Broadcaster says Falun Gong sent pirate TV signals

Reuters in Boston Globe/July 4, 2005
By Daniel E. Martin

A Falun Gong spokeswoman in Hong Kong said she did not know anything about the hacking attack, saying such an act would be technically and financially beyond the group's means.

APT Satellite Holdings Ltd. said the Falun Gong illegally beamed a transmission on Sunday into mainland China, interfering and interrupting normal broadcasting of more than two dozen of nationwide and provincial television channels.

Officials at APT declined to say what material was illegally broadcast but that about 15 minutes of programing was interrupted and an image was illegally broadcast on TV screens in China for about four seconds.

Previous pirated signals have shown believers practising Falun Gong and their spiritual leader Li Hongzhi talking.

Beijing banned the Falun Gong in 1999 after 10,000 members besieged the compound of the Chinese leadership in the capital to demand official recognition of their faith.

In the past two years, China has repeatedly accused Falun Gong of hijacking satellite signals to disrupt state media broadcasts.

A Hong Kong-based spokeswoman for the Falun Gong, Sophie Xiao, denied that the group had anything to do with the incident or others like it. "I would question why they keep saying it is Falun Gong's act," she said.

APT said the illegal jamming of APTSTAR VI caused damage to the APT Group and affected its reputation. "We strongly denounce such an illegal act," Chen Zhaobin, executive director and president of APT Satellite, told a news conference.

Hong Kong and New York-listed APT said it had reported the case to the Hong Kong police and reserved the right to take further legal action.

The Falun Gong movement remains legal in Hong Kong, which has been a special administration region of China since 1997, when the former British colony was returned to Chinese rule.

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