China has banned the broadcast of BBC World News in Mainland Chinese on Thursday. The decision comes in wake of BBC's coverage on various issues in Xinjiang and how the broadcaster reported the country's handling of COVID-19, ANI reported.

The National Radio and Television Administration issued a statement ahead of the Lunar New Year, saying the ban was imposed after an investigation found BBC World News in violation of regulations that harmed China's national interests and undermined national unity, Reuters reported.

China bans BBC

In view of this, the channel's application to renew its airing rights for another year stands rejected. This could also be seen in response to British media regulator Ofcom revoking China Global Television Network's (CGTN)'s broadcasting licence in the UK earlier this month. But the reason for Ofcom's decision was based on an investigation that found the license was wrongfully held by Star China Media Ltd.

UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab condemned China's decision, calling it unacceptable.

"China's decision to ban BBC World News in mainland China is an unacceptable curtailing of media freedom. China has some of the most severe restrictions on media & internet freedoms across the globe, & this latest step will only damage China's reputation in the eyes of the world," Raab tweeted.

China off the hook by WHO

The surgical strike on free press in the geopolitical area under the direct jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China comes shortly after WHO concluded its month-long investigation on the origin of COVID-19. The much-anticipated investigation led by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Wuhan drew a suspicious conclusion.

WHO china joint study

The scientists instead claim that the virus most likely transferred to humans from a cat and not bat. Not only did WHO dismiss the idea of the virus leak from a Wuhan lab, but it also said it is possible novel coronavirus could have been circulating for weeks before it was identified in Wuhan. The WHO scientists also ruled out the possibility of a virus leaking from a lab in Wuhan.

This is a developing story