US Congressmen Propose Recreating Cold War Operation to Understand Communist China

Writer: Lois

Democrat Congressman Joaquin Castro (D-TX) speaks during a House Intelligence Committee hearing on international threats in Washington DC, US, April 15, 2021. Al Drago / Pool via Reuters.

On Wednesday, Republicans Mike Gallagher and Brian Fitzpatrick and Democrats Joaquin Castro and Bill Keating introduced a bill for a federally funded Open Translation and Analysis Center (OTAC) to understand and communicate Communist Chinese Party (CCP) media to the public.

“[OTAC will] systematically translate PRC [People’s Republic of China]/CCP[Chinese Communist Party]/PLA [People’s Liberation Army] speeches, documents, reports, strategies, news articles, commentaries, journal articles, procurement contracts into English and publish them freely online,” stated a congressional aide.

According to the aide, the bill aims to recreate the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) for at least China and perhaps other strategic rivals depending on funding. The US used the FBIS used during the Cold War to translate and analyse government media from the Soviet bloc and other foreign nations.

The aide also added that like the FBIS, OTAC would reportedly provide crucial analysis on the PRC, CCP and PLA and annotations to help non-experts understand CCP propaganda and the significance of the material based on the source and person.

The US Congressmen’s bill requests an annual funding amount of USD 80 million from the fiscal year of 2022 through to 2026 and any sum necessary for each following fiscal year.

Democrat Mr Castro said that the US required a better understanding of nations like China and Russia to compete and cooperate with them effectively.

“A nuanced understanding of foreign countries is impossible without reading how they communicate in their own languages,” he told Reuters in an interview.

A large volume of free translated Chinese media material is currently available online across a variety of sources. OTAC will probably provide translated material on a single website, likely for convenience.

Bill sponsors reportedly consider the proposed operation a valuable resource for US and allied governments, academics, analysts and journalists.

Reuters. (July 29, 2021). U.S. congressmen reach back into Cold War armory to respond to China.

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