BBC has invested more than £150million in Chinese state-owned companies accused of links to appalling human rights violations

  • It has been criticized by the BBC for its investment in Chinese-state-owned companies 
  • China is being condemned over a series of human rights violations.
  • Two million Uighur Muslims are detained in Xinjiang in detention centers
  • John Sudworth, the BBC’s Beijing correspondent, was forced to leave this year 
  • Despite this, BBC poured an extra £40million in Chinese state-controlled firms in previous financial year

The BBC stands accused of investing over £150million in Chinese companies with alleged links to human rights abuses.

The broadcaster has invested at least £155.8million pension contributions in no fewer than ten Chinese companies, including two owned by the ruling Communist Party. 

Undiscovered documents reveal that the BBC’s pension fund held undisclosed stakes in six Chinese companies. 

One is China Overseas Land and Investment. This subsidiary of the state-owned China State Construction Engineering Corporation has been reported by Mail on Sunday.

Yesterday night Sir Iain Duncan Smith, an ex-Tory leader demanded that the BBC stop its financial mismanagement with Chinese firms.

Earlier this year, the BBC's Beijing correspondent John Sudworth was forced to escape to Taiwan after receiving threats from the Chinese authorities

John Sudworth, BBC Beijing correspondent, was threatened by the Chinese authorities and forced to flee to Taiwan earlier this year.

Sir Iain stated that licence fee payers would find it shocking to learn that the money they paid to BBC via their TV licence is used to support a dictatorial, brutal and violent regime which practices genocide. This should never happen.

China was condemned for the treatment it gave Uighur Muslims within the Xinjiang Region, among other human rights violations. 

Human Rights Watch accused China for detaining around two million Uighur Muslims. The Uighur Muslims were said to be subject to forced reeducation and torture.

 ‘It’s increasingly clear that Chinese government policies and practices against the Turkic Muslim population in Xinjiang meet the standard for crimes against humanity under international criminal law,’ said Beth Van Schaack, of the Stanford Center for Human Rights & International Justice, in April. 

“The failure of the government to prevent these crimes and punish their perpetrators shows that international coordination is needed.”

John Sudworth (BBC’s Beijing correspondent) was threatened by Chinese authorities earlier in the year and had to run to Taiwan. His reports were mainly focused on China’s treatment Uighurs.

Nevertheless, the BBC increased the value of its shares in Chinese state-controlled firms by more than £40million in the financial year to March 31. 

Workers walk by the perimeter fence of what is officially known as a vocational skills education centre in Dabancheng in Xinjiang Uighur

Workers cross the border fence at what is called a vocational skills training centre in Dabancheng (Xinjiang Uighur).

China Construction Bank Corporation is one of the companies funded by BBC. This offshoot is run by influential members of China’s Communist Party and its board. 

This bank was one of the largest backers for the “Belt and Road Initiative” – which has been criticised for allegedly exploiting the infrastructure of developing countries. 

Other investments include shares of £43.3million in ecommerce firm Alibaba, £41.3million in internet giant Tencent, and £33million in agricultural tech firm Pinduoduo. 

The BBC carried out an outside review last year of its pension funds, which was done by a “stewardship” consultancy. 

According to a BBC spokesperson, the scheme is independent of BBC and invests in many different investments, with only a fraction in Chinese companies. 

“The Scheme published a responsible investing policy, and fund managers must take into consideration environmental, governance and social factors when making investment decisions.”