“China is on a very short list of countries besides North Korea and Iran that have explicitly and completely blocked BBC News coverage,” BBC World Service Group director Jimmy Angus said on the Trusted Sources program on Sunday.
China does not belong on that list, Angus said, adding that “the Chinese people are very looking outward. They want to understand international news from around the world, but crucially, they want to see how their country is being reported by the BBC.” “
“It is completely unacceptable to prevent them from accessing BBC news outlets,” Angus told CNN correspondent Brian Stelter.
In a statement, the National Tourism Authority of China alleged that BBC World News had broadcast reports on China that “violated the principles of honesty and impartiality in the press.”
Beijing has long defended the crackdown in Xinjiang as necessary to counter extremism and terrorism.
It is unclear how much the China ban would affect BBC World News in mainland China because the BBC was not permitted to broadcast in China or in Chinese homes. BBC World News was only available at international hotels.
But some people in China are still trying to find ways to get around the ban. Of course, you can always access BBC digital services through some kind of VPN setup, Angus Stelter Sunday tells. But China is making it difficult for people to do so, and access to BBC digital services in English and Mandarin has been increasingly blocked over the past 18 months.
“It’s very revealing when countries try to block real news coverage, as is the case with the BBC in China,” Stelter said.
CNN’s Philip Wang and Johnny Hallam contributed to this report.