Jun 3, 2014
In 1989, satellite television was in its infancy. I remember watching events in China unfold on CNN, which had only just been added to the cable system in Holland. Then in the early hours of June 4th, shortwave listeners in North America started calling the Radio Netherlands answerline with an off air recording of Radio Beijing. Apparently an announcer at the English Service of Radio Beijing had spliced a short but very clear message onto the front of the transmission tape. A very courageous thing to do. When he'd finished, the programme continued with the usual political commentary. We rebroadcast out this clip. I've reprocessed it again for clarity.
At the time, the story in Western Media (and later in publications) was that the voice you hear in this clip belonged to Li Dan, then Head of the English Service at Radio Beijing. He disappeared for a time, but did return later as on-air
Keith Perron, now living in Taiwan, supplies this version. Impossible for me to verify, but sounds more plausible.
"Li Dan like other heads of department at Radio Beijing were
sent to what the Chinese call Communist School for a bit, but then
returned to RB.
The two who did the story. The writer being the deputy director of the English Service Wu Xiaoyong who was also the news editor on duty was placed under house arrest for many years. When he did manage to leave China a few years later. He moved to Hong Kong and became one of the key people at Phoenix Television. Wu Xiaoyong was only placed under house arrest, because his father was a high ranking government official.
The guy who read that announcement on air Yuan Neng didn't fare so well. He was sentenced for 14 years in a prison labor camp and was banned from ever working in media in China.
After Li Dan returned from Communist School he resumed his position the new deputy director was Xu Huazhen who was a nobody in the English Service in 1989. But she had reported to the officials who in Radio Beijing was a supporter of the students. Not long after she became the deputy director she was promoted again to the party secretary of the English Service. Around 1994/95 Li Dan was promoted to one of the vice-president positions around the time the station changed its name from Radio Beijing to China Radio International. a few years later he became the president of CRI and in 2003 was promoted to CCTV as a vice president."