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Fight for China TV Signal Goes to Brussels

October 14, 2008

By Simon Veazey
Epoch Times
October 13, 2008

The fight to re-instate the only uncensored TV broadcast into China
was taken to the political heart of Europe on Thursday, as members of
the European parliament joined demonstrators outside the European
Commission in Brussels.

Supporters of New Tang Dynasty TV (NTDTV) demanded that
European-based satellite company Eutelsat restore its broadcast into China.

Euteslat claims that the signal was killed due to "technical
problems" -- a claim refuted by evidence of taped conversations
obtained by a press freedom organisation.

"We have witnesses from Reporters Without Borders which show us that
this was a political decision," said MEP Pierre Jonckheer. "As
members of the parliament we are now contacting the European
Commission and other authorities to make sure that Eutelsat changes
its behaviour."

Mr Jonckheer was joined by four other MEPs at the rally in Brussels
on October 8th.

NTDTV was the only Chinese language TV station broadcast reaching
into China not under the control of the Chinese communist regime. The
New York based TV station says that the broadcast, carried on
Eutelsat's W5 satellite since 2005, had the potential to reach
millions of Chinese viewers.

Eutelsat initially claimed that the abrupt halt in the transmission
of NTDTV's signal into China was due to "technical problems"
resulting to a power failure.

However Press freedom organisation Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
cited a taped phone conversation with a Eutelsat employee which
revealed the signal had been cut to curry favour with the Chinese
communist regime.

A RSF representative in Brussels said that the excuse of technical
problems was just nonsense, and that the satellite now more than had
the capacity to carry NTDTVs signal into China once again. He was
clear that the real reason for the halt of the signal was commercial
interests and political pressure.

David Hammerstein MEP said: "If we don't defend the basic principles
and objectives of the EU with regard to democracy and freedom of
speech we will have problems in China and we will have problems which
come home to roost here in Europe. We must be consistent. We must
prefer human rights over the rights of some, often European,
companies that are pushing their economic gain over the values and
objectives of the European Union."

Having visited China as a delegate of the European Parliament, MEP
Helga Trupel said she had experienced first hand the effects of
censorship in China. She described how her TV screen in a Shanghai
hotel suddenly went blank just as a TV programme about Tibet was due to start.

"That is the reality of China these days," said Ms Trupel. "There is
no free press. People don't have the possibility to be properly
informed. That is why it is so important that NTDTV has the
possibility to provide information to the citizens of China. We will
put pressure on our governments in the 27 member states to put
pressure on the French presidency.
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