- BBC World Service has been scrapped from Hong Kong radio
- It has since been replaced by China National Radio, mainland state media
- Employees claim they were given little consultation about the change
- A petition has been set up by locals to reinstate the BBC channel
A BBC World Service channel has been dropped from Hong Kong’s airwaves and replaced with state radio from China.
It comes amid growing tension between Hong Kong and Beijing’s ruling Communist Party leaders over the future of the region.
A petition has been set up in a bid to keep the BBC’s round the clock programming.
A petition has been set up in a bid to keep the BBC’s programming (File photo)
Hong Kong’s public broadcaster RTHK has dropped a 24-hour BBC World Service channel
Hong Kong’s public broadcaster RTHK has dropped a 24-hour BBC World Service channel from its airwaves.
It has been replaced by China National Radio, a state-run outlet that does not have any critical or sensitive reporting on China.
The broadcasts are mostly in Mandarin rather than Cantonese, the dialect spoken in Hong Kong and southern parts of China.
Amen Ng, a spokeswoman for RTHK told Reuters that there were no political considerations in the decision. She said that the Chinese broadcaster would enhance cultural exchanges.
There will still be BBC World Service broadcasts however they will be throughout the night from 11pm to 7am.
Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) program host Tony Wu talks to a caller (File photo)
Hong Kong was returned from British rule to Chinese rule in 1997 however it currently runs under the ‘one country, two systems’ formula which gives it greater autonomy than the mainland.
However tensions between Hong Kong and Beijing have increased in recent years.
Radio Television Hong Kong went ahead with scrapping the BBC channel yesterday. Some members of staff said there was little consultation.
A senior RTHK employee told Reuters: ‘Nobody knew anything about it. We were told in a meeting just before it was announced.
‘People see it as a negative thing. The BBC is generally regarded as independent, and state media is not.’
Some listeners have claimed that the move is in line with a gradual ‘mainlandisation’ of Hong Kong which has seen a growing influence from Beijing in areas such as law enforcement, politics and education.’
An online petition has been set up with nearly one thousand people signing to try and keep the BBC World Service channel.