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World - Asia/Pacific

Tiananmen

Beijing authorities shut down CNN signal

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Tiananmen Square anniversary

June 2, 1999
Web posted at: 4:11 a.m. EDT (0811 GMT)

BEIJING (CNN) -- The Beijing Public Security bureau has ordered all hotels, office buildings, and apartments that normally receive CNN to shut down the signal until June 8 -- four days past this Friday's anniversary of the violent government crackdown in 1989 against democracy demonstrators who had gathered in Tiananmen Square.

"Because of recent programs about 'June 4th' broadcast on the American CNN TV station, the Public Security Bureau and the Tourism Bureau have decided to require all departments to stop receiving the CNN signal until June 8th," said a written document issued to building security departments around the city.

The order was issued on Monday morning by a department of the Beijing Public Security Bureau in charge of all hotels, office buildings and apartments open to overseas nationals, CNN has learned.

By Tuesday evening, the CNN signal had been shut off nearly everywhere around Beijing with the exception of diplomatic compounds, where diplomats and journalists live and work.

In the event of guest complaints or inquirires, the document advised building and hotel managers to tell guests that "the satellite signal is experiencing problems."

It also advised managers to "increase their political alertness," stressing that any unusual events or activities must be reported to the Public Security Bureau at once.

Hotel and building managers contacted by CNN cited maintenance as the reason for the loss of the CNN signal.

But one hotel staffer who declined to give his name said: "I hear it's been shut off all over the city for the rest of the week." Another said: "It seems to have something to do with the political climate these days. But you'll have to ask the Tourism Bureau."

As of Wednesday afternoon, it appeared that the order was limited to Beijing. Hotels contacted in other major cities continued to receive the CNN signal as usual.

CNN International is distributed and sold legally in China, in conjunction with Chinese government-approved partners.


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