HONG KONG • Hong Kong's official radio station said it will replace its 24-hour BBC broadcast with Chinese state-run programming in a move critics said was a step towards "mainlandisation".
The city's Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) has been broadcasting the BBC World Service live since 1978 but will replace it starting Sept 4 with the China National Radio (CNR) Hong Kong Edition.
"This is absolutely one step forward towards mainlandisation in Hong Kong," pro-democracy lawmaker Claudia Mo said, adding that the Chinese authorities may feel residents were not patriotic enough.
"They should all be reined in and taught to feel Chinese," Ms Mo said of the motive behind the move, which comes at a time when many feel Beijing is squeezing the semi-autonomous city's freedoms.
RTHK's head of corporate communications Amen Ng said the CNR Hong Kong edition is "tailor-made for Hong Kong people".
"It will encourage the cultural exchange between mainland China and Hong Kong," Ms Ng said.
The CNR broadcast will include programming in news, arts and culture, and lifestyle - mostly in Mandarin, with some programmes in Cantonese.