China pulls BBC World News off the air permanently for reports on mishandling of the coronavirus and Uighur genocide

China pulls BBC World News off the air permanently for reports on mishandling of the coronavirus and Uighur genocide

China’s main broadcasting regulator announced Thursday that it is pulling BBC World News off the air across the communist nation for “serious content violation,” the country’s state-run Xinhua News reported.

The National Radio and Television Administration declared that BBC World News had “seriously violated” the Hermit Kingdom’s radio, television, and overseas satellite management regulations in some of its reports on China-related issues, Xinhua said.

The BBC World News reports violated “requirements that news reporting must be true and impartial” and also “undermined China’s national interests and ethnic solidarity,” according to the outlet.

“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 regulator said in a statement. “The NRTA will not accept the channel’s broadcast application for the new year.”

The ban comes in the wake of reports from the outlet on topics that made the communist leaders in Beijing look bad — specifically the Uighur genocide and coronavirus failures, BBC World News host Yalda Hakim wrote on Twitter.

The BBC has repeatedly reported on the ongoing genocide of ethic Uighurs in the Xinjiang region. Most recently, the outlet exposed allegations of systematic rape, sexual abuse, and torture of Uighur women in Chinese internment camps.

According to the BBC, “more than a million men and women have been detained in the sprawling network of camps, which China says exist for the ‘re-education’ of the Uighurs and other minorities.”

China’s President Xi Jinping reportedly told local Xinjiang officials to crack down on the minority groups following a 2014 terror attack by Uighur separatists:

According to documents leaked to the New York Times, [Xi] directed local officials to respond with “absolutely no mercy”. The US government said last month that China’s actions since amounted to a genocide. China says reports of mass detention and forced sterilisation are “lies and absurd allegations”.

China is also upset over BBC reports on the government’s failed handling of the coronavirus. For example, a story in late January looked at Beijing’s failures during “five critical days early in the outbreak”:

A year ago, the Chinese government locked down the city of Wuhan. For weeks beforehand officials had maintained that the outbreak was under control — just a few dozen cases linked to a live animal market. But in fact the virus had been spreading throughout the city and around China.

The BBC responded to China’s ban in a statement to Variety: “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 favour.”

China’s move comes one week after the U.K.’s own media regulator, Ofcom, determined that Chinese state broadcaster CCTV’s English-language service CGTN is controlled by the Communist Party and canceled the outlet’s broadcast license for violating its license agreements, Variety reported.

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