China upset that Voice of America broadcast its spying secrets
An exiled Chinese businessman with close ties to the government has begun revealing secrets about Beijing's intelligence operations after China pressured the official Voice of America radio to curtail a lengthy interview with him.If it was just about the self-imposed time limits, the interview could have been recorded so that the remainder could be presented in a separate segment. Mindless adherence to time constraints should not be allowed to stop the revelation of important information.
Four VOA employees were suspended last month after more than an hour of the radio's exclusive interview with billionaire businessman Guo Wengui exceeded a time limit imposed under radio rules.
The four employees of the Chinese language radio division are now calling on Congress to investigate whether VOA managers gave in to pressure from China's government to shorten the Guo interview and as a result undermined the radio's integrity.
Sasha Gong, one of the four suspended employees and chief of VOA's Mandarin language service, says Congress should probe the matter.
"I would like the Congress to investigate if the management of the taxpayer-funded Voice of America caved in to the request and demand of the Chinese government. If so, what is the reason behind their decision?" she said.
A VOA spokesman defended the decision to cut off the interview after an hour based on the radio's practices limiting time devoted to live interviews.
"Pressure from the Chinese government played no role in any decision-making," said the spokesman, George Mackenzie. "VOA and the [parent organization Broadcasting Board of Governors] have decades-long histories of producing full fair and balanced journalism in the face of even the most extreme pressures."