CHINA / DIPLOMACY
Chinese Mission to the EU rejects EEAS claims on China 'harassing' BBC's Sudworth, saying slandering China with fake news is not accepted
Published: Apr 03, 2021 11:00 AM Updated: Apr 03, 2021 10:11 PM
John Sudworth

John Sudworth


The Chinese Mission to the EU on Saturday refuted the rash statement from the European External Action Service (EEAS) which accused China of pressuring BBC's China correspondent John Sudworth and other foreign journalists in China, saying the statement is not in accord with facts and stressed that they firmly reject slandering of China by fabricating fake news and disinformation.

On Friday, EEAS Spokesperson issued a statement, claiming that the department of BBC's China correspondent John Sudworth is the latest case of foreign correspondents being driven out of China as a result of continuous harassment and obstruction to their work. It also voiced concern for other foreign journalists in China.

In response to these allegations, Spokesperson of the Chinese Mission to the EU said on Saturday that BBC's China correspondent John Sudworth and his family have worked and lived in China for 9 years. There is no so-called pressure or threat against them. 

"If he has not engaged in disinformation as he claims, there is no need for him to worry about litigation for his reporting. Even if any lawsuit is brought against him, he could well respond in a calm manner. If he is concerned about personal safety, he could have reported to the police. The Chinese authorities protect foreign nationals in China in accordance with law," said the spokesperson.

China protects freedom of speech and press in accordance with law. There are nearly 500 foreign correspondents from over 40 countries working in China, some 200 of which are European correspondents. Many of them have lived and worked in China for over 10 or even 30 years. This is the true picture of the presence of foreign correspondents in China, according to the spokesperson.

The EU accused China of expelling at least 18 correspondents last year. In fact, the steps China took were a legitimate and necessary response to the US' suppression and expulsion of over 60 Chinese correspondents.

"China has and will continue providing assistance to foreign correspondents for their reporting in China. Yet we firmly reject ideological prejudice against China, we firmly reject any conduct that breaches press work ethics and morality, and we firmly reject any attack and slandering of China by fabricating fake news and disinformation in the name of freedom of speech and the press," stressed the spokesperson.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry confirmed on Wednesday BBC reporter John Sudworth's sudden departure from the Chinese mainland without giving any reason was "abnormal" after the Global Times, citing a source, reported that Sudworth, who became infamous in China for his many biased reports distorting China's Xinjiang policies and COVID-19 responses, had left the Chinese mainland and is believed to be hiding in Taiwan island, as some Xinjiang individuals plan to sue BBC for fake news.

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 Chinese Foreign Ministry on Thursday called the BBC "pathetic" to use its reporter John Sudworth's abnormal departure to threaten and blackmail China, stressing that China is the actual victim of BBC's fake reports. 

Global Times


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