Radio Television Hong Kong had hosted the BBC service since 1978.

Hong Kong has dropped its 24-hour BBC World Service radio channel in favour of a Chinese state radio.

The BBC reports that a decision has been made by Hong Kong to drop its British based 24 hour world service. Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) had hosted the 24 hour BBC World Service since 1978.

China National Radio will air instead of the BBC’s service. The station will broadcast in Mandarin, not Cantonese.

Critics claim the decision is an example of the “gradual encroachment of mainland Chinese state media into Hong Kong”, according to the BBC.

An online petition garnered almost 1,000 signatures from people who claim the decision would make the city “feel more parochial and inward-looking”.

A spokesperson for RTHK said the adoption of China National Radio would enhance cultural exchanges.

The British broadcasting channel said “always disappointed when a service our listeners are used to changes” but its World Service was “doing everything we can to ensure we continue to reach our audiences.”

Those who wish to listen to BBC World Service can do so by listening overnight on RTHK or via the internet or on the Telstar 18 DTH satellite platform.

RTHK had also “agreed to consider including some BBC World Service English programmes in their daytime schedules”.