BBC licensed to broadcast
Audrey Snee in London
The BBC's commercial arm has been granted a licence to broadcast its 24-hour international news channel in China.
The agreement signed at the end of last year between BBC World and China International TV Corporation allows the distribution of the channel to three to five-star hotels, guest houses and foreign residents' apartments throughout the country.
The award comes nearly seven years after the BBC service was ejected from the Star TV network by its owner Rupert Murdoch in an attempt to placate mainland authorities.
Beijing has been hostile in recent years, obstructing BBC correspondents on the mainland and jamming World Service radio transmissions into the country, according to a report in the Financial Times.
The authorities have not specified any restrictions in granting the BBC its licence, according to Jeff Hazel, director of sales and distribution at BBC World. 'The BBC would not accept any editorial restrictions,' he said.