The European Union and the United Kingdom expressed concern over China’s media freedom on Friday after two journalists working for British and Irish broadcasters were forced to leave the country at the end of last month.
BBC Chinese correspondent John Sadworth and his wife, Irish broadcaster RTE’s Chinese correspondent Yvonne Murray, left China for Taiwan on March 23.
EU is concerned as BBC and RTE correspondents have left #China.. This departure occurs after long-term harassment and the recent deportation of foreign correspondents. Read the entire statement. https://t.co/37eyUYDjfV
— Nabila Massrali (@NabilaEUspox) April 2, 2021
“This departure is headed by authorities to Mr. Sudworth and his BBC colleagues, including surveillance, intimidation of legal action, harassment, intimidation, and online posting of videos that personally nominated and used him in the official media. Of the police video footage that comes after a period of harassment. “
“This is the latest case of a foreign correspondent being expelled from China as a result of continued harassment and obstruction of their work, in addition to the expulsion of at least 18 correspondents last year,” she said. It was. statement..
She said she had “repeatedly expressed concern” to Beijing that the EU had “reported harassment associated with excessive labor restrictions imposed on foreign journalists.”
“The EU urges China to comply with its obligations under national and international law and to ensure freedom of speech and the press,” the statement said.
In response to a response request from The Epoch Times, a spokesman for the Foreign, Commonwealth Development (FCDO) in the United Kingdom said: With Beijing on a regular basis. “
According to the Foreign Correspondents Club (FCCC), “Sadworth has been disseminated by both Chinese national media and Chinese government officials for months of personal attacks and disinformation targeting him and his BBC colleagues. I left later. “
According to the FCCC, Chinese authorities have issued only short visas of one, three and six months to Sudworth for the past two years. He said he had crossed the “red line”. “
The threat intensified after Ofcom, a British broadcast regulator, revoked the license of CGTN, an international English satellite news channel directly controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), on February 4.
On February 11, the Chinese administration announced that it would remove the BBC World News from broadcasting in China.
On March 18, a Chinese propaganda agency, Global Times, announced that Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region officials said that “many individuals” in the region “created fake news, spread rumors about Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and promoted China’s policies. We are planning to sue the BBC for being injured, “said Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. “
“Curiously, Chinese officials have also shown increased willingness to threaten journalists with legal action.
In September 2020, the Australian government evacuated two journalists from China after authorities tried to prevent them from leaving.
Australian Broadcasting Corporation Bill Birtles and Australian Financial Review Mike Smith evacuated to the diplomatic mission for five days before they were allowed to leave.
Victoria Kelly-Clark contributed to this report.