China’s recent announcement that BBC World News is banned from broadcasting in the country is another troubling example of Beijing closing itself off and makes clear the extent of the Communist Party’s censorship regime, author Gordon Chang says.
The authoritarian government’s National Radio and Television Administration announced its restriction of the British broadcaster on Feb. 11, claiming the BBC had harmed Chinese “unity” with its reporting on the country’s atrocities against ethnic minorities.
“China under Xi Jinping has been shutting out the rest of the world. It’s basically a closing of the Chinese mind because Xi does not like foreign influences,” Chang told Fox News. “As China cuts itself off from the rest of the world, it’s not going to get the benefit of communicating with other people. Everyone benefits from talking with others, and societies that cut themselves off end up usually strangling themselves.”
China was formally accused by the U.S. last month of perpetrating a genocide against Uighurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang region through a system of torture, internment, rape, and ethnic cleansing.
CHINA BANS BBC AFTER HARROWING REPORT ON ATROCITIES AGAINST UIGHURS
The BBC’s Feb. 2 report on these atrocities, as well as U.K. media regulator Ofcom revoking the license of the Communist Party-aligned China Global Television Network earlier this month, triggered China’s decision to fully ban the BBC. It was already heavily censored there, although it could be viewed in hotels and some residential homes.
China is already facing global scrutiny over the origins of the deadly coronavirus pandemic and suppressing critical reporting about the disease at the beginning of the outbreak. It has since spread conspiracy theories through state media about COVID-19’s origins.
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“People around the world are going to start to think about how much censorship there is in China,” Chang said. “Xi Jinping has gotten away with this for quite some time … This could very well be a tipping point where people really start to understand how strict censorship is.”
The BBC said it was “disappointed that the Chinese authorities have decided to take this course of action. The BBC is the world’s most trusted international news broadcaster and reports on stories from around the world fairly, impartially and without fear or favour.”