CUSIB’s Ann Noonan speaks on importance of US radio for women in China

Conference on Family Planning in China

The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB – www.cusib.org) Executive Director Ann Noonan said that women and their families in China who are victims of human rights abuses need Voice of America (VOA) radio and Radio Free Asia (RFA) broadcasts. She made that comment Tuesday at a conference on family planning policy and population development in the People’s Republic of China. Women’s Rights in China and Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, headed by the Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting members Jing Zhang and Reggie Littlejohn sponsored the conference, which was held at the Sheraton Hotel in Flushing, NY.

China’s one-child policy has led to forced abortions and sterilizations of women. It is also blamed for a dramatic increase in trafficking in women and children affecting China and other Asian countries. Voice of America and Radio Free Asia broadcasts are believed to be a vital source of uncensored information for many women and their families who are opposing the Chinese government’s family planning policies. Many of these women live in rural communities. VOA and RFA websites are censored and blocked by the Chinese government, leaving radio and to some extent satellite TV as the only accessible, affordable, and safe method of receiving uncensored news.

Speaking at the conference was Ma Jian, a famous Sino-British writer whose novel Beijing Coma received the 2009 British International Free Speech Award, 2009 Athens Literature Award and was nominated for Berlin Literature Award. Beijing Coma has been published in more than 30 languages around the world. Mr. Ma was listed as one of fifty most important modern writers by French magazine Lire in 2004. Mr. Ma’s newest work, Yin Zhi Dao used the conscience of a writer to expose the inhumane aftermaths of the One Child Policy.

Excerpt from Ann Noonan’s presentation. READ FULL TEXT

“Along with other forms of assistance, women and their families in China who are victims of human rights abuses need Voice of America Radio. Good and accurate information is vital for these women, as is the knowledge that they are not alone, that America and the world have not forgotten them. These broadcasts are a source of not only uncensored news but also hope — through them Americans who pay for these broadcasts show their solidarity with victims of human rights abuses in China.

As you know, the Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting is an independent and nonpartisan organization that supports Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Asia (RFA) broadcasts to China that provide vital news and information to women and other victims of human rights abuses.

These broadcast media offer an essential resource about news and events that are otherwise censored.

Recently, Chen Guangcheng told the world that he listened to Voice of America radio while he was in prison in China. This announcement completely undermines any findings by past or present staff of the Broadcasting Board of Governors who sought to minimize the importance of short wave radio broadcasts by insisting that almost no one in China listens to short wave radio and that ending VOA China radio broadcasts is “politically smart.”

While he was in the hospital after seeking help from the US Embassy in China, Mr. Chen called in to Voice of America while Reggie Littlejohn was on the air, expressing his deep appreciation for her efforts to promote justice for China’s women who were victimized by the one-child policy. What an affirmation for both Reggie Littlejohn and Voice of America.

We are relived that for the second year in a row, the U.S. Congress has publicly rebuked the Broadcasting Board of Governors for trying to silence broadcasts to places like China. We are delighted that the U.S. Congress has assured the American taxpayer that programs like Voice of America Mandarin, Cantonese and Tibetan radio broadcasts will remain in place.

I’m going to take a moment to publicly mention CUSIB’s deep appreciation for the efforts of Broadcasting Board of Governors Member Victor Ashe, former US Ambassador to Poland and former mayor of Knoxville, who has fought against the tide for Voice of America Mandarin, Cantonese and Tibetans services – especially the radio broadcasts – to remain intact, and for the journalists who work in these areas to keep their jobs.

I’d also like to publicly applaud the efforts of Michael Meehan and Susan McCue who also serve as Presidential appointees to the bipartisan BBG. They both worked to support the restoration of funding for Voice of America Tibetan radio broadcasts. Their courage to break from the goals of the BBG and IBB management made all the difference.”

Ann Noonan, Executive Director of the Committee for International Broadcasting (CUSIB)

Ann Noonan

Ann Noonan has been active in human rights organizations, including those working for religious freedom. She is the former President of the New York Chapter of the Visual Artists Guild. In 1999, Ann founded Free Church for China, an NGO which researches and documents religious persecution in the PRC. Ann was also a Senior Advisor at the Laogai Research Foundation, an NGO founded by another CUSIB member, Harry Wu, to gather information on and raise public awareness of the Laogai system of prison labor camps in China. Ann Noonan has been active in promoting women’s rights and religious freedom worldwide. She serves as the CUSIB’s Executive Director.

The Committee for U.S. International Broadcasting (CUSIB – www.cusib.org) is an independent, nonpartisan organization which supports free flow of uncensored news from the United States to countries without free media.

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