Commentary on Political Economy

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

 WELCOME TO TAIPEI, JOHN ! 

BBC’s China Correspondent Moves to Taipei After China Criticism

Bloomberg News

British Broadcasting Corp.’s China correspondent John Sudworth has left Beijing after intense criticism from the Chinese government and citizens of the outlet’s recent coverage.

“John’s work has exposed truths the Chinese authorities did not want the world to know,” according to a statement on Twitter by the BBC News Press Team. “The BBC is proud of John’s award-winning reporting during his time in Beijing and he remains our China correspondent.”

China has a history of making it difficult for journalists to work in the country, and the situation has worsened in the past few years. Beijing last year expelled a slew of foreign reporters, with the government saying most of those were in response to curbs the U.S. placed on Chinese reporters.

In February, BBC World News was taken off the air in China. That followed the U.K.’s removal of Chinese state-backed broadcaster CGTN’s license.

Then earlier this month the news department of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the BBC’s Beijing bureau that its recent China reports seriously misled readers, according to a ministry statement.

Cheng Lei, a Chinese-born Australian national who worked for state broadcaster CGTN, is being detained on national security charges, and two journalists working for Australian media outlets fled the country in September last year after being questioned by security agents.

China sentenced former lawyer Zhang Zhan to four years in prison in December over her posts about the coronavirus response in Wuhan, according to media reports.

— With assistance by Philip Glamann, Colum Murphy, and James Mayger

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