Senate Floor: CONFERENCE REPORT NO. 103-482 ON H.R. 2333

CONFERENCE REPORT NO. 103-482 ON H.R. 2333 [1994-04-26]

Joe Biden
Pete Domenici
Hank Brown
Claiborne Pell
George J. Mitchell
Not Labeled
Radio Free Asia
the United States

Joe Biden
There are some 350 hours of foreign broadcasts to China each day. A mere 15 percent -- 52 hours -- is in Chinese languages. Of this, more than half is provided by two Taiwan services, which broadcast hard line propaganda and disinformation. What remains is the VOA and the BBC, and a smattering of hours on stations such as Radio France and Radio Canada. Of the 350 hours of foreign broadcasts to China, the commission reported, "the preponderance is related to developments outside China." Myth no. 4: China isn't ready for democracy. It is often said that China is not ready for democracy. That is Confucian traditions make it unsuitable for democratic rule. And so on. This is not only false, it is an insult to the Chinese people. One need look only to Taiwan, where the Chinese people have dismantled an authoritarian state and are building a multiparty democratic structure. Or to Hong Kong, where the Chinese people have voted overwhelmingly for candidates committed to greater democracy. As Professor Andrew Nathan, a China scholar at Columbia University writes, "the theme of China's backwardness as a limit on democracy is as old as the Chinese desire for democracy." One final concern often raised about the Radio Free Asia proposal is that no nation in Asia will permit the United States to use transmission facilities for these broadcasts. This proposition has yet to be tested. But when it is, I fully expect the State Department and the U.S. Information Agency to use their best efforts in seeking permission to use transmission facilities. In diplomacy, the medium is the message. If we send a low-ranking diplomat from an embassy to carry out a mission, we can expect the counterpart nation to treat our request accordingly -- as a lower priority. I do not expect that Congress will micromanage this process. But suffice it to say that I hope that senior officials from State and USIA will carry the message to our friends and allies.
Very Positive