The regulator of China’s National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) on Thursday banned BBC World News, accusing it over a serious content violation.
‘China’s broadcasting regulator has moved to pull BBC News off the air in the country over a “serious content violation,” the Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported Thursday.
The administrator also added that it does not permit the BBC to continue broadcasting in China, and does not accept its new annual application for broadcast.
In an announcement on BBC’s website, it had “undermined China’s national interests and ethnic solidarity over a controversial report on its treatment of the country’s Uighur minority.
On Wednesday 10th February 2021, BBC published a story that China is facing mounting criticism from around the world over its treatment of the mostly Muslim Uighur population in the north-western region of Xinjiang.
Uighur people are about 12 million Uighurs, mostly Muslim, living in north-western China in the region of Xinjiang, officially known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR).
The Uighurs speak their own language, similar to Turkish, and see themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations. They make up less than half of the Xinjiang population.
In recent decades, there’s been a mass migration of Han Chinese (China’s ethnic majority) to Xinjiang, and the Uighurs feel their culture and livelihoods are under threat. There is evidence of Uighurs being used as forced labour and of women being forcibly sterilised.
The decision came just days after Britain’s own regulator revoked the licence of Chinese broadcaster CGTN for breaking UK law on state-backed ownership, and provoked angry accusations of censorship from London.
The move will increase tension between the two countries, which have been increasingly strained by China’s introduction of a security law in Britain’s former colony, Hong Kong.
Britain has also banned Chinese telecoms group Huawei from involvement in its 5G network after the United States raised spying fears.
The act has been criticized by both United Kingdom and United States as a move to curtailing media freedom.
‘The BBC is “disappointed that the Chinese authorities have decided to take this course of action,” a spokeswoman for the broadcaster said in an email to reporters. “The BBC is the world’s most trusted international news broadcaster and reports on stories from around the world fairly, impartially and without fear or favor,” British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said.
“We call on the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and other nations with authoritarian controls over their population to allow their full access to the internet and media,” People’s Republic of China, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said.