Tuesday, February 19, 2008


One of the small joys of going to visit Jodi's parents is getting to watch Phoenix TV, out of Hong Kong. They used to get it through their cable TV, and it was still there when they switched to digital. Since they live in what you might call a third-tier Chinese city, I was curious why we don't get it in Shanghai. I did a couple searches on Baidu Zhidao, the equivalent of Yahoo Answers, for 凤凰卫视 (Phoenix TV) and 凤凰卫视 上海 (Phoenix TV Shanghai). Most of the questions were similar to mine. These were marked as the "Best Answer"s to the first three links I clicked:


It's mainly political reasons, since after all HK and the mainland are two different systems of government. I'm sure Phoenix TV has some shows that don't fit the Beijing central government's needs. So Phoenix TV has been forbidden from being broadcast in a lot of provinces. In the short term it's not going to be possible to watch it on digital TV.

凤凰卫视言论自由,所以政府有点怕怕,怕纸包不住火啊 就像非典那次

Phoenix TV enjoys freedom of speech, so the government is afraid of it, afraid "you can't hold fire in a paper bag". Like SARS.


Foreign TV doesn't touch down on the mainland, you gotta install a satellite dish. Don't forget, you also need to apply for a permit from the PSB (police). But from what I know a lot of people have installed one without the permit and have never gotten in trouble, and the reception quality is pretty good.

Of course, my experience is that the first answer was wrong in saying that it's not available on digital TV. Some of the other answers mention that you can download online TV programs and stream Phoenix TV to your computer. My theory is that Jodi's parents have special access since they live on the grounds of a big state-owned entity (no, not Zhongnanhai ).


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