BBC reporter leaves China, says 'too risky to carry on'

PA Wire  dpa

The BBC on Wednesday said it had relocated its China correspondent to Taiwan, a move that came after Chinese government attacks on both the reporter and the broadcaster over coverage of the Uyghurs in the country's Xinjiang region.

The BBC said in a statement: "John's reporting has exposed truths the Chinese authorities did not want the world to know".

Yvonne Murray, China correspondent for Irish broadcaster RTE and Mr Sudworth's wife, also left China, along with their three young children.

China will continue to implement the principles of "One Country, Two Systems" and "patriots administering Hong Kong", Hua said, stressing that any foreign attempts to meddle in Hong Kong's affairs and to pressure China will never succeed.

The FCCC says foreign journalists are "being caught up in diplomatic rows out of their control", and that the country's "abuse of Sudworth and his colleagues at the BBC forms part of a larger pattern of harassment and intimidation that obstructs the work of foreign correspondents in China".

The Foreign Correspondents' Club of China said on Wednesday that it was "concerned and saddened" to learn that Sudworth had left China "amid concerns for his safety and that of his family". He won a George Polk Award previous year for his reporting on internment camps for Muslims in the Xinjiang region. The BBC has said it stands by its reporting as fair and accurate.

"These included videos posted online by state media that named him and used footage of him obtained from Chinese police cameras".

He added that threats from Chinese authorities have "intensified" in recent months.

Sudworth was not one of the BBC journalists credited in the report, though he has been criticised by name by the Chinese foreign ministry as well as Chinese state and Communist Party-backed media.

State media have reported that residents in Xinjiang are preparing to sue BBC over its reports on the region. "If John Sudworth believes that his report is fair and objective, then he should be fearless and respond to the lawsuit instead of being afraid". The ministry called the report false.

Pressure on foreign journalists working in China has increased in the past year. Most were in response to USA moves to force Chinese state media to reduce their staff in America.



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