Coveney urged to call on Chinese Ambassador to explain forced departure of Yvonne Murray

Coveney urged to call on Chinese Ambassador to explain forced departure of Yvonne Murray

James Cox

Fianna Fáil Senator Malcolm Byrne has urged Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney to call in the Chinese Ambassador to Ireland to explain why an Irish journalist has been forced to leave the country.

RTÉ’s Beijing correspondent Yvonne Murray has fled China with her family amid concerns for the safety of her husband, BBC China correspondent John Sudworth.

The couple, who have three young children, have been based in China for the past nine years.

Ms Murray, an Irish journalist, told RTÉ's News At One that Chinese authorities “took issue” with her husband's reporting.

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.

Human rights

Senator Byrne said: “As a matter of urgency, the Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney must call in the Ambassador of China to Ireland to explain this issue. The continuing deterioration in press freedom and human rights in China is deeply concerning.

“There is an urgent need for an Oireachtas debate on the deteriorating human rights behaviour in China. My Oireachtas colleagues and I are deeply concerned about genocide against the Uighur people, the repression of democracy and free press in Hong Kong and ongoing abuses against the Tibetan people and other minorities.

“In light of these human rights abuses there needs to be a serious review of the European-China trade deal.”

Senator Byrne has also called for the Government to support demands to move next year’s Winter Olympics from Beijing to deny the Chinese government the chance to use the Games for propaganda purposes.

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