After facing severe threats and pressure over coverage of issues like Xinjiang and COVID-19, a correspondent for the British Broadcasting Agency (BBC) left Beijing along with his family.
John Sudworth, who was based in China for nine years, had left Beijing along with his wife, Yvonne Murray, a reporter for the Irish public broadcaster RTE, and their three young children.
Both Sudworth and Murray have said they will continue to cover China from Taipei.
On Wednesday, Sudworth said that he made the decision after being subjected to intensifying propaganda campaign targeting him and the BBC.
He also cited legal threats as well as the increasing difficulty of doing independent reporting in China without obstruction or harassment.
The departures of Sudworth and Murray are part of a larger recent exodus of foreign journalists from China.
Last year, the Chinese government expelled around 15 correspondents for American news organizations, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.
Murray said in an interview with RTE’s “News At One” program that the family had left in a hurry last week and plainclothes police officers had followed them from their home to the airport.
According to The Foreign Correspondents Club of China (FCCC), 2020 saw the largest expulsion of foreign journalists since the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.
At least 18 journalists were forced to leave, hurried out and their visas were cancelled over national security concerns.
A US media correspondent was reported having to “take three COVID tests over five days” as she attempted to report from Xinjiang, where Chinese state media has routinely claimed the Muslim-minority Uighurs are prospering, not being detained.