China has fitted the final piece on what will be the world’s largest radio telescope, due to begin operations in September, state media report.
The 500m-wide Aperture Spherical Telescope, or FAST, is the size of 30 football fields.
The $180m (£135m) satellite project will be used to explore space and help look for extraterrestrial life, Xinhua news agency reported.
Advancing China’s space program remains a key priority for Beijing.[…]
China Now Has A Flying Propaganda Machine
The Chinese military has a new warplane with an unusual purpose: to beam propaganda and disinformation into hostile territory.
In that way, the new, four-engine Y-8GX7 psychological operations plane—also known by its Chinese name, Gaoxin-7—is analogous to the U.S. Air Force’s EC-130J, which it says“conducts military information support operations and civil affairs broadcasts in F.M. radio, television and military communications bands.”
A flying radio outpost might seem rather retro, even quaint, in the internet era. But in many of the world’s worst conflict zones, internet access is limited—and people still get much of their information from radio and television.
EC-130s—which has its own nickname, “Commando Solo”—and similar U.S. aircraft like it have broadcast propaganda in nearly all U.S. conflicts since the Vietnam War. Perhaps most famously, EC-130s flew over Libya during the 2011 international intervention in that country, in one case advising Libyan navy sailors to stop resisting and remain in port.
“If you attempt to leave port, you will be attacked and destroyed immediately,” the EC-130J crew warned via radio in English, French, and Arabic. A Dutch ham radio operator overheard and recorded the broadcast.
According to the Air Force, the EC-130Js deployed to the Middle East in 2015. While the flying branch didn’t specify exactly where the psyops planes went or why, it’s likely they supported the U.S.-led war on ISIS, perhaps bombarding militant fighters with warnings similar to those the EC-130J crews broadcast over Libya five years ago.[…]
(Source: The Independent via Andy Sennitt)
“The BBC has warned that China poses a “direct threat” to its global reach by paying incentives to local broadcast companies to prioritise its state-funded CCTV service over other international networks.
Peter Horrocks, the Director of the BBC’s World Service Group, told The Independent that the BBC’s distribution network was in danger from the hugely-ambitious CCTV and its deep financial resources.
“What the Chinese do is to pay local radio and TV stations to take their content,” he said in an interview with The Independent. “If you are a poor TV station in Tanzania and someone from China comes along and says ‘Will you take this content in Swahili?’ then you are quite likely to take it – so it’s a real threat to the future of the World Service’s content.”
As shortwave radio has become less widely used, the BBC has become increasingly dependent on local distribution partners for its radio and television output in large parts of the developing world. Around 40 per cent of the BBC’s global content is distributed through such intermediaries. “Locally distributed content is a very significant proportion of our overall audience,” said Horrocks. The BBC either seeks payment for its programming or provides it for free.”
“On Monday, September 29, the loyal viewers of Voice of America (VOA) “Weishi,” the VOA Mandarin TV program, were surprised to see their TV screen turned into a blue graphic during some hours when the original program previously aired was repeated. In the place of the professionally produced VOA TV broadcast, audiences received radio signals from Radio Free Asia (RFA).
Audience surveys, although underestimating the viewership because many Chinese are reluctant to share sensitive and potentially dangerous information with strangers, show that the popularity of the 2-year-old VOA “Weishi” is growing by leaps and bounds in China. Some of its segments, including “History’s Mysteries,” “Pro&Con” and “Issues and Opinions,” already also attract many millions of viewers on YouTube. The management’s decision to take away some of the repeat hours from the “Weishi” programs will be devastating to VOA’s Mandarin broadcasting. Meanwhile, it will not help RFA, since very few people listen to radio via TV. If they do, there are existing channels leased by the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) to broadcast radio programs via satellite to China and Tibet. IBB reports to the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), the federal agency and the bipartisan Board in charge of all U.S. taxpayer-supported media for audiences abroad.”
Read the full commentary on the BBG Watch website.
I listened to China Radio International a few times during the peak of the protests and–no surprise–there was absolutely no mention or even hint of an uprising. Indeed, China has been actively blocking international TV news outlets like CNN and social media sites like Instagram.
China is ranked as one of the worst countries in the world in terms of press freedoms–175th out of a possible 180 countries on the 2014 World Press Freedoms Index.
Today is the 25th anniversary of the horrible events that took place in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989, during which Chinese troops opened fire on unarmed student demonstrators.
In this off-air shortwave radio recording of Radio Beijing, made on June 3rd, 1989, you’ll hear the news reader/editor depart from the script and comment on the massacre of protestors in Tiananmen Square:
It’s believed this brave news editor was detained shortly after the broadcast and spent years in a detention (re-training) camp.
Rest assured, you will hear no mention of the Tiananmen Square protests on China Radio International today–even though this year marks the 25th anniversary of the event. China’s state media goes to great lengths to keep this sort of on-air protest from happening again. State media even tries to limit on-line research of the protests; last year, we posted a fascinating article which listed banned search engine terms in China.
I also encourage you to check out Jonathan Marks’ comments (from a broadcaster’s perspective) on this particular Radio Beijing broadcast.