Beijing, Mar 31 (PTI) The BBC's Beijing correspondent John Sudworth, whose sustained reporting on the treatment of the Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang province angered China, has moved to Taiwan following pressure and threats from the local authorities, the British broadcaster said on Wednesday.
Sudworth, who has won awards for his reporting on Xinjiang, left Beijing with his family, BBC said in a report on its website.
Sudworth, who was based in China for nine years, said he moved to Taiwan along with his wife, Yvonne Murray, also a China correspondent for the Irish public broadcaster RTE.
Sudworth says he and his team faced surveillance, threats of legal action, obstruction and intimidation wherever they tried to film.
Asked about Sudworth's departure and allegations of intimidation, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told mediapersons that he may have left as he faced legal action over his reporting on Xinjiang.
'We've heard that some individuals and entities in Xinjiang are planning to sue him because his fake reports on the region have damaged their interests,' Hua said.
She said no Chinese department nor any local governments in China threatened him. 'If there's any evidence that he's under threat he should have called the police for protection,' she said.
China has protested to the BBC recently, accusing it of carrying fake reports on China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and China's COVID-19 prevention and control efforts.
Last month, China had barred BBC World News from being aired in the country and revoked its license for one year.
On Sudworth's departure, The Foreign Correspondents' Club (FCC) of China said foreign journalists are 'being caught up in diplomatic rows out of their control'.
'Abuse of Sudworth and his colleagues at the BBC forms part of a larger pattern of harassment and intimidation that obstructs the work of foreign correspondents in China and exposes their Chinese news assistants to growing pressure,' the FCC said in a statement posted on Twitter. PTI KJV IND AKJ IND