Taiwanese officials in Washington have hit back at criticism leveled against them earlier this week by members of the Falun Gong over claims that shortwave radio towers in Taiwan were being demolished to please China.
Falun Gong members said that as a result of pressure from Beijing the towers they used to broadcast uncensored programs to China were being pulled down.
They also alleged that letters of protest from three members of the US Congress to President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had not been forwarded by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in Washington.
In a statement issued on Wednesday night, TECRO rejected the allegations and said they were “absolutely contradictory to the facts.”
It said the dismantling of the Tainan and Huwei stations would result in no change in the technical support provided to the Falun Gong’s Sound of Hope (SOH) radio arm.
The statement said that Radio Taiwan International (RTI) continued to honor its contract with SOH and “there should be no concern over any possible restriction of SOH broadcasting.”
According to the statement, the Tainan and Huwei stations were being consolidated and relocated to sites at Yunlin County’s Baojhong Township (褒忠) and Tamsui District (淡水) in New Taipei City (新北市), both of which possess new transmission equipment.
“The current equipment at Tainan and Huwei stations is over thirty years old with annually increasing maintenance costs, and the stations’ transmitting effectiveness reached only 50 percent of the service area, compared with the new equipment’s efficiency of 80 to 90 percent,” the statement said.
“The consolidation will not only improve the quality of the signal, but also effectively reduce the cost,” the statement issued by TECRO spokesman Frank Wang (王億) said.
According to TECRO, the Tainan station was being moved to accommodate local development and for reasons of electromagnetic wave interference.
The Huwei station was being dismantled as part of the plans for a new Yunlin high-speed railway station special district.
TECRO denied the allegations that letters of protest from US Congressmen had been blocked.
“In each and every case, TECRO faithfully and rapidly relayed through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other relevant agencies the referenced letters from the Congressmen to President Ma expressing their concerns,” the statement said.
It said that Representative to the US King Pu-tsung (金溥聰) “deeply regrets” that the SOH radio network “didn’t check the facts and made these unfounded and misleading accusations.”