Peter Getzels, an award-winning documentary filmmaker, businessman, and author, went to China to document how absolute poverty has been reduced and eliminated on a national scale. Now PBS is censoring the documentary and depriving people in the U.S. of this vital perspective on how to successfully address and alleviate the problem of poverty, all during an economic recession in which many Americans are facing eviction, homelessness, and food insecurity.
Next week, we are asking PBS to reinstate the documentary Voices from the Frontline: China’s War on Poverty, and we want to make sure you have the opportunity to add your voice to our letter to PBS!
The mission of PBS is to expand their audience’s view of the world through diverse voices, so why would PBS censor an authentic and forthright portrayal of poverty alleviation in China that they helped produce? Learning how China was able to lift 100 million people out of poverty is the perfect example of PBS’ mission statement: “using media to educate, inspire, entertain and express a diversity of perspectives.”
PBS is insulting and dishonoring its viewers by denying them access to this valuable information about what China values and how China functions to achieve these values. At the same time, PBS has been airing an overtly biased, racist, and Orientalist episode of Frontline that distorts reality to malign China’s COVID-19 response as repressive, authoritarian, and rooted in the supposedly backward and duplicitous nature of Chinese culture.
Tell PBS to examine and eliminate their internal biases against China! This bias threatens both the safety of Asian and Asian American people and the credibility and journalistic integrity of PBS — a professional broadcasting service that claims to remain independent from undue government influence and propaganda efforts!
At CODEPINK, we are firmly anti-war, and we fear that this bias and censorship from PBS is part of the U.S.-led hybrid war on China. This hybrid war involves much more than the dangerous U.S. military buildup to surround China in the South China Sea; it also involves economic, academic, and information warfare, including U.S. government-funded propaganda and harmful unilateral sanctions. Now the U.S. war machine is weaponizing human rights abuse allegations in an attempt to win support from liberals and progressives for more aggressive and undiplomatic policies and posturing against China. Just as we know that censorship is undemocratic, we also know that war with China won’t help human rights. Why? Because human rights are the first casualty of war after the truth, which is already under assault by PBS unless we challenge these attempts at censorship and propaganda.
Onward to peace & equality,
Madison, RJ, Alice, Jan, Jodie, Liz, Stephen, Glen, Rob and all of CODEPINK
P.S. Register for our upcoming webinar with Jodie Evans and Tings Chak on China’s successful efforts to lift millions of people out of poverty Wednesday, 8/11 at 8 PM ET.