BBC Journalist Flees China After Beijing Criticizes Uighur Coverage

BBC reporter, John Sudworth, has relocated to Taiwan after Beijing’s criticism of his reports alleging human rights violations against Uighr Muslims in Xinjang. 

Sudworth told BBC radio he relocated because China had placed him under surveillance, threatened him with legal action, obstruction and intimidation. 

“We left in a hurry, followed by plainclothes police all the way to the airport through the check-in. The true grim reality for reporters here being made clear all the way to the end,” He said Wednesday. 

China’s foreign ministry said Wednesday that Sudworth did not inform them of his departure and stood strongly against the BBC’s reporting in Xinjiang, COVID-19 and Hong Kong. 

“We never threatened him,” said the foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying in a news briefing. “We don’t know why he left because he didn’t say goodbye.” 

BBC tweeted Wednesday, “The BBC is proud of John’s award-winning reporting during his time in Beijing and he remains our China correspondent.” 

Tensions between China and BBC have been on the rise. Last month, China barred the BBC World News from being aired in response to what the Chinese embassy in London called “relentless fabrication of ‘lies of the century’ in reporting China.” 

In February, the BBC reported that women in Xinjiang’s internment camp for Uighurs were subjected to rape, sexual abuse and torture. China has repeatedly said BBC’s reports were false and has also denied other claims of human rights abuses in Xinjiang from western governments and rights groups. 

While Sudworth was not one of the BBC journalists credited in the Xinjiang report, he has been criticized by name by the Chinese foreign ministry as well as the Chinese state and media for his reporting. 

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