("CBC News," November 14, 2007)
Ottawa, Canada - A controversial documentary, Beyond The Red Wall: The Persecution of Falun Gong, will be broadcast on the CBC documentary program The Lens Nov. 20 after it was pulled earlier this month following a complaint from the Chinese embassy.
The film follows the story of Canadian Kunlun Zhang, an artist and professor at McGill University, who was arrested and jailed for nearly three years in a Chinese labour camp. It examines the Falun Gong movement and attempts by the Chinese government to quash it.
Director Peter Rowe said he was only informed hours before his film was pulled from the lineup on November 6.
The switch came after the Chinese Embassy contacted the CBC, said CBC spokesman Jeff Keay. He said CBC officials learned that a Falun Gong publication had been running stories that touted the broadcaster as a supporter of the spritual movement.
The CBC requested certain edits to the film and Rowe complied.
"We determined that there were opportunities to make [the documentary] more journalistically solid and therefore more credible," Keay said at the time.
The lobby group Canadians Against Propaganda criticized the move, saying the Communist Party of China should not be able to impose any demands on the CBC.
("CP," November 08, 2007)
Ottawa, Canada - CBC Television pulled a heavily promoted documentary on the persecution of Falun Gong members at the last minute, following objections from Chinese embassy and consulate officials.
Beyond the Red Wall: The Persecution of Falun Gong was supposed to have aired Tuesday night as part of CBC Newsworld's documentary series The Lens.
It was advertised for days in advance on the 24-hour news network.
Instead, the network slotted in a previously aired piece on Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.
CBC spokesman Jeff Keay said Wednesday that the corporation had received calls from an official at the Chinese embassy in Ottawa, as well as others from the consulate in Toronto, prior to the documentary airing.
None of them had seen the film.
"We want to make sure it's an absolutely rigorous piece of work because it's become clear over the past 24 to 36 hours that there's a lot of interest in the thing," said Keay. "We want to make sure it's a solid piece of work that will stand up to intense scrutiny."
He added the network intends to air it as soon as it has completed a review.
Documentary producer Peter Rowe said he was surprised to hear from the CBC only a few hours before his item was supposed to run.
The documentary was licensed by the CBC in 2004, and received funding from both Telefilm Canada and the Canadian Television Fund, he said.
It had been reviewed by the public broadcaster's lawyers and senior editors late last year, and a person was assigned to promote it, Rowe said.
The documentary actually aired on the CBC late one night in 2006 without promotion. It also aired on the CBC's French-language network, Radio-Canada. A Chinese embassy official appears in the film.
"If the American government had tried to put this pressure on the CBC not to run this kind of documentary, you can imagine what kind of reaction they would have had internally," said Rowe.
"With China, it's felt like we have to treat them in a very special way."
The Chinese government made it illegal to follow Falun Gong in 1999, saying the spiritual movement was a threat to political stability in the country. Human rights organizations have reported executions and torture of Falun Gong members by Beijing.
One of the contentious parts of the documentary deals with Chinese news reports about four Falun Gong followers setting themselves on fire in Beijing. Rowe's production argues the story was a hoax, set up by the Chinese government to make the religious sect seem cult-like and unstable.
(AFP, August 31, 2007)
Sydney, Australia - A newspaper sympathetic to the Falun Gong spiritual movement Friday said it has been accredited to cover the upcoming APEC leaders summit, in a move likely to anger the Chinese delegation.
Epoch Times journalist Shar Adams said she had been cleared to cover the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum which will be attended by Chinese President Hu Jintao.
APEC officials refused to comment on individual accreditation but said that Australia enjoyed freedom of the media and any legitimate journalists who passed strict security checks would have been considered to cover the summit.
The discussion about accrediting the Epoch Times, which has previously been denied APEC access, was reportedly taken to the highest levels of the Australian government.
Adams said her newspaper, which publishes from cities around the world, regularly ran articles highly critical of the Chinese government, including the alleged persecution of Falun Gong supporters.
"Epoch Times covers Falun Gong issues because that's really the greatest human rights atrocity happening in China," she told AFP.
"It's not frightened to be critical of China, and we cover a range of human rights abuses in China."
Adams, who confirmed she had been accredited to cover the September 2-9 APEC Leaders' Week, said there was no reason why Epoch Times journalists should be denied the chance to cover the meetings.
Falun Gong, which was outlawed as an "evil cult" by China in 1999, has planned several protests during the summit.
by Ellsworth Carter (AP, July 12, 2007)
Roseau, Dominica - Dominica expelled eight tourists belonging to the Falun Gong spiritual movement during a visit by a senior Chinese official, prompting opposition criticism Thursday that the government was squashing free speech rights.
The eight French women - adherents to the sect outlawed by Beijing - were distributing copies of a U.N. report on Chinese human rights violations last week as China's deputy parliament speaker, Gu Xiulian, made diplomatic rounds on the Caribbean island.
They were detained and sent to the nearby French island of Guadeloupe for engaging in activities incompatible with their status as tourists, police spokesman Jefferson Ferrol said. He did not elaborate.
Opposition leader Edison James accused Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit's administration of subverting democracy to placate China, which established relations with Dominica after the Caribbean nation severed diplomatic ties to Taiwan in 2004.
It is the attitude of this government to stifle discussion in this country that might not be comfortable for our Chinese friend, James, a former premier, told The Associated Press.
Government officials declined to comment on the expulsion of the French tourists.
Falun Gong has attracted millions of followers with a mix of traditional Chinese calisthenics and doctrines drawn from Buddhism, Taoism and the ideas of its founder, Li Hongzhi. Beijing banned it as a threat to public safety and communist rule in 1999.
Since then, thousands of followers have been detained in China, and scores are reported to have died in police custody from beatings or mistreatment.
(AFP, June 25, 2007)
Hong Kong, China - A top Taiwanese member of Falun Gong was Monday repatriated after being denied entry to Hong Kong to protest in the run-up to the 10th anniversary of the city's return to Chinese rule.
Theresa Chu, a lawyer, arrived in the territory on Sunday evening but was refused entry because her visit was "not conducive to public good," she was told by an immigration officer, said the Hong Kong Association of Falun Dafa, part of Falun Gong.
An officer at the airport immigration department told AFP that Chu, who had successfully entered the former British colony last week with a valid travel document, was repatriated on Monday morning.
She could not be reached on her Hong Kong mobile phone but Kan Hung-cheung, a spokesman at Falun Daf.
He said more than 100 Taiwanese members of Falun Gong, outlawed in China as a dangerous sect, have also been denied entry here for a series of protests planned in the run-up to the anniversary of the handover on July 1.
It was not the first time Chu has had difficulties getting into Hong Kong. In 2003, Chu and more than 80 other Falun Gong practitioners were denied entry on arrival to attend the group's activities.
She is one of the plaintiffs in a joint application involving Taiwanese and Hong Kong practitioners for a judicial review of refused entries.
China outlawed the Falun Gong, which combines meditation with Buddhist-inspired teachings, as an "evil cult" in mid-1999 and practitioners have subsequently faced often brutal repression.
There are an estimated 300,000 Falun Gong adherents in Taiwan.
("Interfax," May 15, 2007)
Moscow, Russia - Chinese national Gao Chunman has been denied refugee status and deported from Russia, the Federal Migration Service said on Monday.
Gao, born in 1934, was flown to his homeland from St. Petersburg on Sunday evening.
"The court examined all the circumstances of his stay in Russia and denied him refugee status finding no legal grounds for his presence in Russia," the spokesman said.
Gao said he had been a practitioner of Falun Gong, banned in China in 1999, the spokesman said.
"No documents were produced proving that Gao Chunman would be harassed in his home country or that his life would be threatened for political reasons in China," he said.
The Chinese side also offered guarantees that Gao would not be persecuted in his homeland, the spokesman said.
At the end of March, Russia deported Ma Hui to China. Russian human rights activists criticized the deportation decision because according to their knowledge Ma Hui had been an advocate of the Falun Gong spiritual movement.
("Kyodo," May 03, 2007)
Hong Kong, China - The Hong Kong faction of Falun Gong, a religious group branded as an evil cult by Beijing, denied Thursday any involvement in hacking satellite television programs in southern China on May Day.
The Chinese newspaper Nanfang Daily reported earlier that on Tuesday night television viewers complained about intercepted signals that carried antigovernment materials for about 30 to 40 seconds.
The Hunan satellite channel was automatically tuned to the Guangdong satellite channel and some viewers got blue or color-stripes while some saw antigovernment slogans and pictures, the report said.
The Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao Daily quoted a Guangdong police spokesman as saying they suspect Falun Gong was responsible for the trouble.
But Kan Hung-cheung, spokesman for Falun Gong's Hong Kong faction, denied the group was involved.
"In the past, Falun Gong has intercepted television channels in the mainland to expose how authorities persecuted our fellow practitioners," Kan told Kyodo News. "But posting antigovernment materials seems not to be our protocol. We support those who defect from the Communist Party and we want to break it up peacefully, but I am not sure if we were involved in the interception."
Falun Gong, established in 1992 by Li Hongzhi who is reportedly residing in the United States after fleeing China in 1998 to avoid persecution, teaches meditation exercises with mixed elements of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism.
Along with a few other spiritual movements, it was branded an "evil cult" in 1999 after more than 10,000 practitioners staged a silent protest by surrounding Zhongnanhai, the heart of the Chinese government in Beijing.
According to Ming Pao, Beijing has blamed Falun Gong for intercepting television broadcasts in the past in a bid to promote the religion by interfering with satellite Sinosat-1, which provides local and overseas broadcasts for China.
(Reuters, April 05, 2007)
Moscow, Russia - Authorities have deported a follower of the Falun Gong spiritual group and her daughter to China, where they face persecution, human rights activists said Wednesday.
Russian followers of the group, which is banned in China, said Ma Hui and her daughter Ma Jin, 18, were detained by immigration officials on March 28 and immediately put on a plane bound for Beijing.
Their detention coincided with the final day of an official visit to Russia by Chinese President Hu Jintao.
The Federal Immigration Service has made no official statement on the expulsion and was not available for comment on Wednesday.
Ma Hui had been living in St. Petersburg for several years, said Ivan Shkodyuk, a senior Russian Falun Gong follower.
by Josh Gerstein ("NY Sun," March 02, 2007)
New York, USA - A federal judge has handed a victory to Falun Gong practitioners by allowing them to proceed with a lawsuit accusing diplomatic missions of the People's Republic of China of waging a campaign of intimidation and violence against the meditative sect on American soil.
The case, filed in 2002, claims that "thugs" hired by Chinese officials committed various crimes, including the burglary of the apartment of a Falun Gong follower in New York and the firebombing of the car of an adherent in Chicago. "It was destroyed simply because he had Falun Gong posters in the back," an attorney for the sect members, Martin McMahon, said.
In a 19-page ruling, Judge Ricardo Urbina said most of the claims made against the Chinese ministries of state security and public security were barred by sovereign immunity. However, he said the allegation that the Chinese government hired goons to intimidate opponents in America could be pursued because the alleged payment of those workers is an economic activity that can be the subject of litigation in American courts.
"Until the defendant provides some countervailing evidence or argument indicating that this alleged commercial act (the negligent hiring of dangerous thugs) is subsumed within sovereign immunity, the court rules that it is not," Judge Urbina, who sits in Washington, wrote. The judge also said the Falun Gong members could proceed with their claim that China's state-owned television network, CCTV, forced a Washington-area television station to drop a program produced by members of the sect.
Another lawyer for the Falun Gong followers, Lisa Angelo, said she was "very pleased" with the judge's decision because similar lawsuits filed in other American courts have been tossed out. "This might be the only complaint that has stuck," she said.
A spokesman at the Chinese Embassy in Washington did not respond to a phone message seeking comment for this article. The Chinese government has outlawed Falun Gong as an "evil cult" and has blamed the group for brainwashing its members.
The Chinese ministries and CCTV never filed a formal response to the complaint, which was translated into Chinese and served through established diplomatic procedures. However, a group identifying itself as the China Society of Private International Law sent the court two legal briefs urging the dismissal of the case.
While Judge Urbina allowed the lawsuit to proceed, he also expressed doubt that the plaintiffs will be able to prove that Chinese officials directed any acts of violence that occurred. He noted that the complaint does not name the alleged perpetrators, but refers to them with phrases such as "John Doe Thugs" and "a Chinese male holding a bolt cutter."
"The court wonders how the plaintiffs plan to support these allegations, perhaps by deposing the unknown individual,' and waits with baited breath to review the transcript," the judge wrote.
Lawyers for the victims of the alleged violence said the normal next step would be to ask the defendants to identify the employees involved. However, since the Chinese agencies have not officially responded to the complaint, that route is unlikely to be productive.
("DPA," February 15, 2007)
Singapore - Six followers of the Falun Gong spiritual movement have been fined the maximum 1,000 Singapore dollars (645 US dollars) for taking part in an illegal assembly protesting treatment of fellow practitioners in China, news reports said on Thursday.
During the 16-day trial, the prosecution showed District Judge Terence Chua a video tape taken by an officer, The Straits Times said.
It showed the women distributing and displaying placards and banners in a busy shopping area accusing the Chinese government of atrocities against Falun Gong members.
While the group is legal in Singapore, it is banned in China.
The women - Pang Su Chin, 56, You Xin, 38, Wang Yuyi, 51, Ang Soh Yan, 48, Ng Chye Huay, 42, and Cheng Lujin, 39 - were not represented by lawyers. They paid the fines.
Demonstrations and other gatherings are prohibited in the city- state without a police permit.
The women said that the video tape had been tampered with, but prosecution witnesses denied any editing.
The six insisted that they had done nothing wrong.
Ng has three previous convictions, two of which were on similar charges, while Cheng has one, the report said.
by Terence Chea (AP, February 14, 2007)
San Francisco, USA - Followers of the Falun Gong spiritual movement did not suffer discrimination when it was barred from marching in a Chinese New Year Parade funded by the city, a judge ruled Wednesday.
The Chinese Chamber of Commerce excluded Falun Gong from last year's parade and this year's on March 3 because Falun Gong previously violated a ban on political activity.
Superior Court Judge Patrick Mahoney agreed with the Human Rights Commission's conclusion that the business organization was within its rights to keep Falun Gong out of the parade.
The spiritual movement challenged the city's funding of the event. The city contributes $77,000 of the parade's $800,000 budget, plus police protection.
Attorneys for Falun Gong had argued that once a private group accepts government money for an event, it loses its right to choose who can participate. Falun Gong plans an appeal.
Attorneys for San Francisco said that cultural events are by nature exclusive to the culture they represent, and that city law allows organizers to select participants.
Falun Gong practitioners allege that local Chinese businessmen are bowing to pressure from the Chinese government, which considers Falun Gong a dangerous cult and has banned the group.
Falun Gong mixes elements of Buddhism, Taoism and traditional Chinese thought with meditation and simple exercises.
(AP, January 31, 2007)
Singapore - Six Singapore-based followers of the Falun Gong spiritual movement were in court on Wednesday facing charges of holding a protest without a permit in the tightly controlled city-state.
The group, made up of ethnic Chinese women aged from 37 to 55 years, were charged in April last year with taking part in an unauthorized assembly the previous October in the busy Orchard Road shopping area. If convicted, they face a maximum fine of 1,000 Singapore dollars (US$630; euro500).
The court on Wednesday was shown police security footage shot at the scene in which the women were seen carrying banners and distributing flyers in pairs or groups of three as they walked along the main shopping avenue.
The printed material was said to describe the alleged atrocities committed against Falun Gong followers in China, where authorities have outlawed the group and violently suppress it as a cult.
The defendants - who are Pang Su Chin, 55, You Xin, 37, Wang Yuyi, 50, Ang Soh Yan, 47, Ng Chye Huay, 41, and Cheng Lujin, 38 - have denied the charges.
They were representing themselves in the trial because they could not find a lawyer who was willing to defend them, said Wang, one of the defendants and spokeswoman of Singapore's Falun Buddha Society.
"Worldwide, people go to Chinese embassies to protest, to tell the truth about the persecution of the Falun Gong members in China,'' Wang said outside court. "We are Falun Gong practitioners outside China. We are lucky we have access to the international media, and the best thing we can do is to tell the truth.''
Falun Gong is not outlawed in Singapore, but public assemblies require prior permission from police, and authorities have previously arrested members on similar charges. Protests and demonstrations are rare in the Southeast Asian country.
Singapore's authorities regularly come under fire from international human rights groups for tightly restricting speech and assembly. The authorities say such controls provide the stability that has helped turn the Southeast Asian city-state into a global economic powerhouse.
(AP, January 19, 2007)
San Francisco, USA - Chinese government officials want audiences to boycott a touring musical show celebrating the Lunar New Year, arguing the production is little more than propaganda for the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement which they consider a dangerous cult.
Performances of the popular "Chinese New Year Spectacular" are being held at high-profile venues in 28 cities worldwide, including Radio City Music Hall in New York City and San Francisco's War Memorial Opera House, where audience members paid up to $168 (€130) per ticket earlier this month.
The variety show, now in its fourth year and themed "Myths and Legends," features singers, musicians and dancers in elaborate costumes and celestial settings. Several segments reference Falun Gong's spiritual beliefs and persecution in China. One dance depicts a practitioner who is jailed, beaten and killed by Chinese policemen who are later punished by supernatural beings.
Chinese officials in the United States and Canada, however, say the show is little more than another venue for the Falun Gong movement, which is banned in China, to air its views.
"We strongly oppose the show because Falun Gong is an evil cult," said Jian Huali, acting spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington. "This is not a real Chinese culture show. It's a very politicized show ... so people should not go to show their support."
On its Web site, the embassy calls the gala a "political tool used by Falun Gong organization to expand its influence and spread cult and anti-China propaganda."
Falon Gong followers say they have been persecuted and tortured in China for their belief system, which combines elements of Buddhism, Taoism and the ideas of its founder, a former government grain clerk named Li Hongzhi, with meditation and simple exercises to improve health and well being.
Organizers of the show say the musical extravaganza is a celebration of traditional Chinese culture and values much of which was destroyed after the Communists came to power in 1949.
"It's not about politics," said Ying Chen, a China-born practitioner who lives in New Jersey and serves as the show's stage manager, adding, however, that "We feel the persecution of Falun Gong is a major story that's unfolding today. We think it does deserve the attention of the world."
Chen said she was not surprised by the Chinese government's reaction and believes that official Chinese pressure was behind a decision to cancel a scheduled performance in South Korea earlier this month. She also said that some performers have backed out because they fear reprisal from Beijing.
The movement, which initially drew millions of followers throughout the 1990s, was outlawed in 1999 after adherents staged a massive demonstration outside the main government compound in Beijing.
Thousands were jailed or sent to labor camps as the government launched a campaign to discredit and eradicate the sect, which officials view as a threat to social stability. Government critics say Chinese officials fear the movement challenges their political power.
Patrick Hunt, an archaeologist who saw the San Francisco show this month, said he and his wife enjoyed the music and dancing, but was surprised by the Falun Gong elements and "would be happier if that stuff was taken out."
"It was very clear within a few minutes that this was not just about culture and art," said Hunt, an admirer of Chinese culture who paid about $120 (€93) for two tickets. "I suspect that others might have felt a little disgruntled. I was curious more than anything else since I don't know anything about Falun Gong."
The protest over the musical production is another volley in the ongoing public relations war between China and Falun Gong a battle which the group is arguably losing, at least in the eyes of many Chinese Americans who view it as a cult.
In San Francisco, Falun Gong practitioners have sued the city after organizers of the annual Chinese New Year Parade barred the group from participating. The Chinese Chamber of Commerce, which directs the event, says the group is too political, while Falun Gong followers say the chamber is discriminating against them to appease Beijing.
A hearing is scheduled for later this month, and adherents hope they can join this year's parade, celebrating the Year of the Pig, in early March.
Observers say Falun Gong has become increasingly sophisticated in spreading its message through the widely circulated Epoch Times newspaper and New Tang Dynasty Television. Both were founded by Falun Gong supporters and feature anti-communist news and commentary.
"They're clearly out there to reach the general public," said Ling-chi Wang, an Asian American Studies professor at the University of California, Berkeley. "You have to be impressed by their ability to put these things out there, whether it's through a newspaper, television or cultural performance."
The Chinese New Year Spectacular, presented by New Tang Dynasty Television, appears to be another attempt to reach a mainstream audience, but the group risks alienating audience members who are not aware of the show's Falun Gong themes, said David Lee, who teaches politics at San Francisco State University.
"They risk turning off people who would otherwise be receptive to their message," Lee said. "Americans don't want to pay for their propaganda."
All three shows at San Francisco's opera house, which seats about 3,300 people, were nearly sold out. Booking director Jennifer Norris there said there were no complaints from audience members.
(AP, January 05, 2007)
New York, USA - In early January, a U.S. edition of The Epoch Times published a list of what its editors considered the Top 10 news stories of 2006. Not surprisingly, the war in Iraq was first. The second story, however, was less predictable: "China's Human Rights Movement Grows."
The subject may not have made other news organizations' Top 10 lists, but The Epoch Times is not a typical media outlet. It was launched in 2000 by Falun Gong members, and has since rapidly expanded its Web and print presence.
As it has grown, The Epoch Times has tried to carve a place for itself in the mainstream media while distinguishing itself from Falun Gong, a spiritual movement the Chinese government has banned and denounced as a cult.
"It's not a Falun Gong newspaper," said Stephen Gregory, chairman of the board for English-language editions. "Falun Gong is a question of an individual's belief. The paper's not owned by Falun Gong, it doesn't speak for Falun Gong, it doesn't represent Falun Gong. It does cover the persecution of Falun Gong in China."
Some observers aren't convinced. They say The Epoch Times appears to be a major element of a global public relations campaign by Falun Gong to gain sympathy and new followers.
"This is a strategy for the Falun Gong to expand its outreach to the non-followers and non-believers of Falun Gong," said Ming Xia, a political science professor at the College of Staten Island. "To some degree, Epoch Times indicates a part of the Falun Gong strategy to embed itself into the large civil society for influence and legitimacy."
Several messages seeking comment from Chinese embassy officials in Washington were not returned. In the past, officials have called The Epoch Times as "a propaganda tool."
Falun Gong is a broad, loosely based movement that combines parts of Buddhism, Taoism and the ideas of its founder, Li Hongzhi, with meditation and simple exercises. It lacks a central hierarchy, so to say it "owns" something can be technically inaccurate. But many Epoch Times staffers, including Gregory, are part of the movement.
The movement, which drew millions of followers throughout the 1990s, was outlawed in 1999 after adherents staged a massive demonstration outside the Chinese government's main compound in Beijing. Thousands were jailed or sent to labor camps as the government tried to discredit and eradicate the sect, which officials view as a threat to social stability and communist rule.
The Epoch Times began as a Web site based in an Atlanta suburb after its founders grew alarmed about what was happening to fellow Falun Gong members in China, Gregory said.
It has since blossomed into a large operation that has offices in 30 countries, publishes in 17 languages on the Web and 10 languages in print, and boasts total weekly circulation of 1.4 million.
English editions in New York are weeklies, and at the top, they promise "A fresh look at our changing world." The word "epoch" means a distinctive period of time.
A recent English edition in New York had front-page stories about the warm weather and the papers of Martin Luther King Jr. The news organization's coverage of China, however, is strident and critical. Reports have included stories about China allegedly harvesting the organs of Falun Gong members.
Gregory said Epoch Times correspondents in China have been harassed, imprisoned and tortured. Some of the incidents have been documented by the Committee to Protect Journalists. The paper reaches the Chinese through travelers and people who circumvent Internet censors.
Gregory says the paper provides coverage that is lacking from Western media outlets and state-run news outlets in China.
It is unclear exactly who owns the paper and how it receives much of its funding. An Associated Press reporter was allowed a brief visit to The Epoch Times headquarters in Manhattan, but wasn't allowed to interview anyone beyond Gregory.
"If we were to discuss who the ownership is, I believe that would put them in a situation in which they would be under a great deal of pressure," Gregory said.
Many Chinese business and community leaders are wary of The Epoch Times because they worry its Falun Gong connections could endanger their relations with Chinese authorities. Gregory said those who advertise in the paper often get calls from the Chinese consulate telling them not to.
An Epoch Times reporter shouted at Chinese President Hu Jintao during a White House ceremony in 2006. Soon afterward, The Epoch Times and the reporter, who had been deeply involved in the organ-harvesting stories, agreed she should leave the staff, Gregory said.
("CBC," January 02, 2007)
Ottawa, Canada - The Falun Dafa Association of Canada has vowed to keep fighting a decision by Canada's broadcast regulator to approve nine digital TV stations from mainland China.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission gave the go-ahead for the Chinese-language stations on Dec. 22.
The Falun Dafa Association, a group that represents the Falun Gong spiritual discipline, had vigorously opposed the applications before the CRTC because of coverage by China's CCTV-4, one of the stations, which it termed "abusive."
State-owned CCTV had aired negative news stories about the group in 1999 and 2001, during a large demonstration by Falun Gong practitioners in China.
While the CRTC agreed that CCTV coverage of the Falun Gong was abusive, it said it found no evidence "that the offending stories aired in 1999 and 2001 are typical of the content currently aired on CCTV-4."
The CRTC said it approved the nine channels as part of its policy that non-Canadian third-language television services should be approved to promote cross-cultural understanding.