Written by Eva Fu via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
Locked in China’s overcrowded jail, blind lawyer Chen Guancheng hid his most respected possession from the guards – in a single-serve milk field.
A pocket-sized shortwave radio.
For 3 years, Mr. Chen seemed ahead to the hours after curfew. With a blanket wrapped over his head and the radio’s steel antenna parallel to his physique, he lay nonetheless because the vibrating machine underneath his ear delivered to life a world outdoors the jail partitions. Petitioners, protesters, human rights violations, a grassroots motion in search of to sever ties with the Chinese language Communist Social gathering (CCP)—with that little mumbling voice, he noticed all of them. He was free.
Within the ten years since Mr. Chen Escaped to america, the pool of Western broadcasters for information-hungry Chinese language like him has shrunk considerably.
Radio powerhouses – BBC, Deutsche Welle, Voice of America – have both in the reduction of on their Chinese language companies or moved their applications on-line. In the meantime, the “Nice Firewall,” the regime’s censorship equipment geared toward digitally isolating China, appears to be rising larger by the day.
Bucking this pattern is a largely volunteer-run radio community known as Sound of Hope, whose 10 p.m. and midnight segments saved Mr. Chen knowledgeable on present affairs in China throughout his years in jail.
The corporate now operates one of many largest shortwave broadcast networks in all of China, with roughly 120 stations broadcasting indicators to China 24/7.
Allen Zeng, co-founder and CEO of Sound of Hope, sees shortwave as the reply to the regime’s info blackout.
“They will flip off the web, do the killing, clear the blood and switch it again on,” he advised The Epoch Instances, pointing to Iran’s sample of to block web throughout nationwide protests.
However with shortwave radio, “they can not flip it off wherever,” Mr. Zeng mentioned.
“It is like rain falling from the sky: they can not block the sky.”
A voice to belief
An unlikely journey started in 2004 for Mr. Zeng, then an engineer in Silicon Valley.
Inside China, a large-scale nationwide marketing campaign was underway, concentrating on almost one in 13 Chinese language who dwell by truthfulness, compassion and tolerance, the three rules of the Falun Gong religion group.
Random imprisonmentslave workpsychiatric abuse drugsand sexual abuse– the tales pouring out of China had been so sickening that Mr Zeng and a group of like-minded Chinese language expats felt they may not bear it.
“We needed to do one thing about it. We needed to cease the killing,” he mentioned.
The very first thing that got here to thoughts was the shortwave radio that had been a family merchandise in China because the Chilly Struggle, a radio that Mr. Zeng and different college students had turned to for info in 1989 because the authorities rolled their tanks over democracy. loving protesters in Tiananmen Sq..
“As a result of nothing else might be trusted,” he mentioned.
With little finances and data, the group began small: renting an hour of airtime from the Taiwanese nationwide broadcaster Radio Taiwan Worldwide.
About that point, “9 Commentaries on the Communist Social gathering,” an Epoch Instances, was revealed editorial series which laid out the character of the Chinese language regime had simply been revealed and Sound of Hope put it on audio.
It was such successful in Beijing that shortwave radios had been out of inventory for months.
The responses and occasional phrases of encouragement from listeners who managed to bypass China’s Web censorship saved Mr. Zeng’s group going. Dissidents helped and the applications diversified. Quickly they had been Radio Taiwan Worldwide’s largest contractor.
Measuring the dimensions of the community viewers is troublesome given the opacity of information from China.
However Sound of Hope turned so influential that it caught Beijing’s consideration. The Chinese language regime started to place strain on the radio community’s Taiwanese associate.
Finally, the Taiwanese broadcaster withdrew. Sound of Hope was again to sq. one.
‘Strolling within the Darkish’
Giving up was not in Mr. Zeng’s vocabulary.
When the partnership with Taiwan fell aside, engineers rushed to develop their very own options. They had been impressed by the radio waves of fishing vessels to construct their very own transmitter.
The consequence was a mini-tower in Taiwan with upward-facing antennas that unfold out like wings. They nicknamed it ‘Seagull’.
The group set the bar low. The primary ‘seagull’ had an influence of 100 watts – one thousandth of the smallest radio service they rented from the Taiwanese broadcaster.
“It was the one factor we might afford,” Mr Zeng mentioned.
“Seagull” No. 1 was short-lived, as had been a lot of its successors whose indicators Chinese language authorities rapidly blocked. However for the group it was an enormous discovery: at 100 watts they nonetheless had an opportunity to be heard.
They continued to supply and adapt their gear with every new creation.
“It was like strolling at nighttime: we did not know if this tunnel would finish,” Mr Zeng mentioned.
Lastly, on the sixteenth strive, they noticed a breakthrough. The sign broke via and remained secure.
Mr. Zeng thought that they’d used up all of the jamming energy from China at this level.
“We beat them fairly good,” he mentioned. “They can not transfer as quick as we do.”
Other than the technical challenges, getting the stations working was no straightforward job.
The wilderness, their finest location for an uninterrupted sign, can also be a haven for creepy crawlies, from scorpions to snakes. Hsieh Shih-mu, a volunteer, stepped on a snake as soon as and noticed many extra whereas constructing a number of the earliest “seagulls” on the southern tip of Taiwan. Typically, after hurtling dwelling on a bike alongside the pitch-black mountain highway, he could be coated in mosquito bites.
Slender and muddy, the trail turned doubly treacherous after rain. As soon as, one other volunteer virtually fell off the hill – and would have if the tree branches alongside the highway hadn’t hit his motorbike. They needed to name a tow truck to convey the person again up.
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