Tag Archives: China

Taiwanese man faces charges for broadcasting uncensored news to listeners in China

(Source: Radio Free Asia)

A Taiwanese businessman is scheduled to face trial in Thailand’s northern Chiang Mai city next week on charges that he illegally hosted a radio station that broadcast uncensored news to listeners in China, amid claims that Beijing pressured Thai authorities to shut down the station.

The June 19-20 hearing at the Chiang Mai provincial court comes more than five months after Chiang Yung-hsin, 52, was indicted on charges of setting up the station without a permit for Sound of Hope (SOH), a San Francisco-based radio network that was founded by Falun Gong, a religious movement banned in China, according to court documents.

Chiang, who could be jailed for up to five years if convicted, denies the charges, saying the broadcasting facility was set up by his tenants.

“I did not set up any radio station, but friends used the premises I rented to set up transmitters,” Chiang told BenarNews, an RFA-affiliated online news service, in a brief interview in Bangkok through an assistant while denying the charges against him.

Chiang’s attorney was not available for comment. Prosecutors and Chiang’s defense team are scheduled to present their cases over the two-day hearing.

Sound of Hope Radio is a public network that broadcasts news to China through shortwave radio signals in nearby countries, spokesman Frank Lee said.

Lee alleged that the Thai government pressured Chiang, who was not aided by a translator, to sign documents pleading guilty at the time of his arrest. He also alleged that Thai officials were pressured by the Chinese government.

“Giving in to the pressure from Beijing to suppress free press is not good for Thailand and its people,” Lee told BenarNews.

“Mr. Chiang is a volunteer for SOH, he didn’t do this for his own gain. We urge the Thai government to free Mr. Chiang so that he can return to Taiwan to his wife and two children.”

But Thai officials flatly rejected the claims.

“Thai law enforcement arrested Chiang without any pressure from the Chinese,” a Thai security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told BenarNews.

In August 2018, officials shut down the shortwave radio station broadcasting from property that Chiang rented in Chiang Mai, and arrested him on Nov. 22, 2018. He was released on bail three days later but ordered to remain in Thailand.

Police filed the charges against Chiang alleging that he violated the Radio Communications Act and the Broadcasting and Television Business Act, both of which carry a sentence of up to five years if convicted because he did not have the necessary permission or license to operate, according to various sources.

“The Thai justice system is handling this case,” Busadee Santipitaks, spokeswoman for the ministry of foreign affairs, told BenarNews when asked for comment.

Protests against prosecution

In January, press freedom group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) spoke out against Chiang’s arrest.

“This totally unjustified arrest deals a new blow to the freedom to inform in Thailand and penalizes Chinese listeners who count on this radio station for information that circumvents censorship,” RSF said in a news release at the time.

“We call on the Thai authorities to stop abetting Beijing’s operations against opposition media outlets and to drop charges against Chiang.”

RSF said it has learned that the Chinese government pressured the Thai authorities to shut down the radio station.

Paris-based RSF said Thai officials took the action after receiving a complaint from a “mysterious witness” who claimed to have seen a 30-meter (100-foot) antenna being erected at the site.

SOH insisted that no antenna was constructed because it is not needed for shortwave broadcasting and denied any involvement in “illegal broadcasting,” according to RSF.

U.S.-based Freedom House had also spoken out against Chiang’s arrest. It said the Thai government took advantage of his limited knowledge of the language and “deceived Chiang into what amounted to signing a confession.”

“This is not the first time Beijing has pressured Asian governments to crack down on SOH broadcasts,” Freedom House had said in a recent update of press freedom news related to China published on its website. “In 2011, two men in Vietnam were jailed for broadcasting content into China, and Indonesian authorities attempted to shut down SOH affiliate Radio Era-baru, which transmitted programming to local Chinese communities in Southeast Asia.”

Lee said the SOH broadcasts were needed.

“SOH believes shortwave broadcasting to China is very critical to the people in there to learn about truthful and accurate news in China and around the world,” Lee said. “The Chinese communist regime constantly censors news on its human rights violations, religious persecution and objective news from around the world.”

Founded in 1992 in China’s northeast, the Falun Gong spiritual movement gained increasing influence as the fastest growing religion in the PRC and overseas over the next seven years. In 1999 the Chinese government at the orders of then President Jiang Zemin began a harsh and sometimes deadly crackdown on the sect, dragging practitioners from their homes and sending them to detention centers.

Outside of China, the movement was considered harmless and continued to flourish. It is often cited as an example of religious persecution in China, with practitioners and allied religious freedom advocates holding protests in major cities to bring attention to the situation faced by Falun Gong believers in the PRC.

Click here to read the full story at RFA News.

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Will the cost of radios increase for US consumers?

In the past few months, I’ve received a number of questions from our readers in the United States regarding the potential for radio prices to increase.

Why could prices increase?  Keeping in mind, I’m no expert in this field (seriously–!) I understand there are at least three factors that could influence prices:

China

As of today, almost all portable shortwave radios on the market are made in China. In fact, I can’t think of a single portable broadcast receiver that isn’t made in China although I’m sure there are some made in other parts of the world.

Tariffs

This year, the US administration has placed tariffs on a long list of consumer electronics produced in China and elsewhere–the list could grow.  Radio receivers could fall into some of the affected product categories. Click here to read the full current list (PDF). Some ham radio retailers have notified their customers to expect price increases (BridgeCom Systems comes to mind).

Postage

The US plans to withdraw from an international postal treaty that has allowed Chinese companies to ship small packages to the United States at discounted rates. If this withdraw were to happen, it’s my understanding it would primarily affect direct postal shipments that are now prevalent from sellers on eBay, Amazon.com, Alibaba and similar.  This might mean either the end of “free shipping” from China-based retailers who’ve relied on inexpensive ePacket shipments, or product prices might increase to compensate for the added expense. This shouldn’t directly affect the price of parcel carriers like UPS, DHL or FedEx.

So what’s the takeaway?

In general, sure…I would expect radio prices to increase.

I don’t think it’s a time to panic as there are a lot of market forces at play here. I would personally anticipate price increases anywhere from 10 to  25 percent.

If you’ve been considering one of the pricier full-featured portables, you might nudge yourself in the direction of ordering one in the near future rather than later. (Note: Your friendly radio enabler suggests you use this as an excuse to grab another set! Go get it!). 🙂

Again, I’m not panicking. So far, I haven’t noticed any significant changes in pricing at the major online retailers. When price increases hit the streets, I doubt they’ll be steep enough to discourage us from buying the occasional radio.

One more thing…

I’ll admit that I’ve been reluctant to bring up this topic on the SWLing Post as it’s politically-charged. So keep in mind…

This is a website where we celebrate our love of all things radio, not a space for name-calling, trolling, or heated back-and-forth littered with vulgar language. Our moderators do their best to pluck those comments when they manage to make it through our comment filters. If you’re looking for an outlet to do those things, the web is chock-full of sites that will indulge you.

Over the years, many of you have written and thanked me for providing a safe haven from the drama that’s so prevalent on otherwise wonderful websites. You’re most welcome.

Keep in mind: the SWLing Post is my refuge, too, and I’m keeping it that way!

Thank you all for understanding.

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China consolidates three national networks to form the Voice of China

China Radio International will become a part of the new Voice of China.

(Source: CNN Money via Cap Tux)

Beijing has a new propaganda weapon: Voice of China

China is creating a new giant broadcaster to ensure its voice is heard loud and clear around the world.

Voice of China, as the new outlet will be known internationally, will be formed by combining three mammoth state-run national networks: China Central Television (CCTV), China National Radio and China Radio International. It will employ more than 14,000 people.

The merger was revealed in a Communist Party document on a sprawling government reorganization program, championed by President Xi Jinping to reinforce the party’s absolute control in all aspects of state governance.

State news agency Xinhua released the document Wednesday after it was approved by China’s rubber-stamp parliament.

With echos of the Voice of America radio service created by the US government during World War II, Voice of China is tasked with “propagating the party’s theories, directions, principles and policies” as well as “telling good China stories,” according to the document.

It will be under the direct control of the party’s central propaganda department.

The new broadcast juggernaut is being formed at a time when Chinese authorities face growing challenges to control their message in the age of the internet and social media. They are making strenuous efforts to maintain strict censorship at home while pouring money into propaganda projects abroad.[…]

Click here to read the full article at CCN Money.

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China’s campaign to eliminate pirate radio

SX-99-Dial-Nar

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Ken Hansen (N2VIP), who shares a link to the following news item on BGR India:

China to crackdown on unauthorised radio broadcasts

Reportedly, in a national campaign aided by more than 30,000 airwave monitors, in over past six months, more than 500 sets of equipment for making unauthorised radio broadcasts were seized in China.[…]

“The broadcast power of pirate radio stations can be 2,500 to 5,000 watts, which is several hundred of times that of commercial radio, and the signal can be received 300 km away,” the China Daily reported citing the department as saying. Pirate radios may also pose a threat to communication between aircraft pilots and ground controllers as their frequency band neighbours that of flight navigation signals and can create interference, the department said.
Under Chinese law, the unauthorised use of radio frequency bands can attract up to seven years in prison.

Click here to read the full story…

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China nears completion of world’s largest radio telescope

FAST radio telescope [Photo/Xinhua: State Council, People's Republic of China]

FAST radio telescope [Photo/Xinhua: State Council, People’s Republic of China]

(Source: BBC News)

China has fitted the final piece on what will be the world’s largest radio telescope, due to begin operations in September, state media report.

The 500m-wide Aperture Spherical Telescope, or FAST, is the size of 30 football fields.
The $180m (£135m) satellite project will be used to explore space and help look for extraterrestrial life, Xinhua news agency reported.

Advancing China’s space program remains a key priority for Beijing.[…]

Click here to read the full article and watch the accompanying video. 

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