher. Uh-oh.
Mr. Reilly [continuing]. “California Republican whined
that the U.S. is cowing before China.” And you are quoted, Mr.
Chairman, as saying, “The Chinese people are our greatest
allies, and the free flow of information is our greatest
weapon,” with which I totally agree.
The article ends saying, “Their Chinese service is coming
to a historical end with their mission unfinished.”
At least I agree with that latter part. If I may respond to
a couple of things that my friend Enders Wimbush said, a person
whom I respect greatly. I don’t think we should be faced with
an either/or in broadcasting platforms.
If we see U.S. broadcasting as a national security asset,
it requires redundancy. If you can’t reach them one way, you
need to be able to reach them another. The Internet in China is
policed by hundreds of thousands of Chinese police and other
hundreds of thousands of Internet bloggers who write on behalf
of the government or the party. In 2009, in Xinjiang province,
the Chinese Government shut the Internet down completely for a
month, and they also eliminated international telephone service
for that month.
Shortwave broadcasting, I would dispute, despite the
enormous expense of jamming it on the coastal areas nonetheless
does get through. There are almost 1 billion people in China
without the Internet today. And if the choice were, we have to
get rid of one of these services, Radio Free Asia or the Voice
of America, why would you choose the service with the largest
audience and the service that is obligated to present who the
United States is, what it is doing, and the reasons for it?
Mr. Rohrabacher. Well, Mr. Wimbush’s argument is that it is
the most effective way to do it. And we will let him express
that and then Mr. Lenczowski will jump in.
Mr. Wimbush. With respect to my good friend Bob Reilly, who
is the smartest intellectual on public diplomacy anywhere and
the very best, and I seldom have a disagreement with him. But
when you are talking about the most popular versus the less
popular and the numbers are 0.1 percent and 0.3 or 0.4 percent,
there is not a whole lot to choose between them.
I personally like the idea of getting Radio Free Asia onto
the shortwave in prime times on the best frequencies because I
came out of a surrogate service–surrogate radio, and I know
how powerful those can be.
Clearly not everybody is going to get everything. And I
agree with Bob entirely. It is not an either/or situation, but
we haven’t proposed an either/or situation. We have proposed a
two-pronged situation. Can it be recalibrated? Can it be
adjusted? Yes. And it almost certainly will be. But it is
headed in the direction that the listenership is headed.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Dr. Lenczowski.
Mr. Lenczowski. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I wanted to add one point about the relationship between
our overall diplomatic approach to a place like China or Iran
and our very specific public diplomacy programs. I think that
the normal public diplomacy programs of the kind that Deputy
Assistant Secretary Stout has described are very useful in
order to try to promote American values.
But I also believe that when people are feeling oppressed
and when you have a country that has now had, as I understand
it, somewhere around 75,000 civil disturbances within the last
year or so throughout the country, people who feel oppressed
need to have some kind of sense of solidarity with those who
are free and who might be sympathetic with them. I would
venture to say, without the intent of embarrassing you in your
old role as a speechwriter for President Reagan, that
Presidential rhetoric was an enormous weapon of public
diplomacy in the Cold War and is highly relevant today to our
relations with tyrannical governments like the Chinese and the
Iranians. And this means our national leaders have to stop
censoring themselves with regards to the human rights
violations, the massive espionage operations, over 25,000
Chinese intelligence assets in the United States today, the
huge military build-up, you know, the continued existence of
the Laogai and all of these other things. And it was when
President Reagan started saying the truth about that they would
lie, that they would steal, they would you know commit any
crime to further the goals of communism, there is a lot that
American national leaders could be saying about China and could
certainly threaten to say in the course of trying to modulate
the tone of those relations when it comes to other diplomatic
Mr. Rohrabacher. And when the President of the United
States makes statements, it is a message to everyone else who
works within the executive branch as to what the policy will
I was honored to work with President Reagan who made no
beans about it what the Communist regime and the Soviet Union
was all about. And he also, I might add, when he went to China,
if you read his full speeches–and I helped work on them with
him–the freedom component is a very important part of his
speeches in China. I was just recently–when President Hu
visited, I asked Secretary of State Clinton whether or not the
issue of forced abortion, where we have millions upon millions
of women who are being forced to have their unborn babies
ripped from their bodies–we probably have the most wholesale
murder in the history of humankind, except maybe for the Jewish
Holocaust during World War II–was that mentioned at all? I
said, did that come up? And frankly, there was a promise to get
back to me and the administration never got back to me with an
answer, whether or not President Obama even mentioned it. Well,
when you have a–leadership will filter down, and what I am
afraid of and let’s just say, we will have many of these
hearings to find out what the real policy of our Government is.
I think we have had some very good testimony today.
Mr. Rivera is coming back.
Mr. Meehan, you have not had a can chance to comment and I
am going to give you a free hand. Here I am talking about my
views. And certainly, I want to give you a chance to get on the
record with yours.
Mr. Meehan. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I appreciate the opportunity. And we really appreciate at
the BBG the chance to focus in on things that we can do better
and things that we can work with you, the Congress, to improve
that and our colleagues in other government agencies.
But this BBG Board came about, this new Board–we all got
there in July. It is a part-time Board. I have a full-time job
that is something else. But we came here–so does the rest of
the Board actually, as does vendors.
And so I wouldn’t disagree with some of the comments that
sort of structural management issues need to be on the table,
but we are putting them on the table because I don’t think that
Michael Meehan should part-timely run a television station for
the U.S. Government. I shouldn’t. But are there things with the
kind of expertise that Enders Wimbush brings to the table
should be part of it? It should.
You asked at the beginning of your remarks that we have
asked for additional sums of money. Endersand I cochair the
budget committee, and we have gone through 75 of the 100
countries that we do services in now, and by June we will
finish all of them and ask what can we do better with the U.S.
taxpayers’ dollar. And each time they come back with this
program works, this one doesn’t work, this one should be
Now, I am very sympathetic to the short-wave, but if we
started the BBG today, and the Congress said, here is $110
million, would you put $100 million into short-wave and $10
million into the Internet when there is 235 million users of
the Internet in China? I am sympathetic about the tracing. But
the thing that our guys at the BBG do really well with a $1.5
million budget is figure out how to get around some of the
government censors in China, in Iran, in Cuba. You name the
place, they have figured it out. And with that little amount of
money, they have gotten to–10 million people have gotten
around these firewalls in these various places.
The State Department got $5 million recently from the
Congress they didn’t ask for. They sent us $1.4 million. As of
yesterday the BBG sent out to two companies–450 million people
use this Internet circumvention proxy for $1.4 million to get
around the firewall to go to Facebook, yes, but to go to also
VOA Persia, PNN.
So I am with you. I don’t think it is an either/or, because
in this changing technologies that we have, we have got to go
where people are and where they can hear us.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Thank you very much for that. And I
appreciate your contribution to this discussion. All of you
have made this.
We are going to ask Mr. Rivera to–and then I am going to
have a very short closing statement. But, Mr. Rivera, you may
Mr. Rivera. Thank you. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, all of you, for being here.
I recognize in the audience my former boss from my USIA
days, U.S. Information Agency. I worked at USIA for 9 years
under the auspices part of that time of Mr. Dick Lobo, a great
American, a great patriot, and a great broadcaster.
I see my good friend Bruce Sherman, and my former colleague
as well, very nice seeing you.
A couple of questions related to the international
broadcasting. And what I recall from my years in international
public diplomacy is the issue of surrogate broadcasting and the
surrogate mission. And I wonder–my understanding of the
surrogate mission, of course, is prioritizing information which
is denied to the people in indeed what I will call captive
nations by their captors, by the regime. Is that the–is that
priority still in play today in the mission with the China
service and with the Iran service? And I will go to Mr. Meehan
and Mr. Wimbush. The surrogate mission, is that still a
Mr. Wimbush. Yes. Thank you, Congressman. This is a very
good question. It is good because the answer to this is not as
crystal clear as it was 10 years ago or 15 or 20 years ago.
Let me put it this way: If you drive through almost any
part of the world today that has got reasonably free media,
take the Middle East, take Turkey, someplace like that, you can
go through any small town, look at any apartment building, and
you will see two or three satellite dishes on every balcony.
And that means that they are receiving 200 to 400 channels of
The idea that most people in the world are deficient in
information today can’t be sustained. There are some places
where they are totally deficient. Radio Free Asia is a perfect
example in our network of broadcasters of a totally surrogate
station. It does the information and the analysis and the
reporting on local events, local dynamics, local things of
importance that those people could expect to receive if they
had a free media of their own. The Office of Cuba Broadcasting
is another one, although it is beginning to loosen up.
But what we are beginning to see more and more is a kind of
hybridization. Some places get tons of information and still
don’t know how to process it very well. So our mission, in a
very funny sort of way, it comes back and focuses on precisely
where we were during the Cold War when we were a monopoly of
outsiders going in. It is creating the analytical context, the
larger picture, the larger view, which can help people take a
lot of information that might not mean something and stimulate
their critical thinking in ways that help them get to the right
decisions when the decision point comes. There is no better
example of this right now than the Radio Martis, which are
under–have been totally renovated and are really doing a
But to give you–I mean, to give you an idea of how complex
this is, TV Alhurra one thinks of as a global international
broadcaster. But what do we hear from the Alhurra audience? We
want you more local. We want you to be surrogate. In this
respect John Lenczowski is absolutely right. It is part of–it
is more part of the surrogate mission than it is of the other.
But it is not totally surrogate.
We are experimenting right now with creating an all-Egypt
stream. The station was developed as a Pan-Arab station. We are
in the process of developing an all-Egypt stream at this point,
and my guess is that we are going to go more and more in that
direction toward more local content.
So the idea of surrogate originally was give them what
their local media won’t give them. Today the idea of surrogate
is–in many places it is give them what the global media won’t
give them about themselves. So it is a difficult balancing act.
What this Board is attempting to do with its strategic
reviews and other things is to get away from the harsh
definition between official broadcasters like the VOA and
surrogate broadcasters like the “radio frees.” We are trying
to get audience-focused here. There are some audiences that
will take one kind of product, and other audiences will take a
different kind of product, and some that will take something
that looks a little bit like both.
But we are–John Lenczowski is absolutely right in pointing
out we have got a structural problem. We have got a structural
problem. You won’t find–as Michael said, we are prepared to
put these issues on the table. You won’t find a single member
of this Board who believes that the BBG is a particularly sharp
instrument and is necessarily the right instrument for this
highly complex media world with rapidly changing technologies.
Mr. Rivera. Well, that is going to happen maybe in a more
concise form. Let me use–in terms of your response, let me use
the example of OCB Radio and Martin Gutierrez as a template for
my question. Because in south Florida I can hear Cuban
Government broadcasts because they make efforts on media Wave
to broadcast into south Florida. And what Cuban Government
broadcasts entail are mainly the great production of the
harvest and the sugar and the great things that are going on in
So my question is when it comes to China or Iran from
Chinese broadcasters or the Iran broadcast services, is it a
priority to make sure that it is not just what the mullahs are
saying that is given to the audience, but what they are denied,
information that is denied to them domestically, domestic
information, what is going on, what is really going on in Iran
that the Iranian Government denies them, what is really going
on in China that the Chinese Government denies them, as well as
what is going on in the world that the Iranian and Chinese
Government deny their people? Is that a priority?
Mr. Meehan. It is a priority. But we are an agency that its
job is to be communications platform-neutral. And so if you
gave us a TV station in China, could we produce a great show?
Yes. If the Cuban Government let our TV show Radio/TV Marti be
seen, which probably it doesn’t–we know it doesn’t, very few
people see it–you would say yes.
Mr. Rivera. You have other ways of getting information out
of Iran and China. You don’t need to open a TV station in China
or a TV station in Iran or a TV station in Cuba to know that
there are political prisoners. You don’t need to open stations
in those countries to know that there is human rights abuses or
denials of civil liberties, or that there are no free
elections. You know that without having a physical presence in
those countries. Conveying that information, is that a priority
as a surrogate function today in 2011 for these stations?
Mr. Meehan. Yes. Every day, every day it is a top priority
to convey that information, that governments that don’t allow
the media to talk to their own people, we–no matter how we can
figure it out, Internet, radio, short-wave, medium-wave, FM,
AM, from another country, barring another country, off the top
of military towers, flying a plane over Libya today, we are
committed to putting out information that their governments
won’t tell them about.
Mr. Rivera. So the surrogate function.
Mr. Meehan. So the surrogate function.
Mr. Rivera. Now, you have heard–physically you have been
there listening inside knowing what these stations are
broadcasting. Do you believe from what you heard that the
surrogate function of these stations, which I believe is a
congressional mandate or mission, was a priority of the
Mr. Fakhravar. Without the surging service, the Voice of
America and Radio Farda, until now, no. But the good things
that Governor Meehan and Governor Wimbush they say, I agree
with them, because the day Governor Wimbush was appointed as a
Broadcasting Board of Governor, he did a great job. We had a
meeting, and I gave him some suggestion about how the problem
can be fixed. And he said, we need the watchdog, we need to
follow people. They can understand Farsi and English fully, and
they can prove their loyalty first to the United States, and
through BBG and VOA’s mission needs to promote freedom and
democracy first. And he said yes, and he started that mission.
And then they forced the Voice of America to have the new
manager. He is a great guy. He just came last month. He has
done a great job right now to clean up the Persian cities. We
need to have these things, to see these type of things in Radio
Farda, definitely. These two things, and rehiring the all the
employees that they came during last 5 years, 6 years, to just
check their background and their application again to see which
part of these people they lied, and it is a lot.
But I am sure the Governor Wimbush and the Governor Meehan
and the new BBG–I am talking about the new BBG because the old
BBG, I didn’t want to say the word terrible, but that was
terrible. The new one is doing a good job, and we hope–we need
them to follow the mission to promote freedom and democracy.
Mr. Rivera. And I agree with that. But the way my
understanding is, correct me if I am wrong, the way we promote
freedom and democracy in the national public diplomacy,
international broadcasting is by providing objective, balanced,
comprehensive information, news and information. And a
surrogate function, the objective, balanced, comprehensive
information, “balanced” means providing that information
denied to that audience by their own government.
That is how we promote freedom and democracy in terms of
the broadcasting function. And I want to know, I want to know
here today, that that surrogate function, providing that
audience the information and news that is denied to them by
their own government, that that is a priority of all the
broadcast services; that at least Voice of America, because
Voice of America has a different mission, the surrogate
function; the radio frees, the TV frees, that those have that
Mr. Wimbush. They do have priority, Congressman, absolute
priority. And I wouldn’t even call out the VOA here. The VOA
does a lot of this, too, a lot of it.
Mr. Rivera. But it is not country-specific. These are
country-specific. Information denied to those people in those
country, China, Iran, tell me that that is–let me know how
that is a priority.
Mr. Wimbush. It is. It is a huge priority. This is what
these radios were put in place to do. They were put in place to
do precisely this. There are services at the Voice of America
which one might even think of as surrogate services. The
Tibetan service, for example, it operates effectively like a
surrogate service. There are surrogate services at the Radio
Free Europe, Radio Liberty. OCB is almost entirely a surrogate
service. RFA, Radio Free Asia, is entirely a surrogate service
at this point.
The trick going forward is going be able to get inside this
larger universe of services, of providers, of capabilities and
adjust in the direction of audiences that might be changing.
And this is not an easy thing to do.
Mr. Rivera. I understand that. I just want to make sure the
message and the mission is adhering to that principle of
Mr. Wimbush. Absolutely.
Mr. Rivera. Do I have another moment?
Mr. Rohrabacher. You sure do. But we will be done here in
10 minutes, and the chairman needs at least 1.
Mr. Rivera. Okay. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Audience measurements, are you able to–how do we measure
audiences in what we continue to call captive audiences like
China or Iran–let us stick with China and Iran for now.
Mr. Wimbush. I really am not the person to speak to that.
But the person who can speak to it is sitting right behind me,
Mr. Rohrabacher. Oh, Bruce, okay.
Mr. Wimbush. He knows more about this than anybody else at
the BBG because he runs all of this.
Mr. Rivera. I would like to know if we can—-
Mr. Rohrabacher. Are you sure he is going to be the only
Mr. Wimbush. But what I would like to suggest, Congressman,
is if you use a very sweet tone, I will bet you Bruce will come
up and give you a full briefing on this.
Mr. Rivera. Will you tell me, we do try to measure
audience, but I understand it is very difficult to do so.
Mr. Wimbush. It is not just audience size, but the largest
contract the BBG lets across anything is its research and
audience development contract. It is about $50 million per 5
years, $10 million a year. Measuring audience size is fairly
simple in a lot of places; it is harder others.
Mr. Rivera. I want to stick to China and Iran, in closed
Mr. Wimbush. It is harder, it is harder. It can be done.
Mr. Rivera. Would you say it is imprecise?
Mr. Wimbush. I will let Bruce discuss measures.
Mr. Rivera. Well, these are societies that people live in
fear, so I would suspect it is very imprecise to determine
audiences in captive nations where countries are living in
fear. If I go back to the Radio Free Europe, my understanding
is irrespective of those efforts to measure audiences in these
countries, we continued to broadcast behind the Iron Curtain
notwithstanding the fact that we could not necessarily
determine the audience during the Cold War. And probably today
as well we cannot determine in China or Iran the audience size.
Would you agree with that, Mr. Reilly?
Mr. Reilly. Absolutely.
Mr. Rivera. Well, then, let me ask you this, because we
have a colleague of mine who recently issued a dear colleague
letter saying that Radio/TV Marti should be shut down because
the audience levels are low. And my recollection is that in a
closed society where people live in fear of opining on
anything, like China and Iran and Cuba, you cannot utilize an
audience survey to justify the continuation of broadcast
services to these closed societies. And I would like to know
who would agree with that, Mr. Reilly, Mr. Meehan, Mr. Wimbush?
Mr. Rohrabacher. Well, if the gentleman would hold just a
moment. I think the point you are making is that if you live in
a dictatorship like Cuba, if you get a phone call and say, do
you listen to Radio Marti—-
Mr. Rivera. You are going to hang up the phone.
Mr. Meehan. It is enormously imprecise. It is enormously
difficult to measure. The most recent survey we have attempted
in China is about 8,600 people. Some of it was done on line
through a proxy service. It is not completely accurate, and
that is some of the best data.
Mr. Rivera. Would you agree not to use that as a measure of
the worthiness of broadcast services?
Mr. Meehan. I completely agree with the chairman. Hi, this
is the government calling. Are you doing something illegal? No.
You know, you would hang up the phone and go. So, yes, it is
enormously imprecise, and that is a big challenge.
Mr. Rivera. Would you agree that it should not be the
justification of other measurements in justifying broadcast
services to these closed societies?
Mr. Reilly. I would, sir. And I would add that the BBG’s
own figures for Voice of America Mandarin had 6 million for TV
and radio. They themselves say is an underestimate precisely
because of this problem.
I think the standard should be not how many are you
reaching, because you can’t find that out, but what is it you
need to reach them with. And part of it is that vital surrogate
function you mention.
By the way, VOA Chinese spends 40 percent of its time, as
Enders Wimbush indicated, with local Chinese news, but the rest
of it fulfills the rest of the VOA charter, U.S. policy and
life and explanation thereof. That is why I think it is a
terrible mistake to close down that service in favor of the Web
site that today is completely blocked by the Chinese
Mr. Rivera. I yield back, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Well, thank you very much.
One last question, and then I have a closing statement.
And, Mr. Zhou, we just heard that there is a $50-million
research budget. And I understand you have been developing some
kind of software to help people get around the blocks that are
put in them for receiving, I guess, the Internet or broadcast
signals. What has been the reaction to that type of product
that you have developed?
Mr. Zhou. So I believe the Board of Governors mentioned
$1.5 million they assigned to break through the firewall system
was assigned to us to do that. And indeed, the work this
Internet Freedom Consortium has done is enormous, and it is
And now, I just want to also add—-
Mr. Rohrabacher. So you receive support, it is in the
record, to try to develop a software that is necessary to break
through these blocks.
Mr. Zhou. It is to expand the scale of the operation, not
to develop software. The software has already been developed.
I want to echo Mr. Rivera’s comment on this. The importance
of the content of the domestic news in those who live in
repressive regimes, NTD developed a program called China’s
Forbidden News, and that program is among the highest-rated
programs on the Internet from China. Every day there are tens
of thousands, maybe sometimes even hundreds of thousands, of
visitors to that program alone. Indeed people need to know what
happens around them, and this kind of software in a censorship
platform indeed plays a critical role to provide such success
to those people.
Mr. Rohrabacher. Thank you very much.
I will be–this is my final statement, and that this has
been a very interesting afternoon. This is in keeping with the
tradition that we started, as I say, with Bill Delahunt that we
really try to be less formal so we can actually get to the
points and have interaction between the witnesses.
I would just like to leave you with one story. And you have
to remember I worked for a guy who taught me all about writing.
Let me tell you a little story, and Reagan always had a little
story. Well, this is a little story about when I worked for
Reagan. It was mentioned about how Reagan did not–by the way,
he was always saying, “Be very tough when it comes to policy;
be very nice and good to people, to other human beings.” So he
is tough on the Communist ideology and the policy, but he is
very good to these people who were not on the other side of the
But we all remember his very solid, solid statements
condemning not just acts, but the nature of communism as being
evil. And Natan Sharansky in our administration was traded–
Natan Sharansky was a political prisoner in the gulag in the
worst possible conditions. He was asked to sign a statement
saying Russia is a democracy, and he could get out. He refused
to sign that. A real hero of that era.
And then we ended up trading him. And, John, you might have
been the guy who arranged the trade, I don’t know, but we
traded Sharansky. We got Sharansky for some Soviet spy. And we
got the best part of the deal, obviously, and we got a saint
for someone who was probably working for the worst gang around.
So Sharansky, when he made his way out of that gulag and
was free, he came to the West, and he went to the White House.
One of the first things he did was go to see President Reagan.
And the speechwriters were all tuned in. And there is a closed-
circuit TV in the White House. And so when people come out of
the meeting with the President, they meet with members of the
press, and it is closed-circuit TV to all of our offices.
So the press asked Sharansky about his meeting with the
President, and they said, well, what did you tell the
President? And he said, well, I told the President the most
important thing was not to tone down his speeches. And, of
course, the speechwriters, you know, champagne started popping
and all the rest, and began to celebrate. And they said, well,
what is that all about? He said, well, in my darkest moments
when I was in prison, somebody smuggled me a little note that
said the President of the United States has just called the
Soviet Union an evil empire, and once I knew that, I had hope,
and I did not give up and would not give up. And how many other
Sharanskys throughout the Communist world felt the same way,
and how did that have an impact on peace and freedom on this
And Reagan was condemned soundly. I mean, he–after using
the word evil empire, if you remember, they called him
belligerent and the rest of it.
Well, the day after this incident Sharansky–there was a
reception for Sharansky at the Israeli Embassy. And I remember
he was coming down–I was sort of over in the back, and he was
coming down these long stairs. He was a real short guy. And I
found in my life that the bravest people are short and bald.
They just really are. And so anyway, there he is coming down
there, and all these people are surrounding him. And all of a
sudden it sort of opens up like this, and he is sort of looking
in my direction. He walks right across the room right to me,
and he looks up at me and says, I understand that you write
speeches for President Reagan. And I said, yes, I do. And he
says, I have often wondered who you are.
And it all comes back to this: There are a lot of people
who don’t know who we are. Our Founding Fathers didn’t know who
we would be, but they know there are good people, there are
good and decent people on this planet, and we have to affirm
that for those people who are in desperate situations, and
through our broadcasting is what it is all about, so thank you
all very much.
[Whereupon, at 5:16 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]
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via the Internet at: http://www.securityaffairs.org/issues/2009/17/
reilly.php (accessed 5/11/11).]