China takes aim again at BBC as dispute with Britain intensifies

By Gabriel Crossley BEIJING (Reuters) - The BBC came under renewed fire from Chinese officials on Friday in a diplomatic dispute a day after Britain's media regulator revoked the TV licence of Chinese state media outlet CGTN. Britain and China have exchanged barbs for months over China's crackdown on dissent in the former British colony of Hong Kong, concern over the security of Huawei technology, and the treatment of ethnic Uighur Muslims in China's Xinjiang region. On Thursday, Britain's Ofcom revoked the licence of CGTN, the English-language sister channel of state broadcaster CCTV, after concluding that China's ruling Communist Party had ultimate editorial responsibility for the channel.

Reuters February 06, 2021 00:11:29 IST
China takes aim again at BBC as dispute with Britain intensifies

China takes aim again at BBC as dispute with Britain intensifies

By Gabriel Crossley

BEIJING (Reuters) - The BBC came under renewed fire from Chinese officials on Friday in a diplomatic dispute a day after Britain's media regulator revoked the TV licence of Chinese state media outlet CGTN.

Britain and China have exchanged barbs for months over China's crackdown on dissent in the former British colony of Hong Kong, concern over the security of Huawei technology, and the treatment of ethnic Uighur Muslims in China's Xinjiang region.

On Thursday, Britain's Ofcom revoked the licence of CGTN, the English-language sister channel of state broadcaster CCTV, after concluding that China's ruling Communist Party had ultimate editorial responsibility for the channel.

Minutes later, China's foreign ministry accused the British Broadcasting Corp of pushing "fake news" in its COVID-19 reporting, demanding an apology and saying that the broadcaster had politicized the pandemic and "rehashed theories about covering up by China".

The BBC said its reporting is fair and unbiased.

On Friday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin criticised the Ofcom ruling as "politicising the issue on a technical point" and warned that China reserves the right to make a "necessary response".

Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper separately reported on Thursday that Britain had in the past year expelled three Chinese spies who were there on journalism visas.

China's state media has ramped up attacks on the British public broadcaster in recent weeks.

"I highly suspect that the BBC has been closely instigated by the intelligence agencies of the US and the UK. It has become a bastion of the Western public opinion war against China," Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Communist Party-backed tabloid the Global Times, said on Twitter.

The foreign ministry's criticism of the BBC was among the top trends on China's Weibo social media platform on Friday.

"BBC shall not become Bad-mouthing Broadcasting Corporation," ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Twitter.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's spokesman declined to comment directly when asked if it was appropriate for the Chinese government to criticise the BBC.

"The UK is committed to the promotion of media freedom internationally, and to championing democracy and human rights, around the world," the spokesman said.

BBC broadcasts, like those of most major Western news outlets, are blocked in China.

Some people called for the BBC to be expelled in response to CGTN's licence being revoked.

"The BBC has long been stationed in Beijing, yet has always held ideological prejudice and broadcast fake news from its platform, deliberately defaming China. After so many years, it's past time that we took action," one Weibo user said.

The BBC's coverage of Xinjiang came under heavy criticism after it reported on Wednesday that women in internment camps for ethnic Uighurs and other Muslims in the region were subject to rape and torture.

China's foreign ministry said the report had no factual basis. The Global Times said in an editorial on Friday that the BBC had "seriously violated journalistic ethics".

(Reporting by Gabriel Crossley, additional reporting by William James in London; Editing by Tony Munroe, Robert Birsel and Angus MacSwan)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.