NüVoices Podcast #58: The shrinking China foreign press corps, and reporting in Xinjiang, with Sophia Yan

Sophia Yan is the China correspondent for the Telegraph, has covered the region for a decade, and is based in Beijing. Previously, she reported for CNBC, CNN, and Bloomberg, while based in Hong Kong and Washington, D.C., and has had stints in Tokyo and Honolulu. She received the 2020 Marie Colvin Award for her coverage of China, with judges noting Sophia’s determination to “get to the truth, exposing cruelty, injustice, and the abuse of human rights despite all attempts to stop her.” When Sophia isn’t reporting, she’s tickling a different set of keys — on the piano!  

Sophia chats with NüVoices chair Joanna Chiu about why there are so few foreign correspondents on the ground in mainland China, and whether we risk losing nuanced and immediate coverage of China. They also discuss what Sophia learned from her recent reporting trip in Xinjiang about the “new phase” of persecution against Uyghurs, forced factory labor, and how a Hilton hotel is rising in the wreckage of a bulldozed mosque. For their efforts, Sophia and her colleague faced violent obstruction from police and plainclothes thugs. Read her personal account about obstacles on the ground. Watch her Xinjiang documentary series here, and look for her new podcast series, Hong Kong Silenced, about the city’s shrinking freedoms under the national security law that will launch on June 30. 


Sophia: The book The War on the Uyghurs, by Sean Roberts; Anna Fifield’s portrait of Kim Jong-un, The Great Successor; a documentary on the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, The Dissident; and a book about meditation as self-care, Wherever You Go, There You Are, by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Joanna: Megha Rajagopalan’s Pulitzer-winning reporting on Xinjiang and the new report “No Space Left to Run: China’s Transnational Repression of Uyghurs” from the Uyghur Human Rights Project and the Oxus Society for Central Asian Affairs.