Taiwanese net yanked in Beijing

Gray market clampdown halts non-political cabler

SHANGHAI — In the latest twist in the media battle between mainland China’s reunifiers and Taiwan’s pro-independence lobby, Dongsen Television, the only Taiwan cable channel available in China, has been blocked in some areas of Beijing.

China has granted licenses to about 30 foreign broadcasters who beam their signals into foreign residential compounds and five-star hotels. However, overseas broadcasters continue to supply the vast “gray market” of Chinese and expat viewers across the country, usually through local housing-complex deals.

Dongsen Television, part of Taiwan’s Eastern Multimedia Group, was twice refused a broadcast license from the State Administration of Radio, Film & Television last year (Sarft).

Local media reported Dongsen was one of several channels available in Beijing residential compounds that were taken off air in December. The rest of these channels, from Germany, France and Italy, have since been allowed to resume broadcasts.

Dongsen is a general interest channel that does not cover politics.

Channels granted licenses are required to pay $100,000 to join the Sinosat satellite platform, the only legitimate vehicle for foreign broadcasters. Sarft recently announced it is stepping up efforts to stamp out gray-market broadcasters.

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