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China Pulls BBC News in Retaliation

Britain had dropped CGTN's license last week
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2021 5:20 PM CST

(Newser) – In a clash that began over allegations of Communist influence on editorial policy, the BBC World Service has been canceled in China. British regulators had pulled the license of China's global television network last week, saying the Communist Party controlled CGTN's editorial policy, which is illegal in Britain. China's broadcast regulator has responded by saying it will not renew the BBC's application after finding the news service "seriously violated regulations" requiring "true and impartial" news coverage. A government news agency said the BBC's reporting undermined "China's national interests and ethnic solidarity," NPR reports. In a tweet, Dominic Raab, the UK's foreign secretary, called the decision "an unacceptable curtailing of media freedom. China has some of the most severe restrictions on media & internet freedoms across the globe, & this latest step will only damage China's reputation in the eyes of the world."

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Among the BBC news coverage that China has objected to are reports on the status of the pandemic in China and on allegations of forced labor and sexual abuse in the Xinjiang region, where predominantly Muslim ethnic groups live, per NBC. The BBC defended itself by saying it reports "fairly, impartially and without fear or favor." Britain's action is especially bothersome to China because CGTN is part of the Communist government's strategy to increase its global stature and influence, and because it launched its European production center in London two years ago. The BBC hasn't been permitted to broadcast directly to Chinese homes; it's mostly been available in certain hotels and businesses, as well as foreigners' residential compounds. Some BBC content has been censored by China. (Read more BBC stories.)

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