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[liberationtech] Research on illegal satellite receivers?

Hu Ben ben.hugh at
Fri Jan 20 18:35:18 PST 2012

Hi, Brian

   ​at least In mainland China, its a vibrant industry to set up illegal
dishes to receive foreign broadcasting.  you will have brochures on your
doorstep advertising for " free, up to date Hongkong/taiwan/japan tv shows"
and if you call  them, there will be some guy coming to your home, offer
you a "menu" to choose different stations, and he will figure out which
satelites he need to point at and decoders and everything, set it up in 2
hours. for about 200 dollars you can get BBC,DW, CNN and everything. at
least that's how much I payed.

      Government do crack down upon these dishes, from time to time you
will hear that Chinese Radio Frequency Authority drive through neighborhood
to spot ilegal dishes, and fine the owner, or raid local "electrical
market" to shut down these business. it can drive the price up a little
bit,  but that's it. this is capitalism with Chinese characteristics.

   according to my experience in Vietnam, government control on illegal
dishes is much more loose compare to China, every little family-runed hotel
in Hanoi, or Saigon all have access to CNN, BBC, so on. you can also notice
more dishes hanging outside of windows.

   I think the tricky part is, most Chinese who set up their dishes are
just for HongKong/Taiwan entertainment tv shows. the problem in hand would
be, do people really want to watch un-censored news.  and of course, don't
even bother if these news are not in their native language, Vietnamese or

胡贲  Hu Ben
南方周末 Southern Weekend
斯坦福大学耐特学者  Knight Fellow '2012 at Stanford
Cell: (+86)18602004917  China
         (+1)650 283 2876  U.S.
邮箱   Email:   ben.hugh at <Aben.hugh at>
MSN Messenger   hubensysu at

Come writers and critics
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For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.
                       -- Bob Dylan

On Fri, Jan 20, 2012 at 6:08 PM, Brian Conley <brianc at>wrote:

> Hi all,
> I'm wondering if anyone knows of research into illegal satellite dishes,
> particularly where there is a state broadcaster and other services are
> tightly controlled or outright illegal. I'm doing some research into the
> feasibility of broadcasting satellite news into such countries, but
> wondering how practical it really is to expect locals to modify dishes or
> purchase illegal decoders.
> Thanks as always!
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