An online posting on bbc.hefei.cc revealed that around 600 television stations have been operating illegally in the north of the province, a fact which has been confirmed by Yang Jian, the deputy head of the social management office of Anhui Provincial Bureau of Radio, Film and Television. Yang stressed that "We will spare no efforts to investigate and shut down illegal television stations".
Authorities have only managed to close down 285 such stations since 2006, hindered by the difficulty of locating and tracking transmitters which are often hidden in the homes of farmers and are easily moved to other hiding places whenever investigations take place, or quickly reinstated after a crackdown.
The news coincides with the announcement of a nationwide campaign against 'illegal online mapping services' across China, in reaction to major violations such as revealing confidential information or incorrectly depicting the country's borders, particularly in politically sensitive disputed territory such as islands and coastal areas.
Over 1,000 such violations have been recorded since 2008, and according to the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping over 14,000 websites currently provide mapping services, though it was unclear how many of these were deemed by the Bureau to be 'illegal'. Under the recent licensing system for mapping services introduced last May, only 105 websites across China have been granted licences, with the rest required to attain one by the end of this month. The Bureau has urged harsh punishment for those caught publishing unapproved or erronous material.
According to Xinhua, Chinese law dictates that only the county government or higher has the right to set up radio and T.V. stations, and authorities have said they will continue undercover investigations to stamp out unapproved content.