“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)


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


Chinese Authority Broadcasting Station Radio Equipment American Relation Radio Regulation 
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Copyright information

© Michael A. Krysko 2011

Authors and Affiliations

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

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