China slams BBC in a retaliatory move after British regulator revokes Beijing-backed CGTN’s license
Over the past few months, Britain ties with China has been growing tense over latter’s crack down on dissenters in Hong Kong, a former British colony. Besides, UK also slammed the Asian nation for its mistreatment of its ethnic minority group, Uighur Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region and raised suspicion over the security threats posed by Huawei technology.
The latest blow to the relations between both the nations was caused by British media regulator, Ofcom’s decision to withdraw licence of China-backed media outlet. CGTN. CGTN is the English-language subsidiary of China’s state-funded media organisation, CCTV. Ofcom, in its ruling, said that Star China Media Limited (SCML), which owned the licence, “did not have editorial responsibility” over the English-language satellite news channel. It added, “As such, SCML does not meet the legal requirement of having control over the licensed service, and so is not a lawful broadcast licensee.”
The British regulator highlighted that the media agency was controlled by a company which was directly related to the Chinese Communist Party and as per UK broadcasting law it could not transfer the license to such a company.
In a retaliatory move, minutes after UK banned CGTN, China’s foreign ministry issued a statement alleging that the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has been publishing “fake news” regarding COVID-19 situation and pushing biased theories. The Communist government also demanded an apology from the British news outlet, stating that the broadcaster presented skewed reports over the pandemic, politicising the global health crisis and “rehashing theories about covering up by China”.
Early on Friday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin denunciated the British media regulator’s move as “politicising the issue on a technical point” and warned the latter of a “necessary response” by the Chinese government.
Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Global Times, the Communist state-owned tabloid, also took to Twitter to slam the move. He wrote, “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.”
Zhao Lijian, the deputy director of the Chinese foreign ministry’s information department, also jumped in the wagon lambasting BBC and wrote on Twitter, “BBC shall not become Bad-mouthing Broadcasting Corporation. BBC broadcast a video of an anti-terrorism exercise as news of “violent law enforcement and human rights violations” by China’s epidemic prevention authorities. This is a typical fake news with ideological bias.”
Besides, BBC was subjected to criticism by Chinese officials and public on its social media platform Weibo, on Friday, for its exclusive report covering plight of women belonging to various ethnic minority groups including Uighurs Muslims.
The report stated that these women have been subjected to rape, sexual assault and torture in internment camps in Xinjiang. The report published on Wednesday received extensive backlash from Chinese media and officials. China’s foreign ministry invalidated the report and said that it lacked factual basis.