Déesse de la Démocratie

The 258 foot, 1950 ton Gorsethorn, ex Dido 77, was built by Charles Hill & Sons Ltd in Bristol, England in 1963 and served as a survey ship. 

The vessel was later renamed Déesse De La Démocratie, after the statue erected by Chinese students in Tianamen Square during the 1989 riot. The ship was registered in Saint Vincent. The vessel was refitted by Marine Services Convoyages. The French magazine "Actuel" and others were instrumental in the campaign to bring democracy to China. On 17th March 1990, the Déesse left La Rochelle, Southern France and made her way to Hong Kong. It was planned that the station should be on air on 27th April, exactly one year after the first Chinese anti government riot. It was intended to install transmitters when they reached Singapore. 

After a reportedly eventful journey that included a Chinese freighter on a deliberate collision course with the ship, buzzing by Libyan jets and being followed by a Chinese submarine, the Déesse arrived in the Northern Taiwan port of Keelung on Sunday 13th May to a boisterous welcome with firecrackers, brass bands and flowers. It was planned to take on supplies and transmitting equipment in Taiwan, but the authorities refused to allow waiting members of the project on board the ship or for the transmitter to be loaded. On Tuesday 15th May, the "Bangkok Post" reported that the Taiwanese Ministry of Defense had placed an armed guard on the ship plus a dozen police. By the end of the week the project was in disarray, the transmitter was impounded, the crew were threatening mutinity over unpaid wages and debts mounting. Attempts to have broadcasting equipment fitted in Japan came to nothing, and the ship was abandoned in Taiwan amid claims of unpaid bills. During the summer of 1990, the vessel was rumoured to be destined for the scrapyard to pay off the bills.

In April 1991, a Taiwanese businessman (Wu Meng-wu) purchased the ship for 500,000 US Dollars and intended to turn the ship into a museum so that nobody will forget the Tiananmen Square massacre of June 1989. The ship was moored at the Anping port in southern city of Tainan. In 1995 Wu Meng-wu threatened to hold an International press conference to tell the world of all the tricks the nationalist government has played against him since they persuaded him to buy the ship.

The cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) asked the semi-official Alliance for the reunification of China under the Three Principles of the people to buy the ship, but the offer was rejected on the grounds that the alliance does not have adequate funds.

The Kaohsiung Harbour Administration asked the MAC to seek agreement with Wu Meng-wu to have the ship scrapped, the ship had been docked since 1991 with out any fees being paid. Chen Chin-fung, harbour administrator stated that the ship was listing at two to three degrees, was rusting badly and had safety problems.

On Monday September 2003, Taiwan began to scrap the radio ship Goddess of Democracy which has been in mothballs after it was blocked from beaming messages of freedom and democracy to China in 1990 following Tiananmen Square massacre, officials said. The demolition work scheduled to take about 70 days kicked off following a ceremony at Anping, a harbour in the southern Tainan county, said Wu Meng-wu, the owner of the 1,200-tonne ship. "This is a blow to those who have been pushing for freedom and democracy in China," an angry Wu told AFP in a telephone interview.

Wu was ordered to scrap the ship in March after he lost a lawsuit filed by the Anping Harbour authorities, who insisted the ship must be removed to make way for harbour expansion and that Wu must pay at least two million Taiwan dollars (about 58,650 US) in harbour-related fees. Wu agreed to begin dismantling his ship by September 10 but he denied he owed the authorities any fees. Wu claimed that after he bought the ship, the government promised to help him take care of it.

Wu purchased the ship for 550,000 US dollars from the France-based Chinese Shipping Association, a group set up in Paris by exiled Chinese dissident leader Yan Jiaqi, after pressure from Beijing scuttled the group's bid to broadcast freedom and democracy messages to China in April 1990. He later turned the ship into a floating museum displaying photographs and information about the bloody suppression of Chinese pro-democracy activists at Beijing's Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989.

Wu said he had spent nearly 100 million Taiwan dollars (2.93 million US) on the ship. However, Wang Tien-chu, chief of the Anping Harbour Bureau, said the ship must be removed. "To tell the truth, it is nothing but an abandoned ship. It has not received an updated certificate of sailing worthiness," he said. "Mr Wu may have some complaints towards me. But what can I do? What I can do is to implement official policies, although I do respect what he has done for the mainland's democracy movement," Wang told AFP. [From AFP}

Planned offshore radio station: Oppositional broadcasts againt the Chinese communist government

Planned location: International waters of the China Sea


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