Falun Gong hack CCTV satellite

China's banned Falun Gong movement hacks national TV satellites, to the consternation of the government. Viewers all over China report seeing a banner praising the dissident sect.

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By  David Cass Published  July 3, 2002

Supporters of the banned Falun Gong sect in China have hacked into a satellite carrying the state-run China Central Television's (CCTV) 10 channels, as well as 10 provincial channels in their most audacious hijacking of the country's television sector to date. This latest attack is likely to cause extra concern because of the Peoples Republic’s ambitions as an international broadcaster. The Beijing based Greatlink Media is preparing to launch the country’s first English language TV channel, delivered by satellite to Europe and the USA. The government will want to increase security against hackers before that service goes to air.

According to the web-based news service Advanced-Television.com, viewers reported seeing a blurred image of a banner bearing the Chinese characters 'Falun Gong is good' as programming on the CCTV channels and an equal number of services aimed at individual provinces was interrupted for 20 seconds on a Sunday evening in June.

Local public security authorities throughout China said transmissions in some cities were interrupted for up to 15 minutes twice in a week. Rural areas had their programming cut completely as officials blacked out TV screens to find out the source of the interruptions.

June's incidents follow others in January, March and April. The longest interruption reported so far was in March, when the Changchun Cable TV operation in Jilin province that has 300,000 subscribers ran a documentary about Falun Gong for nearly an hour.

It has been suggested that Falun Gong supporters have been using a portable three metre diameter satellite dish to interrupt transmissions. Chinese leaders regard Falun Gong as a major threat to the stability of the country and its practitioners are routinely imprisoned. However Falun Gong followers regularly stage demonstrations at key public events to the embarrassment of the government.

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