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BBC journalist John Sudworth leaves China over safety concerns

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Children have fun on Dove Lane in Hotan City northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region

While the BBC did not elaborate on the exact reason for the move, it said that "John's work has exposed the truths the Chinese authorities did not want the world to know".

China has increasingly expelled, harassed, detained and intimidated foreign journalists leading to a "rapid decline in media freedom", the Foreign Correspondents' Club of China found in its annual report.

News said on Wednesday one of its journalists in China had relocated to Taiwan, a move that comes amid criticism from Beijing about the broadcaster's reports on alleged human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang region. Sudworth said he was followed to the airport in a hurried exit, with "the true grim reality for reporters here being made clear all the way to the very end". He won a George Polk Award past year for his reporting on internment camps for Muslims in the Xinjiang region. She "continue to report on China from Taiwan". China says the camps were vocational training centers and denies any abuses.

"These included videos posted online by state media that named him and used footage of him obtained from Chinese police cameras".

"But in recent months they have intensified, the BBC has faced a full-on propaganda attack not just aimed at the organisation itself but at me personally, across multiple Communist-party controlled platforms".

The Chinese embassy in Ireland said Wednesday that Sudworth "has been strongly criticised by a lot of Chinese for his unfair, unobjective and biased reporting on China".

State media have reported that residents in Xinjiang are preparing to sue BBC over its reports on the region.

Speaking on RTÉ's News At One, she said: "We left in a hurry as the pressure and threats from the Chinese government, which have been going on for some time, became too much". "Nor have we heard of any Chinese government department threatening him".

The family took the decision to leave after Mr Sudworth said he faced surveillance, obstruction and intimidation as he reported on issues including human rights abuses in Xinjiang province and the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

China's foreign ministry routinely grants truncated journalist visas, including to the Telegraph, as punishment in response to coverage the Chinese authorities dislike.

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