BEIJING – China has banned the BBC World News television channel in a diplomatic fight with Britain after British regulators revoked the license of state-owned Chinese broadcaster CGTN.
The move late Thursday was largely symbolic, because BBC World already was limited to being shown on cable TV systems in hotels and apartment compounds for foreigners and some other businesses.
The National Radio and Television Administration said BBC World News coverage of China violated requirements that news reporting be true and impartial and undermined China's national interests and ethnic solidarity.
The Chinese government has criticized BBC reports about the COVID-19 pandemic in China and about allegations of forced labor and sexual abuse in the Xinjiang region, home to the Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups.
“The channel fails to meet the requirements to broadcast in China as an overseas channel,” the Radio and Television Administration said in a statement dated midnight Friday.
It gave no indication whether BBC reporters in China would be affected.
The communist Beijing government last year expelled foreign reporters for The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times during disputes with the Trump administration.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, in a written statement, called the move “an unacceptable curtailing of media freedom" that would "only damage China’s reputation in the eyes of the world.”