China's decision to ban BBC legitimate: FM spokesperson

Diplomacy

China's decision to pull BBC World News off the air countrywide is legitimate and reasonable, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said here on Thursday.

XinhuaUpdated: February 19, 2021

China's decision to pull BBC World News off the air countrywide is legitimate and reasonable, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Thursday.

Photo taken on May 21, 2020 shows red flags on the Tian'anmen Square in Beijing, capital of China. (Xinhua/Cai Yang)

Hua made the remarks when asked to comment on British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab's claim that the decision by China's National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) to ban the Britain-based BBC World News broadcaster was "an unacceptable curtailing of media freedom."

She said that an investigation by the NRTA found that China-related reports made by BBC World News seriously violated China's radio and television regulations and the regulations on overseas satellite channels on China's mainland, and violated broadcasting rules on accuracy and impartiality, undermining China's national interests and ethnic unity, and failing to meet the requirements for overseas channels to broadcast on China's mainland.

As such, BBC World News is not allowed to continue its service on China's mainland, and the NRTA will not accept its broadcast application this year, the spokesperson said.

Hua emphasized that for some time the BBC has repeatedly produced and broadcast fake news with strong ideological prejudice against China, and spread false information on issues related to Hong Kong and Xinjiang, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Furthermore, the decision of Britain's communications regulator Ofcom to revoke the license of CGTN to broadcast in Britain represents the political repression on the Chinese media, she said, adding that as an international professional media organization, CGTN strictly abides by British laws and regulations and the professional ethics of journalism, and adheres to the principles of objectivity, fairness, truthfulness and accuracy in news reporting. CGTN is internationally recognized for its professionalism.

However, in February 2020, Ofcom suddenly initiated an investigation procedure to revoke the license of CGTN in Britain on the grounds of its ultimate control and its political attributes. During the investigation, CGTN fully cooperated with Ofcom and sought to solve the problem in a constructive manner, she said.

However, Ofcom repeatedly rejected the Chinese proposal and decided on Feb. 4 to arbitrarily revoke the license of CGTN English News Channel in Britain. Hua said that the facts have proved that Britain's move was an act of political suppression based on strong ideological prejudice.

She stressed that it has fully exposed the hypocrisy of the British side, as on the one hand, the British side flouts the freedom of the press, and on the other hand, it keeps dragging the political attributes of the media into the spotlight.

Noting that China has always welcomed foreign journalists, including the British media, to report in China, and facilitated their work and life in China, Hua said what China opposes is ideological prejudice against China, concocting fake news, and behaviors that violate journalistic ethics.

"China urges Britain to immediately stop political manipulation and correct its mistakes. China reserves the right to make further legitimate and necessary responses," she added.