Television signals illegally broadcast by Falun Gong cult devotees since Sept. 8 have cut into transmissions using the Sino Satellite (SINOSAT) system that covers the whole territory of China. The source of the illegal TV signals has been pinpointed to Taipei City in Taiwan Province.
The TV hijacking has severely affected the "TV signals to every village" program of CCTV, the leading national television station in China, the transmission of signals from China Education TV Station (CETV) and of some provincial-level TV stations. It made viewers in some remote rural and mountainous areas unable to watch TV programs as usual.
"We've utilized a wide range of technical means to monitor and analyze the hijacking signals and made an accurate positioning of the hijacking source. Specialists are completely certain about the positioning result," said Liu Lihua, director of the radio bureau of the Ministry of Information Industry.
Manipulated and commanded by the headquarters of the Falun Gong cult and its leader Li Hongzhi, the hijacking will fully trampled upon international code, disrupted the public order and committed a serious crime by sabotaging the transmissions of radio and TV programs, Liu added.
At 10:39 a.m. on September 9, Wu Feng, a technician on duty in the long-distance education center of CETV, noted that signals of all programs on the station's wide-band transmission network, which were transmitted by the SINOSAT 6A transmitter, turned abnormal and that some TV screens in the center blackened.
Technicians found in the ensuing checks that illegal TV signals, promoting the Falun Gong cult, flashed for some moments on five TV channels. Related departments took measures to counteract the TV hijacking, which monitoring data show ran for one hour and eight minutes that day.
The satellite TV programs of CETV have been affected several times since Sept. 9.
According to Min Changning, chief engineer of the SINOSAT telecommunications company, apart from the 2A and 3A SINOSAT transmitters, its 6A transmitter has also been hijacked by the Falun Gong cult members for a long period of time. As a result, programs on five channels of CETV and its 25 IP data radio programs have been severely affected.
Zhang Tianlin, CETV vice president, was indignant.
"TV programs and IP data radio programs of CETV were forced to suspend because of the hijacking," he said. "This seriously damaged the rights and interests of the audience and affected the normal education order of schools and as well as the learning activities of students."
"Our normal education plan has been interrupted, and some students might have to graduate later than scheduled," said Wang Wenyan, a teacher at the long-distance education office of Beijing University, one of the most prestigious universities in China.
He said that more than 20,000 people from remote regions such as the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region have received long-distance education provided by Beijing University.
Wang Xiuli, a student of Weichang No. 1 Middle School in Hebei Province, using Beijing's technology, was angered by the disturbance.
"My classmates and I waited all day for our chemistry lecture," she recalled. "But there was no TV image at all."
"The long-distance education is quite helpful. What right does Li Hongzhi have to deprive us of our right to study? We all feel very disgusted with it," said Wang.
"Hijacking and jamming telecommunication satellites is a severe crime," said Chen Ruming, a permanent director of the China Institute of Telecommunications.
Chen noted the great importance of satellite communications to human civilization. Currently more than 200 telecommunication satellites are in operation, making up some 3,000 satellite networks which transmit information all over the world and therefore shorten the distance between people.
The international community has set strict requirements for the normal operation of satellite telecommunications.
Both the United Nations and international telecommunications organizations have adopted international conventions and public principles to ensure that the telecommunications satellites would not be hijacked, said Chen.
"The Falun Gong cult is doomed to be condemned by the international community for trampling on the conventions and public principles with despicable means," he said.
An official with the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council said his office and relevant departments have told Taiwan authorities and the local business departments that it was a severe crime for the Falun Gong addicts to hijack SINOSAT by transmitting illegal signals from an area of Taipei City.
He said the act has treaded on established principles, seriously violated people's legal rights and interests, and deeply hurt the feelings of compatriots across the Taiwan Straits.
"It is extremely unpopular, and the Taiwan side is responsible for stopping the criminal activity immediately," said the official.
He stressed that those who support or indulge in the Falun Gongcult may lift a rock but will eventually drop it on their own feet.
While compatriots across the straits were celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival, which fell on September 21 this year, the illegal TV signals were transmitted again from Taipei by Falun Gong, which disturbed TV programs transmitted by SINOSAT.
Du Baichuan, a deputy chief engineer of the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, said that the Falun Gong cult took advantage of the Mid-Autumn Festival and launched a hijacking marathon, from 19:00 on the festival until the next morning.
"Audiences in remote, rural and mountainous areas could not watch the Moon Festival Party on TV," Du said. "It has roused people's indignation that they missed an opportunity to share the happiness of the traditional Chinese festival."
(Xinhua News Agency September 24, 2002)