Satellite dishes are banned in China in order to prevent Chinese people from watching foreign TV channels. Not that it stops them.

Digital set-top boxes are available and gaining some popularity in China, but unlike their satellite rivals, they don't allow access to channels unauthorised by the government. The only way to watch foreign channels is to get a satellite.

But the dishes are banned by the government, except in exceptional circumstances: for research purposes, for the army and in luxury hotels, for example.

Many Chinese people, however, want to receive foreign channels. The majority of them are more interested in MTV than CNN, or in renting out their apartments to expats in the country.

It's not terribly difficult to get hold of a satellite dish. Most sites that market the goods are banned in China, but not all.

The main problem is keeping the satellite dish hidden. If your dish is discovered by the authorities, the firemen will be sent round to destroy it — as illustrated below.

Source: Zonaeuropa

The best thing to do is either hide the dish — or disguise it.

“It only cost 50 euros”

Yau is a real estate consultant Guangzhou.

I got hold of a satellite dish, aerial and decoder with the help of some friends who work in that domain. Altogether it only cost 500 yuan (50 euros). I'll be able to get [major American sports channel] ESPN! But for the moment I haven't dared to assemble it. I will do though. But I am a bit scared that the police are going to cause me trouble.

My satellite dish: