BBC reporter John Sudworth's departure without notification abnormal: Chinese FM
Published: Mar 31, 2021 04:15 PM
File photo of John Sudworth

File photo of John Sudworth

Chinese Foreign Ministry said BBC reporter John Sudworth's sudden departure from the Chinese mainland without giving any reason was "abnormal." The Foreign Ministry said they are not aware that Sudworth was under any threat except that he may be sued by individuals in Xinjiang over his slanderous reports, adding that if Sudworth believes his reports are objective, he should stay and respond bravely. 

At Wednesday's press conference, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said she only recently learned about Sudworth's departure when his press credentials were awaiting renewal. Hua said Sudworth did not leave through the proper procedures for resident foreign correspondents. 

The Global Times learned from sources that Sudworth, who became infamous in China for his many biased reports distorting China's Xinjiang policies and COVID-19 responses, has left the Chinese mainland and is believed to be hiding in Taiwan island, as some Xinjiang individuals plan to sue BBC for fake news. 

BBC later said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon that Sudworth has indeed relocated from Beijing to Taiwan, claiming his work has "exposed truths the Chinese authorities did not want the world to know."

From stigmatizing China as the "origin of the novel coronavirus" to claiming Xinjiang's cotton was "tainted," Sudworth has participated in many of BBC's notorious reports attacking China in recent years.

"We too have heard that some people and entities in Xinjiang plan to sue Sudworth over his fake news, but it is a civil action as Chinese people are increasingly aware of resorting to legal means to safeguard their interests," Hua said, adding that the Chinese government is not involved in the lawsuits. 

A number of individuals in Xinjiang have planned to sue BBC for producing fake news, spreading rumors about Xinjiang and slandering China's policy in the region, Xu Guixiang, deputy director of the publicity department of the Communist Party of China Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Committee, previously revealed at a press conference held by the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Beijing on March 18.

"We have not heard of the Chinese government or department threatening him. If Sudworth believes his reports are fair and objective, he should face the lawsuits. If there is evidence that he is threatened, call the police and we will protect him. But what is he running for? What does that tell us?" Hua asked. 

The spokesperson said BBC has broadcast many reports with a strong ideological bias, especially on Xinjiang, Hong Kong and the COVID-19 related issues.  

China has made solemn representations to BBC many times, hoping it will take China's position seriously, abandon anti-China prejudice and double standards, stop slander and attacks on China, and report on China in an objective, fair and accurate way, Hua said.