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Thursday, 7 March, 2002, 15:01 GMT
Falun Gong breaks onto China's airwaves
Police break up Falun Gong protest in Beijing on 7 March
China's drive against Falun Gong has not relented
China's banned Falun Gong spiritual movement has managed to make an uncut TV transmission to the northeast of the country.

Viewers in Changchun city in the province of Jilin told Reuters news agency the broadcast went out on Tuesday evening on cable TV channels.

Li Hongzhi, photographed in 1999
Potentially one-million cable subscribers saw Li's face on the TV

The programme, which condemned the Communist state's crackdown on the movement, replaced state television for about 50 minutes.

"There was a brief blackout and then there was Li Hongzhi speaking," one viewer told Reuters, referring to the movement's US-based leader.

The broadcast accused the authorities of staging the self-immolation of two alleged Falun Gong members on Beijing's central Tiananmen Square last year.

Falun Gong's office in New York said it had broadcast two films on eight of the 32 TV channels broadcast to Changchun, starting at 2000 local time on Tuesday

It said the films, entitled "Immolation or deceit" and "Falun Gong spreads through the world", had the potential to reach 300,000 homes and an audience of more than one-million people.

Investigation

The French news agency AFP quoted a cable TV employee as saying the broadcast was being investigated.


An inquiry has been opened to find out who was responsible for this business

Cable TV source

"An inquiry has been opened to find out who was responsible for this business", the source said.

Reuters quoted a city official in Changchun as saying a high-powered team of investigators had been dispatched from Beijing.

According to an unconfirmed report on Falun Gong's website, at least three people have been arrested in Changchun in connection with the broadcast.

See also:

15 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
Falun Gong Britons expelled from China
14 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
Eyewitness: Falun Gong arrests
21 Nov 01 | Asia-Pacific
China expels Western 'cult' members
08 May 01 | Asia-Pacific
'Why do they persecute us?'
07 Mar 02 | Asia-Pacific
China detains Falun Gong protesters
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