BBC China correspondent John Sudworth moves to Taiwan after threats – BBC News

the bbc's china correspondent john sudworth has relocated from beijing to taiwan following pressure and threats from the chinese authorities in the wake of his departure chinese state media outlets are continuing to run stories attacking john for his coverage of xinjiang and the origins of the coronavirus well let's speak to john now who joins us from taipei john good to see you safe and sound just tell us a little bit more about why you left well you'll as you say it's an unusual backdrop that's the type a skyline behind me i'm currently in the two weeks compulsory quarantine that taiwan uh has of course imposed why am i here well um you know it won't come as any surprise to you that as a result of my reporting over the last few years on subjects that you've mentioned there xinjiang the origins of the virus hong kong those sorts of sensitive stories for china we have come under increasing pressure from the authorities but that has really intensified in recent weeks and months uh including um a pretty intense propaganda campaign uh targeted not just at the bbc but at me personally and at my reporting um we have faced legal threats and um increased surveillance and harassment whenever and wherever we try to uh to film and given those risks and difficulties uh very reluctantly um we decided along with the bbc that um we should relocate um that we had kind of reached a limit and as a result we are now uh here in taipei um interestingly you know even our departure um followed by plainclothes policemen uh through the departure hall of the airport so a a reminder right to the very end if you like of the the grim reality of reporting in china today uh john just tell us what the pressure was like for you and the family of course you know as a reporter in in china it is part of the picture um you know uh it goes with the territory if you like we are not unique in facing this kind of pressure um and you know you make a a calculation about it um and for a long time as i say it was part of the backdrop we were used to the pressure over visas for example uh severely curtailed visas being awarded not just to me but other foreign journalists renewals often right at the uh the point of expiry uh you know a deliberate tactic of uncertainty to pressure journalists but in recent weeks i i think there's no doubt it's intensified and of course it's unpleasant um trying to report and do your work in that kind of environment but it is important i think to notice that this is part of a to note this is part of a pattern uh you know this path to taiwan is now sadly a fairly well trodden one there are other foreign journalists for international news organizations based here now after expulsions that have taken place in recent years the american networks and newspapers now have very few reporters inside china australian news organizations none at all so that gives you a sense of the decreasing space in china for foreign journalism of course most worryingly at a time when the world needs to know what is happening there more than ever john well we are incredibly proud of your reporting thank you very much uh for giving us a sense of what it was like there for you and the bbc has issued a statement on john's relocation from beijing to taiwan john's work has exposed truths the chinese authorities did not want the world to know the bbc is proud of john's award-winning reporting during his time in beijing and he remains our china correspondent

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