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China Bans BBC World News: ‘Fake,’ ‘Falsified Reporting’

The BBC created a 'slew of falsified reporting' and 'fake news' on China's handling of the coronavirus and its Uighur detention camps, China said.

BBC World News is banned from broadcasting in China, its television and radio regulator reported Thursday.

China “said the BBC was responsible for a ‘slew of falsified reporting’ on issues including Xinjiang and China‘s handling of coronavirus. It went on to say that ‘fake news‘ is not tolerated in China,” reported BBC World News host Yalda Hakim. 

In particular, China had been critical of BBC’s early reporting on the coronavirus crisis inside China and its February 2020 report on the persecution of Uighurs.

Over a million Uighurs and other minorities have been detained in camps in China, according to estimates. The U.S. declared China’s actions “genocide” last month.

“‘Their goal is to destroy everyone’: ‘re-education’ camp detainees allege systematic rape,” the BBC said in their report detailing the rape, abuse and torture of ethnic minority Uighurs in Chinese camps in Xinjiang.

China’s foreign ministry blasted the BBC for creating a “false report.”

China’s UK ambassador Liu Xiaoming said reports of concentration camps were “fake.”

BBC World News reports were found to “seriously violate” broadcast guidelines, including “the requirement that news should be truthful and fair” and not “harm China’s national interests,” China’s State Film, TV and Radio Administration said in its decision.

Within China, BBC World News had only been accessible “on cable TV systems in hotels and apartment compounds for foreigners and some other businesses,” reports USA Today. Most Chinese people are unable to view it. The BBC News website and app is already banned within China.

China’s decision against the BBC has been interpreted as largely retaliatory: earlier this month, Chinese state broadcaster China Global Television Network (CGTN) lost its broadcast licence in the UK because Ofcom concluded that the network’s content was ultimately controlled by the Chinese Communist party.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called the move an “unacceptable curtailing of media freedom.”

It is unclear whether BBC reporters will be able to file reports from China. China has been ramping up bans on foreign media and journalists for the past 2 years. Journalists from three US newspapers were effectively expelled in 2020.

“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,” the BBC said in a statement.

In recent months, the relationship between China and the UK has seriously soured, as China has cracked down on the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong with a new security law.

In response, Boris Johnson denounced China for its  “clear and serious” violation of its treaty with Britain. In January, the UK created a new visa that grants 5.4 million Hong Kong residents the right to live and work in the UK because they said China had undermined the basic human rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents.