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China bans BBC as it keeps reporting on Chinese Muslim genocide

BBC Radio Outside Broadcasts. (Amanda Slater/Flickr)
February 11, 2021

On Thursday, China’s state-run China Global Television Network (CGTN) reported that Chinese regulators banned BBC World News, citing alleged violations of Chinese content regulations. The move comes as the U.K.-based network continues to report human rights violations and abuses in China’s Xinjiang province, primarily targeting its Muslim minority Uyghur population.

Officials for China’s National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) told CGTN that BBC World News “was found to have seriously violated regulations on radio and television management” particularly in regard to its China-related reports.

CGTN said that BBC’s broadcasts “went against the requirements that news reporting must be true and impartial, and undermined China’s national interests and ethnic solidarity.”

“As the channel fails to meet the requirements to broadcast in China as an overseas channel, BBC World News is not allowed to continue its service within Chinese territory. The NRTA will not accept the channel’s broadcast application for the new year,” China’s NRTA announced in a statement.

In a statement to Reuters on Thursday, a spokesperson for BBC said, “We are disappointed that the Chinese authorities have decided to take this course of action. 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.”

After the BBC’s ban, the state-run Global Times said BBC’s reports have been derided on Chinese-controlled social media platforms like Sina Weibo, and “were often laughing stock for their biased and double standard reporting.”

BBC reporting in China has increasingly drawn criticism from Chinese officials.

On Friday, Global Times had referred to the BBC as the “biased broadcasting corporation” and shared calls for the new station to lose its broadcasting license.

Last Thursday, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin denied a BBC report detailing claims of systematic sexual assault and abuse against women in Xinjiang and said the women who raised the allegations lied.

China has previously worked to expel or curtail reporting by foreign journalists. In March of last year, China expelled China-based New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post journalists.

China has also targeted its own citizens for reporting they deemed dangerous.

In December, Chinese authorities detained a Chinese national employed by Bloomberg on claims she endangered national security.

In January, China jailed two journalists over tweets critical of China and meeting with U.S. officials to discuss raising pressure to remove Chinese internet censorship tools.

In 2020, a press freedom watchdog ranked China the number one country for imprisoned journalists for the second year in a row.