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China bars BBC World News over false reports

(Global Times)    11:02, February 12, 2021

BBC World News has been barred from airing in China, the National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) announced, saying some BBC's reports on China infringed the principles of truthfulness and impartiality in journalism.

Chinese observers said the BBC has turned into "a rumor mill" that deliberately throws mud at China, and the decision to suspend its broadcast sends a clear message that China doesn't accept fake news.

Suspending the broadcast of BBC World News means that it cannot be received anywhere in the Chinese mainland, as China won't provide local resolution analysis service to the broadcast company anymore, said Wang Sixin, a professor of law at the Communication University of China.

He said that the high-profile announcement, on Chinese New Year's Eve, is to show China's attitude, and attract more public attention. "The BBC does not even bother to hide its anti-China rhetoric, commissioning an anti-China so-called 'expert' for research and use fabricated materials to slander China. It deserves such punishment," said Wang.

China's Measures for the Administration of the Landing of Foreign Satellite Television Channels stipulates that foreign satellite television channels may land within the prescribed range, such as foreign-related hotels at the three-star level or above, and the foreign-related flats especially provided to foreigners as office or residence, and other specific ranges.

The measure said that Foreign satellite television channels approved for landing are prohibited to broadcast programmes with content harming the national unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of China;

How does the BBC apply "results before evidence" principles when reporting on China? Graphic: Xu Zihe, Feng Qingyin/GT

It also noted that if foreign satellite television channels approved for landing violate the provisions of these Rules, where circumstances are grave, dissemination of specially designated content is provisionally ceased, or the landing qualifications of the relevant channel are provisionally suspended or cancelled.

BBC's recent biased reports on China, either on Xinjiang governance or the once epidemic-hit Wuhan, have drawn fierce criticism in China. On China's Twitter-like platform Sina Weibo, BBC's reports were often laughing stock for their biased and double standard reporting.

The BBC recently put itself in the spotlight of the international community with a sensational story that accused China of "mass rape" in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region based on only one interviewee's unverified claim. The broadcaster also distorted coronavirus reports about Wuhan.

The BBC last week reported that Uygur women have been "systematically raped, sexually abused, and tortured" at Xinjiang's re-education camps, highlighting alleged abuses of women's rights in Xinjiang, which was seriously rejected for "having no factual basis" by Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin, who urged the BBC to stop smearing China on Xinjiang topics.

When reporting the one year anniversary of Wuhan's lockdown, the BBC used footage of police making arrest to claim that the lockdown was a violation of human rights. The footage turned out to be a highway epidemic control drill in Nanyang, Henan Province on February 21 last year, where a man tried to drive directly through a checkpoint and attacked police before being stopped.

China's Foreign Ministry made solemn representations last week to BBC's Beijing office for its reports that politicize and smear the epidemic work in China.

For quite some time, the BBC has been devoted to publicizing information that incites separatism and secessionism in China, which endangered China's national security, Shen Yi, a professor at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs of Fudan University, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Shen said that the broadcaster has yielded to serving the interests of illegal organizations that aim to tear China apart, and has long reported China from a preset stance. "Barring the airing of BBC World News in China sends a clear message that China does not accept fake news," said Shen.

Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times that it is possible that China will take further retaliatory measures, depending on whether the BBC will correct its wrongs, and stop distorting issues such as Hong Kong, Taiwan and Xinjiang. If not, China is likely to expel BBC journalists based in Chinese mainland, according to Li. "Expelling journalists is a reasonable move, because if journalists fail to report real China, kicking them out is the right thing to do," said Li.

Li said that the BBC's China reporting has brought huge damage to China-UK ties, especially its coverage on China's handling of COVID-19. "COVID-19 grabs universal attention, and is important and sensitive while the BBC keeps stirring anti-China sentiment on this matter. This will further stimulate Western governments to use antagonistic methods towards China. It is very dangerous," said Li.

The UK has acted maliciously on a slew of issues related to China's domestic affairs, according to Li, noting that the BBC's recent act seems to help the UK shape its international image in the post Brexit era.

The anti-China movement seems to be steadily gaining momentum in the UK, Martin Jacques, a former senior fellow at the Department of Politics and International Studies at Cambridge University, told the Global Times recently. He has compared the movement to a crusade, and media, including the BBC, have played an important part in this movement. "The crusade has mobilized around two issues in particular: Xinjiang and Hong Kong."

He said the anti-China movement has experienced a gathering process since 2016, and expects the situation to get worse. "Now that we (the UK) have left the EU, the UK will be more dependent on its relationship with the US. Looking back, the period 2014-2016, the so-called golden age, now seems a long time ago," said Jacques.

Li Baiyang, an expert from Wuhan University in Hubei Province told the Global Times that BBC's distorted reporting of China is part of the "anti-China rhetoric war," launched by Western anti-China forces. "Media just serve as the pawn."

He said the anti-China rhetoric war was started by some people in the West, who fear that China's rapid growth will impact their political system and social thoughts. So they engage in campaign to smear China with strong ideological prejudice.

Even established media such as BBC has deviated from the neutral and objective way of reporting in this trend, said Li, noting that their selection of topic is biased, and their choice of "witnesses" often comes from anti-China forces, and they have degraded from world's famous media to tools in the ideological struggle.

Li said that nowadays, BBC also received criticism from Western scholars and journalists. "It means that traditional Western media cannot dominate and manipulate public opinion as they used to."

He also said that BBC's fake news only receives support from other Western media outlets. However, third-world countries are afraid of and even averse to such reports. Thus, apart from Western media with sense of responsibility, media from third-world countries should also stand up together to oppose such trend. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Liu Ning, Bianji)

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