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Spokesperson of Chinese Mission to the EU Speaks on a Question Concerning the EEAS Statement on the Departure of BBC's China Correspondent

Q: On April 2, EEAS Spokesperson issued a statement on the departure of BBC’s China correspondent and the presence of foreign journalists in China, saying that this is the latest case of foreign correspondents being driven out of China as a result of continuous harassment and obstruction to their work. The EU calls on China to abide by its obligations under national and international law and ensure the freedom of speech and press. What is your response?

A: The EEAS rash statement is not in accord with the facts. I wish to make the following clarification and response.

China protects the freedom of speech and press in accordance with law. In China, there are nearly 500 foreign correspondents from over 40 countries, including about 200 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.

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 spreading 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 the safety of foreign nationals in China in accordance with law.

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 facilitation and assistance to foreign correspondents for their reporting in China. Yet we firmly reject ideological prejudice against China, we firmly reject any conduct in breach of press work ethics and morality, and we firmly reject any attack and slandering on China by fabricating fake news and disinformation in the name of the freedom of speech and press.

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