On December 2, 2012, Sangdegye, an 18-year old Tibetan young man from Xiahe County of Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, northwest China’s Gansu Province, bought three liters of gasoline and some painkillers in the village grocery, and drove a borrowed motorcycle toward the nearby Bora Temple.
At 2 pm, he poured the gasoline on his clothes and set himself on fire. Although the hospital rescued him, he lost both legs forever.
Why did he set himself on fire?
“I burned myself because of the Voice of America (VOA for short),” said Sangdegye, who used to watch the VOA Tibetan-language programs, said he admired the self-immolators VOA reported on, as they were like “heroes”.
Actually, the “heroes” in the eyes of Sangdegye are also young audiences poisoned by those VOA reports.
Kimba, a regular viewer of VOA Tibetan-language programs in Tongren County, Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Qinghai Province, also watched the VOA self-immolation reports with his friend named Kumi Tenzin the day before he set himself on fire.
After hearing that the Dalai Lama would “pray for the self-immolators”, Kimba set himself alight on the Regong Cultural Square of Tongren County the next day. He did it because he “wants to be famous”.
From the screen to the reality, the Voice of America has been involved in the Tibetan self-immolation incidents. It is not only the behind plotter of the stage “heroes”, but also the “invisible killer” who grips the soul of the self-immolators.
According to the Xinhua news report, police in northwest China’s Gansu Province said on February 27, 2013 that they found Karong Takchen, a 21-year-old monk from a temple in neighboring Sichuan Province, had entered Gansu last July to organize self-immolation activities.
Karong Takchen acted under the instruction of Gantrin and Kunga, both members of the Tibetan Youth Congress, as well as Amdo, a Tibetan broadcaster for the Voice of America and a VOA journalist Palden.
He had colluded with local monks Samuten, Tashi Gyamuktso and Tentsang to recruit self-immolation volunteers in several places.
They encouraged a series of self-immolations within 20 days that led to the death of three people.
However, David Ensor, director of the VOA denied the report. Losang Gyatso, head of the Tibetan language department of the VOA claimed that “any news reports are not affected by the Dalai Lama or the Tibetan government-in-exile.”
Even the U.S. government, which has always advocated “press freedom”, stands out as shield for the VOA’s misconduct.
Victoria Nuland, spokesperson of the US State Department said in Washington that “the State Department supports the VOA’s declaration that it had not been involved in the Tibetans self-immolation incidents.”
Had the VOA really “not been involved in the Tibetans self-immolation incidents”?
How could VOA obtain first-hand materials?
Since 2012, the Tibetan Language service center of the VOA for many times first released scoops about the self-immolations taken place in Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Gansu Province and Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan. In 2013, the reports become much more detailed.
For example, as soon as the self-immolation took place in Aba on January 18, the VOA soon “obtained” the first-hand photos at the scene. On January 22, no sooner had a Tibetan burned himself in Xiahe County of Gansu than a photo of his identity card was uploaded on its website. On February 3, the VOA again released its exclusive report after a monk in the Roige County of Sichuan set himself on fire.
Although it is quite far from the scene, the VOA always has the first-hand material and immediately responds to the self-immolations.
“By Reviewing the reports about the self-immolations for the past two years, we have found that VOA always took the lead in releasing news of self-immolations, and most of them were exclusive reports,” a netizen commented on the website.
Could the VOA foretell the occurrence of self-immolations? Or how could it respond to them in such a short time with photos and exclusive reports？Didn’t it claim that all news in the Tibetan areas “has been strictly controlled”?
People could feel the political inclination of the VOA through every word of its reports.
The information source of the VOA is unbalanced either from the macroscopic or microcosmic point of view.
“Both its blurred information and careful choice of words are deliberate with ulterior motives,” said Song Ying, a scholar of the Beijing Foreign Studies University who has been carrying out an analytical research on the discourse of the VOA reports since 2005.
For example, she talked about a VOA report on February 26, 2013 that all quotations used were from the Tibetan activists without any words from the Chinese government. It intentionally misled readers to believe that the Tibetans “had no other choice but burned themselves as they were in a great dilemma”, and claimed that the self-immolation “is permissible by the Chinese law”.
“VOA committing crimes against the Chinese, especially Tibetans”
In order to help the U.S. government gain maximum political interest the VOA collaborates with the Dalai clique to distort truth, which is the only reasonable explanation for the VOA’s act.
The VOA stated to launch the Tibetan Language Channel in 1991. As China is becoming more powerful, the Dalai clique soon became the only bargaining chip for the U.S.government to contain China.