Voice of Ocean Taiwan radio, 95.9 FM in Taichung, has been forced from the air by ROC police raid
Voice of Ocean Taiwan radio, 95.9 FM, in Taichung was raided and forced off the air within 24 hours of an exclusive Examinerreport on the remarkable 15-year history of the unlicensed pro-democracy station. On the heels of the first English-language report on the refusal of the Republic of China in-exile to issue the radio station a license, fifteen policemen broke down the doors to the mountain-side transmitting facility located at Shin-Ser Taichung. The morning raid occurred at 8:30 a.m. on April 13th and besides destroying the doors to the radio facility the ROC police confiscated NT $900,000 worth of broadcast equipment ($30,000 worth in USD).
Ocean Voice has been forced to temporarily reduce its broadcasts to internet-only in the face of the equipment seizures. This is the second police raid this year when equipment has been removed from the pro-democracy radio station. Four staff member arrests from police raids last year are still under appeal in the courts. Harassment of the station staff is intense and in April 2008 the Taipei station manager, Liaw Shu-Hsin succumbed to the pressure and committed suicide by setting himself on fire.
Ocean Voice Executive Director James Chang is an outspoken advocate of an independent Taiwan and takes his campaign to the streets as well as airwaves. Few demonstrations for democracy occur without Chang in the vanguard proudly wearing an Ocean Voice vest or toting a radio station banner. Chang explains why Ocean Voice is unlicensed, "We are using an open frequency, there are no signals to protect. We have applied for a license five times. They don't even bother to turn us down, they just toss our applications in the trash without a formal response." "Ocean Voice is not underground radio, we broadcast openly and we fill a need. We are not going away even if the ROC refuses to issue us a license. The work of democracy must be done."
Chen Shui-bian, former President of the Republic of China in-exile, is now serving a life sentence at the Taipei Civil Detention Center for misuse of funds following a controversial trial marred by an anti-Chen skit performed by court personnel. In a prison interview last month, Chen was asked about the repeated refusal of the exiled Chinese government to license Ocean Voice radio. Chen said he deferred decisions like that to the administrative staff of the government and did not know Ocean Voice had been turned down. "A number of democracy radio stations had been granted license during my administration. I was unaware of Ocean Voice's problem." One Ocean Voice listener, Nieco Tsai of Tainan, is aware of the radio station's problems.
"I just called to the radio office. It is very difficult now, they do not know when they can return to broadcasting again. The office in downtown Taichung is not raided yet, but they don't know when that will happen or not." "ROC's main purpose is to stop their voice, to stop democratic speech. The Republic of China in-exile is a terrorist group, let the world know the true face of the Kuomintang."