BBC journalist leaves China over coverage of alleged Uighur torture

PA Wire  dpa

The BBC has run reports claiming that women have been systematically raped, sexually abused, and tortured at camps in Xinjiang, where the US State Department alleges that up to 2 million people have been put into internment camps.

While the BBC did not elaborate on the exact reason for the move, it said that "John's work has exposed the truths the Chinese authorities did not want the world to know".

He had been reporting from China for more than nine years, first in Shanghai and then Beijing.

A senior BBC journalist said on Wednesday he had left China as he was facing pressure and legal threats for his reporting on human rights abuses in Xinjiang and the coronavirus pandemic.

RTÉ's Beijing correspondent Yvonne Murray has fled China with her family amid concerns for the safety of her husband, BBC China correspondent John Sudworth. He won a George Polk Award a year ago for his reporting on internment camps for Muslims in the Xinjiang region.

"But in recent months they have intensified, the BBC has faced a full-on propaganda attack not just aimed at the organization itself but at me personally, across multiple Communist Party-controlled platforms".


The affairs of Hong Kong are purely China's internal affairs and the Chinese government is determined and confident to safeguard national sovereignty, security, and the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, said Chinese Foreign Ministry's spokesperson Hua Chunying during Tuesday's press conference.

The Foreign Correspondents' Club of China said that Sudworth had left last week "amid concerns for his safety and that of his family".

"We left in a hurry as the pressure and threats from the Chinese government, which have been going on for some time, became too much", she told the Irish state broadcaster.

The United States is not qualified to condemn China's human rights, said the spokesperson, adding that it's time to put an end to the show written, directed, and acted by some USA politicians.

In a statement to media outlets, China's foreign ministry denied threatening the reporter and said Sudworth had not given any notice of his departure. China expelled 18 journalists working for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post in 2020.

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