Often lost in recollections of World War II is the eight-year conflict fought between Japan and China. The war claimed 14 million Chinese lives and, for a time, China was nearly cut off from contact with the outside world. But Charles E. Stuart, a dentist in the sleepy California beach town of Ventura who was passionate about amateur radio and a staunch defender of the nationalist Kuomintang party that controlled China was able to broadcast its message to the outside world. Working from a bunker carved deep into the rocks beneath the wartime Chinese capital of Chongqing, a cadre of young freelance journalists and Chinese information ministry employees operated a shortwave station known as XGOY to broadcast free China’s news and information. Despite the fact that the station was constantly bombarded and Japanese forces jammed its signal, Doc Stuart’s mastery of shortwave radio was able to capture and record XGOY’s transmissions, while Stuart’s wife, Alacia Held, tirelessly transcribed their contents for delivery to Chinese officials and news organizations in the United States. Without Doc Stuart, free China may have been completely cut off from the outside world.
Radio Free China: When a sleepy California beach town was at the center of a war across the Pacific
Bill Lascher is a journalist currently chronicling the adventures of World War II-era correspondent and Time Far East bureau chief Melville Jacoby, who also worked as an XGOY broadcaster. A Ventura native, Lascher studied history at Oberlin and journalism at USC.
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Bill Lascher; Radio Free China: When a sleepy California beach town was at the center of a war across the Pacific. Boom 1 March 2014; 4 (1): 11–17. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/boom.2014.4.1.11
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