Chinese Grill Murdoch TV Unit

23 August 2005

The capitalist comrades steering the globe's third largest economy are decidedly less eager to import foreign TV content than they are foreign cash.

China's trade commissars are currently investigating arrangements between overseas content providers and local cable operators, the latter being forbidden to broadcast foreign programming without state permission.

Centered in the spotlight is Beijing Rejian Hulian Advertisement Company (aka Beijing Hotkey Internet) in which News Corporation's Star TV unit has a stake.

Caressing a short length of rubber hose, an official at the Beijing Industrial and Commercial Bureau's Dongcheng district branch (which has jurisdiction over NewsCorp's Beijing office), said: "Beijing Hotkey is under investigation" to determine whether it leased satellite channels illegally.

This was confirmed by Tan Yadong, vp for channel development at Star TV: "NewsCorp is under investigation by the Industrial and Commercial Bureau, and the cooperation with unapproved local cable networks is one of the reasons."

Chinese regulations ban the airing of foreign channels such as CNN, HBO and the BBC - other than in residence compounds for foreigners and upmarket hotels catering for business and tourist visitors. Foreign channels are allowed to sell and transmit signals only through via state-controlled China International Television Corporation.

However, it seems NewsCorp and other capitalist-running-dog foreign broadcasters have taken advantage of a loophole in the rules and infected the minds of the proletariat with western ideas.

But there is no truth in the rumor that Rupert Murdoch will be shot at dawn in the steps of the Palace of the People. It is feared that such a move might slow the inflow of foreign currencies.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff