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Chinese nix live coverage

Falun Gong sabotage fears interrupt speech, swearing in

HONG KONG — Fears of sabotage by the Falun Gong, the controversial religious sect banned by the Chinese government, forced two mainland TV stations to scrap live coverage of official speeches last week celebrating the fifth anniversary of Hong Kong’s hand-over to China.

The English-language daily South China Morning Post reported that official state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) and Phoenix Chinese TV feared Falun Gong followers would interrupt the broadcast of President Jiang Zemin’s speech from Hong Kong and the swearing in ceremony for the new chief executive, Tung Chee-hwa, and his cabinet.

Last month the paper reported that Falun Gong followers twice managed to intercept satellite signals in China to broadcast pro-Falun Gong messages lasting from a few seconds to several minutes.

Those incidents are being investigated by mainland security officials.

CCTV later carried a taped version of the president’s Hong Kong speech.

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