The Beeb gets Chinese nod

The Chinese government has decided to award the English news service, BBC World, a broadcast licence. Seven years ago, it had been thrown off the Star TV network by global media baron Rupert Murdoch to calm down a jittery Chinese regime, alarmed by the BBC's coverage of the student protest against it.

With this licence, the Beeb will now be able to telecast over China and be received in hotels and foreign residential compounds. Additionally, it will also be received by the thousands of satellite dishes and cable systems in China.

The clearance is being seen as a major coup for BBC boss Greg Dyke and BBC Worldwide CEO Rupert Gavin. Gavin had been part of a trade mission led by culture secretary Chris Smith in 1999 which met up with Chinese authorities.

"This is the first time the Chinese authorities have positively granted us permission to broadcast," says Jeff Hazell, director of sales and distribution at BBC World. "It's good to be able to regularise our relationship and if the Chinese authorities are happy with how it works out, we hope it could lead to other things."

Now to wait and watch what fare the Beeb dishes out for China. Hopefully it will not be a repeat of the early nineties.

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