Advertisement

“By Some It Is Doubted If the Chinese Will Ever Become Radio Fans”: Sino-American Relations and Chinese Broadcasting during the Interwar Era

  • Michael A. Krysko
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of the Media book series (PSHM)

Abstract

W.A. Estes was confused. He had come home to the United States from Shanghai, where he was living, for an extended visit in June 1924. He hoped to bring a radio with him on his return, but he did not wish to run afoul of China’s 1915 radio law. This relic of the pre-broadcasting era identified all radio equipment as military contraband and prohibited its importation and possession. Estes contacted the US State Department for guidance as he prepared for his return trip in early 1925. “Before I left China last June I know that many such sets, made in the United States and Europe, were in constant use in Shanghai,” he wrote. Sets were easily acquired, and “reliable firms” sold them. Estes did not base his query solely on the assumption that reliable firms abided by the law; he also mentioned the exhortations of a local minister who urged his parishioners, and their friends living up to 400 miles from Shanghai, to purchase radios. Certainly a minister would not encourage his flock to break the law! But despite indications that the restrictive statute would be eased, Estes continued to receive letters from friends in China lamenting the confiscation of their sets. “I shall be very grateful for information in regard to this matter,” Estes concluded. “I am returning to Shanghai in August and hope to be able to take a radio receiving set with me.”1

Keywords

Chinese Authority Broadcasting Station Radio Equipment American Relation Radio Regulation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 4.
    Nicholas R. Clifford, Spoilt Children of the Empire: Westerners in Shanghai and the Chinese Revolution of the 1920s ( Hanover, NH: Middlebury College Press, 1991 ), 16–17.Google Scholar
  2. 10.
    James Schwoch, The American Radio Industry and Its Latin American Activities, 1900–1939 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1990), 96–123; Rosenberg, Spreading the American Dream, 102–3.Google Scholar
  3. 16.
    David E. Nye, Electrifying America: Social Meanings of a New Technology ( Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1990 ), 277–86.Google Scholar
  4. For a particular focus on radio, see Douglas B. Craig, Fireside Politics: Radio and Political Culture in the United States, 1920–1940 ( Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000 ), 14–17Google Scholar
  5. Susan J. Douglas, Listening In: Radio and the American Imagination from Amos ‘n’ Andy to Wolfman Jack and Howard Stern (New York: Times Books, 2000), 72–8, 128.Google Scholar
  6. 22.
    Cunningham, “Broadcasting in Shanghai,” 5 March 1928. For Cunningham’s disposition, see Helen Foster Snow, My China Years: A Memoir by Helen Foster Snow (New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1984), 60, 66, 68 (quote is from page 66)Google Scholar
  7. Clifford, Spoilt Children of the Empire, 34; Edna Lee Booker, News is My Job (New York: Macmillan, 1940), 29, 118–19, 235Google Scholar
  8. Hallett Abend, My Life in China, 1926–1941 (New York: Hardcourt, Brace and Company, 1943 ), 136Google Scholar
  9. Stella Dong, Shanghai 1842–1949: The Rise and Fall of a Decadent City ( New York: William Morrow, 2000 ), 108.Google Scholar
  10. Fitzgerald, Awakening China, 119; Andrew Nathan, Chinese Democracy ( New York: Columbia University, 1985 ), 151–71.Google Scholar
  11. 53.
    French and Japanese diplomats expressed reservations about the Chinese position, but the British took the same official stance as the Americans (Johnson’s freelancing notwithstanding). See Leslie Bennett Tribolet, The International Aspects of Electrical Communications in the Pacific Area ( Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1929 ), 132–5.Google Scholar
  12. 63.
    James Lafayette Hutchison, China Hand ( New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1936 ), 377–8.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Michael A. Krysko 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael A. Krysko
    • 1
  1. 1.Kansas State UniversityUSA

Personalised recommendations