Is Satellite TV Legal In China?

Is Satellite TV Legal In China? This is truly a very complicated question in China. The question has been puzzling people for a long time since the introduction of small sized satellite dishes a decade ago, until now it’s still a evolving situation, in terms of if it is legal for a general individual to have satellite signal reception equipment.

Part One: in China

According to law under “Radio and Television General Administration of Cultural Management”, possessing all kind of satellite signal reception equipment is illegal to Chinese citizens. The law was made in year 1992 and it has not be revised since then, if some other different or relatively more flexible laws are there allowing it in some degrees.

The title of the regulation is copied here:
PROVISIONS ON THE CONTROL OF GROUND RECEIVING
INSTALLATIONS FOR SATELLITE TELEVISION BROADCASTING
AND THE“DETAILED RULES FOR IMPLEMENTATION”

Decree of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China
No.129

The regulations was valid since August 1993, it was revised on 1996. Some said that it was cancelled by another law in year 2002, State Council Regulation (2002) No.24. Others said that different cities and province have different regulations, in year 2009 there was a revised regulation allowing licensed service providers to offer limited access to the services.

2009:Interim Measures for the Installation of Ground Receiving Facilities of Satellite Television Broadcasting 

The new law is valid since January 1st, 2010.

Licensed provider is able to offer the services to customers who should apply for another type of license to buy it. It sounds complicated but that’s the procedure.

Conclusion: We can say since year 2010 that setting up a dish to receive some type of satellite TV is somewhat legal, as long as you have the certain type of license, from the China government’s perspective.

Part Two: what about Foreign satellite feeds

Is it legal to receive services from a Philippine satellite TV provider who hires a Korea satellite whose signal actually covers China? It’s another complicated question indeed.

Selling satellite TV beyond a certain boundary is illegal global. The law is made to protect satellite TV content provider’s interests. It’s a pure business regulation, established by practices over a long time since the inception of commercial satellite TV.

So what do “they” do to beat the cross boundary selling of TV subscriptions? The answer to me is that they do nothing if the other end got no conflicted interests.

Part Three: Chinese vs. Foreigners
Reading through all the above regulations, you might noticed that the regulations applies only to Chinese citizens, so how about if you are holding a foreign passport with a tourism or working, or business visa? Is the law apply to you while you are staying in China? Is it legal to bring your own Sling box from US or Canada, or your “tata sky” box from India?Maybe Russia? I don’t find an existing answer yet in all the regulations.

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