British media regulator, Ofcom, revoked the licence of CGTN to broadcast in the UK on the grounds that it was an organ of the Chinese Communist Party. China responded by revoking the licence of BBC World in China on grounds that it’s reporting of the Uighur genocide issue was unbalanced + one-sided.
Is this just a spat or a sign of significant deterioration in China-UK relations? In a phrase, Johnson needs China more than China needs the UK. Post-Brexit, a US/UK trade deal is not a priority for the US after Johnson’s close identification with Trump. Likewise, a trade deal between the UK and China is not a priority for China if relations deteriorate with the UK.
Additionally, the UK is under pressure from Tory MP’s + the Henry Jackson Society, an anti-China think tank active in the UK corridors of power, to break with China because of genocide allegations.
China does not act impulsively. It knows that Johnson wants more from China just as China’s UK opponents want to de-couple from China. China will watch + analyse before it acts. But the situation is quite uncertain. British business does not want to lose out on the China market.