http://www.sundaytimes.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,7034,4600356%255E401,00.html By Catherine Armitage in China 29 June 02 MILLIONS of Chinese television viewers got a shock this week when Falun Gong propaganda was beamed into their living rooms as members of the banned sect hijacked one of China's main television satellites. And in Beijing, surprised residents answered their phones this month to find a recorded Falun Gong message, up to five minutes long, attacking the Government's anti-Falun Gong claims point by point. The hacking incidents highlight Falun Gong's sophistication and audacity as the group attempts to fight back in China and overseas. The satellite broadcast, in which a banner reading "Falun Gong is good" replaced normal TV viewing in Shandong province on Sunday night and again in prime time on Tuesday, is among the group's most daring moves since it was banned in 1999. Chinese security sources told The South China Morning Post that most of China Central Television's 10 channels, and another 10 provincial channels sharing the Sinosat-1 satellite, were interrupted on Sunday night. The Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, based in Hong Kong, said the Falun Gong banner appeared on TV screens in Yantai city, Shandong and Laiyang county twice last week, in some cases for up to 15 minutes. The centre said it had confirmed the incidents with local security authorities and television stations. A spokesman for the Yantai security office in charge of dealing with Falun Gong said it had received complaints from the public. "They said a blurred image appeared on their screens for between 10 and 20 seconds," an official said. A news blackout was enforced on the mainland and security officials and TV stations denied all knowledge of the incidents yesterday. Hong Kong media said Vice-President Li Lanqing, responsible for the mainland media, had ordered an investigation into the hacking. After the Falun Gong broadcast, millions of TV sets in remote and rural areas went black as the authorities tried to trace the source of the interruption. Officials are reportedly perplexed as to how Falun Gong had the knowledge and equipment needed to intercept a satellite broadcast. There was speculation sect followers had equipped a vehicle to avoid notice. The human rights and democracy centre said an antenna with a diameter of 3m could disrupt reception for hundreds of kilometres. Similar incidents occurred in January in Chonqing, Sichuan province, in March in Jilin province where Falun Gong leader Li Hongzhi was born and in Harbin in April. In these cases the targets were cable TV stations. More than 20 Falun Gong members were arrested over the March hacking and face up to 15 years in jail if convicted. Falun Gong's recorded telephone message -- sent to an unknown number of Beijing residents, and probably further -- claimed the Government had fabricated the incident in which three Falun Gong supporters set themselves alight in Tiananmen Square in January 2001. The recording also said sect followers were beaten and tortured in prison, and invited listeners to follow prompts to hear more information or Falun Gong songs. - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon Jul 01 2002 - 06:05:16 PDT