Television

China censors BBC World, again

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MUMBAI: China is back to its old censorship ploys. Yesterday it repeatedly blocked transmission of BBC World’s week-long series of China-themed programmes to hotels and apartment compounds for foreigners during political and other sensitive reports.

For example, a report on restive Muslim Uighur ethnic group in China's far west was cut off after just seconds of starting to air. According to international media reports, the screen went black after a BBC correspondent said, " But the Uighur people have little affection for their Chinese masters.”

Other foreign channels and BBC World are not licensed for cable distribution to ordinary Chinese, but millions of households with unlicensed satellite dishes can view them.

The media reports stated that the Uighur issue has been especially a sensitive issue as some members of the minority group are waging a low-intensity struggled against Chinese control.

China claims the violence is linked to the al-Qaida terrorism network, though outside experts are skeptical.

The BBC’s website describes China Week as “a themed series of news reports and programmes exploring one of the world’s most dynamic countries.”

The programmes are also carried on BBC World Service radio. They feature more than 60 journalists reporting from cities and rural areas throughout China. Interview subjects range from China’s first astronaut, Yang Liwei, to Hollywood martial arts star Jet Li.

The programmes include an edition of the audience participation show “Question Time,” which is recorded in Shanghai and features a panel of Chinese officials and government critics.

Earlier in 2003, China has suspended a transmission of the BBC World TV channel that reaches thousands of foreigners across the country after it objected to a news item dealing with the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement.

Before that in the mid-1990s, BBC World was forced off the Star platform, which had then been just bought over by Rupert Murdoch from the Hong Kong-media tycoon Richard Li.

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