(dpa) – A BBC correspondent has left China due to safety concerns and will now report on the country from Taiwan, the British broadcaster said on Wednesday.
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCC) said that John Sudworth had left the country on short notice last week “amid concerns for his safety and that of his family.”
“John’s reporting has exposed truths the Chinese authorities did not want the world to know,” the BBC said in a statement. A report published on the BBC’s website said that Sudworth and his team had faced surveillance, obstruction and intimidation when trying to film.
Sudworth’s wife, Yvonne Murray, a correspondent for the Irish broadcaster RTE, went with him to Taiwan.
The FCC added that China’s treatment of Sudworth appeared to be in retaliation for his coverage of Xinjiang – where Uighurs are being detained in internment camps as part of what observers say is a government campaign to forcibly assimilate the minorities – as well as for his reporting on China’s handling of the pandemic and other touchy subjects.
The FCC said the departure of Sudworth and Murray comes on top of the expulsion of at least 18 journalists last year.
China banned the global television news channel BBC World News from broadcasting inside the country in February. The move came a week after Britain’s media regulator revoked the broadcast licence of Chinese English-language broadcaster China Global Television Network.
Chinese state media subsequently launched a broad campaign against the BBC, accusing it and its journalists of spreading lies about China, which has cracked down on foreign journalists in recent years.