China Seeks to Silence Dissent Overseas
The predicament of a radio station run by Indonesian Falun Gong practitioners demonstrates China’s growing global influence, and its willingness to wield it against perceived opponents abroad. From The Washington Post:
Four years ago, shortly after Indonesian followers of China’s banned Falun Gong movement set up a radio station here, Beijing’s embassy in Jakarta sent a stern letter to Indonesia’s government.
Denouncing what it called an “evil cult” and a “tool for overseas anti-China forces,” the embassy urged Indonesia to pay “close attention to the matter” and “take measures” to halt the radio broadcasts so as to avoid upsetting relations with Beijing.
Gatot Machali, the director of the station, got a leaked copy of the letter and laughed off China’s demand. “It was ridiculous,” he recalled.
Today, the 51-year-old Falun Gong devotee is on trial for illegal broadcasting, the climax of a long campaign by Indonesian authorities to shut down Erabaru Radio, an unlicensed station that mixes pop music, news and fervent hostility to China’s ruling Communist Party.
See also earlier coverage of Falun Gong on CDT.