BBC journalist leaves China after Beijing criticises Uighurs coverage

BBC News said on Wednesday that one of its journalists in China had relocated to Taiwan, a move that comes amid Beijing’s criticism of the broadcaster’s reports on alleged human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang region.

BBC News did not specify why John Sudworth had left Beijing. “John’s work has exposed truth the Chinese authorities did not want the world to know,” it said in a statement published on one of its official Twitter accounts.

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

Beijing took BBC World News off the airwaves last month in response to what the Chinese embassy in London called “relentless fabrication of ‘lies of the century’ in reporting China”.

The BBC published a report in February that women in Xinjiang’s internment camps for Uighurs had been subjected to rape, sexual abuse and torture.

Sudworth was not one of the BBC journalists credited in the report, but the Chinese foreign ministry, state media and outlets backed by the Communist party have criticised him by name.

China has repeatedly said the BBC’s report was false. It has also forcefully denied other claims by western governments and rights groups of human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

The Global Times, published by the Communist party’s official People’s Daily newspaper, quoted a Xinjiang party official on Wednesday as saying that a number of people in the region planned to sue the BBC for “producing fake news, spreading rumours about Xinjiang and slandering China’s policy in the region.”.

A spokeswoman for Taiwan’s foreign ministry, Joanne Ou, said it could not comment on individual cases but added: “We welcome all reporters from media outlets to come to Taiwan and enjoy freedom of the press and speech.”