Chinese authorities began searching homes in the Tibetan capital Lhasa this month to determine whether Tibetans are accessing foreign radio and TV programs via satellite dishes, city police and two Tibetans with knowledge of the situation said.
Broadcast offices in the Tibet Autonomous Region, including in Lhasa, along with police investigated every household on June 8-9 for illegal satellite broadcasts, according to an announcement on the website of the Lhasa police. So far, authorities have confiscated about 50 satellite dishes.
In 2009, the Chinese government provided every household in Lhasa with a government-approved satellite dish, which gave residents access to only a limited number of state-controlled programs.
It is illegal for Tibetans who have access to or watch broadcasting other than state-sanctioned programs via satellite.
“The satellite dishes in these households were installed by the Chinese government, and the satellite has only access to state-controlled programs, which are very limited,” said a Tibetan living in Lhasa who declined to be identified so as to speak freely.
“Tibetans cannot buy other satellite dishes or pay to watch other channels that have access to other news and information,” the source said. “It is deemed illegal.”
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