‘Goddess of Democracy’ Due in Singapore Wednesday
SINGAPORE (AP) _ A ship planning to beam pro-democracy broadcasts to China is due to arrive in Singapore on Wednesday, a spokesman said today.
The 1,200-ton Goddess of Democracy had been scheduled to arrive in Singapore on April 23. It sailed from France on March 17.
″We have been in contact with the vessel during the weekend. It encountered bad weather and storms on its way to Singapore,″ said Fabrice Rebois, a spokesperson for the ship’s sponsors, in a telephone interview from Paris.
The ship is named after the Goddess of Democracy statue erected by pro- democracy demonstrators in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square last spring. It was destroyed when troops suppressed the protests last June. Hundreds and perhaps thousands of people were killed during the crackdown.
The Chinese government has voiced strong objections about the ship, which plans to broadcast music, news and pro-democracy reports from international waters off the coast of China.
Rebois said the ship had received permission to pick up supplies in Singapore.
He refused to disclose ″for security reasons″ when the ship planned to leave Singapore and arrive in Taiwan for a scheduled refueling stop before starting its broadcasts.
The Goddess of Democracy is sponsored by a coalition of groups headed by the French news magazine Actuel. It has the backing of the Federation for a Democratic China, a Paris-based Chinese dissident organization.
China has refused to rule out the use of force to stop the planned broadcasts. It has also called Taiwan’s plan to help the ship ″an open provocation″ against the Chinese Communist government in Beijing.
″The activities of this ship are aimed at subverting the people’s government and are against the norms of international relations,″ Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Li Jinhua said at a news conference in Beijing April 19.
″Therefore we cannot tolerate the support of that ship,″ she said.