China’s President Xi Jinping says that Taiwan‘s reunification with the mainland “must and will be fulfilled.” The view from democratic Taiwan is somewhat different.
It’s a threat the islanders have been hearing ever since the 1949 Chinese Civil War, when the Government of the Republic of China was forced to relocate to Taiwan allowing the Chinese Communist Party to establish a new Chinese state: the People’s Republic of China.
But some sense that the increased rhetoric from China in recent months poses a real and present danger. Taiwanese billionaire Robert Tsao has pledged millions of pounds to train three million ‘civilian warriors’ in three years to defend the island should it be required. But will it come to that?
John Murphy is in Taiwan to talk to people there about what they think about the threat from China and whether they’d be prepared to fight to protect what they have.
Presenter: John Murphy
Producer: Ben Carter
Local producer and translator: Joanne Kuo
Production Coordinator: Iona Hammond
Sound Engineer: James Beard
Series Editor: Penny Murphy
The bakers and farmers trying to wean Senegal off imported wheat. Trotting along on a horse and cart, over the bumpy red dirt roads, through the lush green fields of Senegal’s countryside, Oule carries sacks of cargo back to her village. She is the bread lady of Ndor Ndor and she’s selling French baguettes. As a former French colony, the baguette is such a staple of the Senegalese diet, that 8 million loaves are transported out to remote villages, roadside kiosks and high end city bakeries every morning. But wheat doesn’t grow in the West African country, so they are at the mercy of the global markets. Usually they import the majority of their wheat from Russia and Ukraine, but since the war, there have been immense pressures on availability and prices have been soaring. So much so, the government has stepped in to subsidise wheat to keep the cost of a baguette down. But the war has forced bakers to question whether there could be another way of feeding Senegal’s huge appetite for bread.
Tim Whewell meets the bakers experimenting with local grains, like sorghum, millet and fonio, that can grow in Senegal’s climate. But can they convince their customers to change their tastes and say bye-bye baguette?
Produced by Phoebe Keane
A ‘Me Too’ Moment for Israel’s Ultra-Orthodox Jews?
Israel’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish community is struggling to come to terms with high-profile sex abuse scandals. In the past year, two of its leading lights were accused of taking advantage of their status to sexually assault vulnerable women, men, and children. What has added to the shock is how, after one of the alleged attackers committed suicide, religious leaders in this insular, devout community defended him and even blamed his victims for causing his death by speaking out. The response sparked anger and triggered an unprecedented wave of activism to raise awareness of hidden sex abuse within the ultra-Orthodox world. Some are describing it as a “me-too” moment. The BBC’s Middle East Correspondent, Yolande Knell hears from survivors of sexual assault and the campaigners within the ultra-Orthodox community working towards lasting change.
Presenter: Yolande Knell
Producers: Gabrielle Weiniger and Phoebe Keane
Editor: Penny Murphy
Photo: A child sex abuse survivor prays at the grave of his alleged abuser.
The Texas Tank: A Prison Radio Station Changing Lives
The Allan B. Polunsky Unit in Livingston, Texas, used to be known as the Terror Dome for its high rates of inmate violence, murder and suicide. Polunsky houses all the men condemned to death in Texas (currently 185) and nearly 3,000 maximum security prisoners. But since the pandemic, a prison radio station almost entirely run by the men themselves has helped to create community--even for those on death row, who spend 23 hours a day locked alone in their cells.
The Tank beams all kinds of programmes across the prison complex: conversations both gruff and tender; music from R&B to metal; the soundtracks of old movies; inspirational messages from all faiths and none. The station’s steady signal has saved some men from suicide and many from loneliness; it lets family members and inmates dedicate songs to each other and make special shows for those on their way to execution. Maria Margaronis tunes in to The Tank and meets some of the men who say it's changed their lives—even when those lives have just weeks left to run.
Produced by David Goren.
Photo credit (Michael Starghill)
Nigeria’s oil thieves
Illegal oil is big business in the Niger Delta. Oil thieves cut the pipelines, siphoning off oil, which they refine in the bush and sell on the black market. This vast underground industry is a huge employer in the region but it’s a dangerous business. Earlier this year, over 100 people were killed in an explosion at an illegal refinery.
The local government has been cracking down on the illegal oil trade. They say the business is responsible for the worryingly high levels of pollution in the Niger Delta, where a thick black smog hangs over the city of Port Harcourt and oil runs through the waterways, destroying mangroves.
BBC West Africa correspondent Mayeni Jones meets an oil thief king pin, an exuberant local politician, taking on this illegal business and treks deep into the forests of the Niger Delta to visit an underground refinery.
Presenter: Mayeni Jones
Producer: Josephine Casserly
Editor: Penny Murphy
Production Coordinator: Gemma Ashman