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Chinese media censors Hong Kong demonstration
The Epoch Times

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SHEN ZHEN, China - On July 1, as an estimated 500,000 people demonstrated against Chinese Communist policy in Hong Kong, the broadcast of the demonstration by two Hong Kong TV stations was interrupted for viewers in nearby Shen Zhen, China, and then replaced by commercials.

Over 500,000 Hong Kong residents marched through the heart of Hong Kong to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with China’s recent rulings restricting Hong Kong’s right to self-government. Media from around the world covered the event. However, Hong Kong television transmissions carrying news of the demonstration into China were first shut down, then replaced with non-stop commercials. News of the gigantic protest was not allowed to reach Chinese viewers.

Usually, residents living in Shen Zhen can view Hong Kong television without a problem. However, the same interruption of service happened exactly one year ago.

On July 1 2003 500,000 residents of Hong Kong marched to ask for the withdrawal of the proposed Article 23 legislation, causing widespread shock and alarm among Chinese officials, who did indeed withdraw the legislation. Article 23, the so-called “Anti-Subversion” legislation, was a blatant attempt by China to take over the Hong Kong government, and destroy the “One Country, Two Systems” doctrine that ensures Hong Kong a degree of autonomy.

According to a businessman in Hong Kong, “Last year on July 1st, I was in Shen Zhen. I had no idea at all that 500,000 people just across the river in Hong Kong had taken to the streets in protest. Meanwhile the Chinese media was actually reporting that the Hong Kong citizens and other prominent figures were welcoming Article 23. One week later I returned and finally found out what had really happened. It was a very big surprise.”

Whenever an event unfavorable to the Communist Party occurs, international news agencies such as the BBC and CNN will have their signals interrupted or blocked as they broadcast the event, often resulting in protests from these organizations.

About 40-60 million households in China have limited access to satellite broadcasts from abroad. However, Chinese media itself is strictly controlled and regulated by the government. The Radio and Television Department has also restricted all foreign media broadcasts to only embassies, select resorts, and a limited triangular area by the Ju Jiang River.

This year as foreign media companies renewed their licenses, the government changed the terms of the contract. According to the new rules, should a broadcast not meet the standards set by the government, the media company must be willing to accept responsibility for any loss. Some companies have been forced to postpone their license renewals because they are confused by the vague standards set by the Chinese government. They are also worried about future incidents in which the government may interrupt the broadcast of sensitive issues, which would cause great dissatisfaction among advertisers who would lose precious commercial airtime.

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