Hong Kong public RTHK announced on Friday that it is suspending broadcasting from BBC World News. Earlier, the Chinese Broadcasting Authority, NRTA, banned the British broadcasting station in mainland China, accusing it of a lack of objectivity.
The NRTA decision was announced one week after the Chinese CGTN, the foreign arm of the state-owned CCTV, received its UK broadcasting license. British media regulator Ofcom found CGTN to be controlled by communist authorities in Beijing, which was in breach of British law.
The English-language BBC World News channel was not widely received in mainland China, but it has been watched by, among others, guests of luxury hotels. On Friday, the channel is no longer available, the Reuters agency reported.
Beijing's decision was condemned by British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab, describing it as "an unacceptable restriction on media freedom." The BBC itself expressed disappointment at this step and dismissed accusations of lack of objectivity.
Commentators point out that the BBC has extensively covered the situation in the Xinjiang region in the west of China in recent months, where up to a million Uighurs and other Muslims have ended up in extralegal internment camps, according to UN experts. Beijing denies this.
The BBC shared accounts of ex-prisoners of the Xinjiang camps that they had been systematically raped and tortured there. The station also described reports by the German ethnologist Adrian Zenz, who accused the Chinese authorities of using Uighur forced labor in cotton fields and limiting the number of children born by Muslim women using forced sterilization and abortions.
Beijing denies repression and human rights violations in Xinjiang. He maintains that the camps described by the Western media are in fact vocational training centers set up as part of the campaign to combat Islamic extremism and separatism. It also emphasizes that no terrorist attacks have been carried out in the region since the launch of the campaign in 2017. (PAP)