China vows to punish Falun Gong for TV piracy incident

Tuesday, 9 July 2002, 1:08 PM EST

China blames overseas activists for helping the banned group get its message onto TV screens across the country.

The pictures lasted less than half a minute and showed some Falun Gong symbols and members sitting in meditation. Top broadcast officials in China say Falun Gong and its supporters hijacked government satellite frequencies and interrupted broadcasts on June 23, reaching what they called a "vast" number of Chinese television viewers.

In Beijing Monday, China's Ministry of Information pointed the finger at unknown overseas parties that allegedly helped plan and execute the broadcast interruption. Liu Lihua, China's top broadcast regulator, refused to say exactly where the signal came from, but insists Falun Gong supporters behind it will be found and "severely punished."

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