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Satellite Dishes Get Static From Beijing

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CHINA has imposed harsh restrictions on the use of satellite dishes nationwide in an effort to deflect foreign airwaves that it deems subversive. The restriction of satellite dishes is part of a sweeping effort by the conservative leadership to close China to outside ideas.

Since the June 1989 crackdown on liberal dissent, the leadership has sought to eradicate newspapers, magazines, and electronic media that promote ``bourgeois liberalization.'' Beijing last month announced a renewed effort to stop publications featuring politically threatening themes.

Satellite dishes sprouted atop leading hotels and regional television stations in the last decade as China opened itself up to foreign contacts. Still, only a small minority have access to foreign broadcasts.

Conservative leaders believe that images of ``people power'' in the Philippines and South Korea helped spur the popular uprising in Beijing and other Chinese cities in the spring of 1989, say Chinese officials.

Sheng Yilai, from the world news department of China Central Television, says ``Foreign media and television programs influence Chinese views and to a certain extent this led to the turmoil of last year.''

The regulations, drawn up in part by China's secret police, require all offices capable of receiving foreign satellite transmissions to obtain a license from the Ministry of Radio, Film, and Television.

Beijing restricts the shows an office may receive, the satellite its dish may be aimed at, and the eventual audience of the broadcast, according to a copy of the regulations. Offices must file a record of taped shows with the police and allow only ``specially assigned personnel'' to maintain archives.


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