PBS: Don’t Censor the Truth About China!

PBS has taken down Voices from the Frontline: China’s War on Poverty, a documentary directed by award-winning Peter Getzels, co-produced by PBS-SoCal with a foundation led by Robert Lawrence Kuhn. PBS is depriving its viewers of opportunities for learning about collective harmony and equality by censoring this documentary and its insight into China's life-saving policies, which took 800 million citizens out of extreme poverty. Tell PBS to stop censoring the truth about China and contributing to anti-China rhetoric and anti-Asian violence! Tell PBS, don't be afraid of the truth!

Dear PBS, 

You claim to be a 'Trusted Window to the World,' stating that you “serve the American public with programming and services of the highest quality, using media to educate, inspire, entertain, and express a diversity of perspectives” and that “PBS empowers individuals to strengthen the social, democratic, and cultural health of the U.S.” 

Given these admirable goals, we are appalled that you would censor a documentary by widely respected public intellectual, international corporate strategist, and investment banker Robert Kuhn. He and award-winning director Peter Getzels have done us a service by laying out the techniques and the 5 levels of government that coordinated to bring 800 million people out of extreme poverty. These same techniques and coordination were then employed to stop the spread of COVID. You deprive your viewers by denying them this understanding of China, especially during a time of economic recession in the U.S. in which many Americans are facing eviction, homelessness, and food insecurity 

Dr. Kuhn, an expert on China, has dedicated a massive part of his career to raising up the truth. Through the documentary Voices from the Frontline: China’s War on Poverty, Kuhn is offering us an important perspective to help U.S. citizens understand China from the outside. Censoring this documentary serves those wanting to escalate divisions and conflict between China and the United States and perpetuates harmful misconceptions about China and the conditions within the nation. If we are going to address the real threats of COVID-19 and the Climate Crisis, people must understand that both China and the United States will benefit from a relationship of collaboration and mutual respect. We call on you to reinstate Dr. Kuhn’s documentary, Voices From the Frontline: China’s War on Poverty, to begin fostering an honest, rational, and respectful understanding of China by your viewers. 

In an article addressing why the documentary was taken down, it is noted that the conservative publication The Daily Caller reported it to be “pro-Beijing.” Why is telling the truth about how China was able to lift so many people out of poverty controversial? We believe that learning how another country succeeds is the perfect example of “using media to educate, inspire, entertain and express a diversity of perspectives.” If we cannot share the truth about the world we live in, we cannot live in collective peace, equality, and harmony. The documentary interviews real people with real stories so the world can learn how China was able to accomplish something so profound. 

So, we ask you, does PBS side with the truth or with The Daily Caller? By censoring Voices From the Frontline: China’s War on Poverty, you are depriving the public of the opportunity for education about policies that have changed and saved lives. Right now, amidst an increasingly catastrophic climate crisis and global health pandemic, we need understanding and cooperation. Do not fall prey to those fanning the flames of hate. We must stop the growing hate and aggression towards China, which is stoking a dangerous US-led war that could end in nuclear winter. It is already having deadly consequences for Asian Americans in the U.S., with Anti‐Asian violence up 194% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to 2020, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.

It is stated on PBS’ Mission & Values page that you provide “documentaries that open up new worlds [and] non commercialized news programs that keep citizens informed on world events and cultures.” Not only are you violating your own values by censoring this important documentary, but you are participating in allowing hate and misinformation to flourish during one of the most heightened climates of anti-Asian rhetoric and violence in recent U.S. history. The U.S. and China need to cooperate for the good of peace and the planet. Reinstate Robert Kuhn’s documentary and be a force for peace and cooperation. China Is Not Our Enemy! 

To a more peaceful world,

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