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5/1/08

China Stifles Independant TV Stations in Canada

Chinese Regime Stifles TV Station in Canada

(Epoch Times)-"A string of incidents suggests the Chinese communist regime is attempting to stifle an independent Chinese television network in Canada... The most recent incident happened in late April when the Chinese consulate in Alberta pressured two provincial tourism agencies to renege on sponsorship deals with NTDTV's flagship cultural show, the Divine Performing Arts Chinese Spectacular. Tourism Calgary and Travel Alberta had planned to sponsor the show but pulled out after being contacted by Wu Xinjian, the consul-general representing the People's Repubic...

Another ongoing and unresolved issue is the broadcaster's attempt to get Rogers Cable to air NTDTV in Canada. The CRTC approved NTDTV in November 2005 but Rogers has yet to pick up the channel although a spokesperson for the company has said it plans to do so. Another Chinese-language network, Phoenix Television, which often reports favorably on the Chinese regime, gained approval from the CRTC together with NTDTV. Rogers added Phoenix to its line-up the next day. That was in 2005.

In December 2006, a group of nine state-run Chinese networks gained CRTC approval and were immediately picked up by Rogers. Those nine channels include CCTV-4, an official media mouthpiece for the Chinese Communist Party. Rogers actually sponsored the nine channels and senior executives went to China to discuss getting them aired.

The Canada Tibet Committee recently filed a complaint with the CRTC about CCTV-4's coverage of Tibet, saying the network's coverage was causing hatred towards the Dalai Lama and Tibetans among mainland Chinese immigrants in Canada. Toronto and Ottawa both had rallies of Beijing supporters waving Chinese flags and denouncing the Dalai Lama and Tibetans while also accusing western media of biased coverage of Tibet.

However, a document obtained by The Epoch Times a year ago reveals that Chinese embassy officials were implementing multiple strategies to keep the channel from airing.The hand-written memo, which was smuggled out of the embassy by a diplomat's wife, reveals that Chen Pengshan, secretary of the embassy's culture section, and several of its highest-ranking officials including Huang Huikang, were in fact attempting to keep NTDTV from airing.

"In accordance with the directives from the leader of the embassy, I immediately took actions," wrote Chen in a translation of the memo. Chen said he'd had detailed communications four times with the key players in the NTDTV application: the CRTC, Rogers Cable, and the CCTA, the cable association that sponsored NTDTV's application.

Media rights group, Reporters Without Borders, has said the regime has also pressed satellite providers not to carry NTDTV.The Epoch Times obtained another "highly classified" document from China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television dated Dec. 16, 2003 that specifically targeted the Divine Performing Arts Chinese Spectacular.

The document said, "The leadership of the central government has ordered that they [the Spectacular] be destroyed by any and all means." If that was not possible, orders were to "minimize their impact." Chinese officials sent letters to politicians, performers, and venues, urging them not to take part in the NTDTV Spectacular or show support. Another incident took place in 2004 when a Chinese consular official directly ordered one of the organizers of a Chinese street festival to kick NTDTV out of the event. That matter is now before the courts.

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