TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Within days of President Joe Biden’s inauguration, the pro-Taiwanese chief of Radio Free Asia, Stephen Yates, received a letter from the new Taiwan-born acting head of the United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM) telling him he was being removed.
Kelu Chao (趙克露), a veteran journalist at Voice of America, was appointed acting Chief Executive Officer of USAGM on Jan. 20, the day of the new president’s swearing-in. She studied at National Chengchi University and her father, Chao Jun-ting (趙俊廷), served as deputy director of the Kuomintang newspaper the Central Daily News.
In an e-mail Yates received from Chao on Friday (Jan. 22), barely a month after his appointment was announced, she wrote the letter was “to inform you that you have been removed effective today, 6:00 p.m. ET from the position of President of Radio Free Asia.”
Chao referred to legislation stipulating that the leading figures at the radio station “shall serve at the pleasure of and may be named by the Chief Executive Officer” of USAGM.
Yates is a prominent supporter of Taiwan and has been a frequent visitor to the island since the 1980s, often emphasizing its democracy and respect for human rights in contrast to China’s communist regime.