Sophia Yan is an award-winning senior foreign correspondent for the Telegraph, based in Istanbul.

She is the host of several documentaries and narrative podcasts that investigate global human rights abuses and transnational repression, including “Inside Xinjiang,” on China’s human rights abuses against the Uyghurs, and narrative podcasts “How To Become a Dictator,” about the rise of Chinese leader Xi Jinping, and “Hong Kong Silenced,” on how an entire city was muzzled in just one year.

Sophia’s investigations have unveiled shadowy terrorist financing networks across the Middle East, Russia’s illegal abduction of Ukrainian children, China’s brutal crackdown against Muslim minority groups, and human trafficking networks between China, Europe, and the US.

At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, her reporting revealed that the Chinese government was not accurately reporting the country’s death toll, and in 2019, exposed how Chinese secret police tortured a British consulate worker.

She received the 2020 Marie Colvin Award for her coverage of China, where she was based for a decade.

Prior to the Telegraph, Sophia was an on-air correspondent for CNBC in Beijing, during which she led live coverage from Tiananmen Square, the World Economic Forum in Dalian, Boao Forum, Belt and Road Forum; and interviewed venture capitalist Kai-Fu Lee, award-winning Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou, actor Jackie Chan, as well as CEOs and senior executives from Google DeepMind, HuaweiSinopecXiaomi, ZTE, and Inter Milan.

She previously covered government, business, and breaking news for CNN and Bloomberg, based in Hong Kong and Washington DC. Sophia lived in Japan as a 2015 Abe Journalist Fellow reporting on gender inequality, has also been based in Taipei and Honolulu, and began her career at Time Magazine.

Sophia is frequently invited to moderate and speak at embassies, universities, and conferences, including the Oslo Freedom Forum, and is a regular contributor to the BBC and Monocle 24. She is on the board of NüVoices, a global editorial collective of women working on issues relating to China, and a host on its bi-weekly podcast.

When Sophia isn’t busy reporting, she is tickling another kind of keyboard. An accomplished classical pianist, Sophia has won several competitions and performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Fontainebleau Chateau, Hong Kong Arts Centre, Hong Kong Fringe Club, and Aspen Music Festival.

She is the co-founder and pianist of chamber collective Western District, the official pianist for the “Lawfare” and “Rational Security” podcasts, and has premiered more than 100 works by living composers, including pieces she commissioned.

The New York Times has described her as a performer whose “music literally pulls her off the piano bench; she ranges up and down the keyboard so quickly and with such ferocity that mere sitting will not do.”

Sophia’s unique journalism-music blend landed her on The Loop HK’s “30 under 30” list in 2016, and her dedication to performing tango music was featured on CNN Español.

She graduated in 2009 from Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music with a B.A. in English, with Honors, and a B.Mus. in piano performance. She is also a certified yoga instructor.


‘I escaped China’s brutal regime… then my son was kidnapped and forced to join Isis’

Meet the Uyghurs who risked death to escape China illegally to start new lives abroad – and many who made it have horrifying stories to tell.
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‘I fled China 20 years ago – the state is still hunting me’

Having escaped and started a new life in Egypt, Seypiddin thought his family would be safe, but in reality, the nightmare had just begun
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‘I stopped saying Xi’s name out loud’: Why The Telegraph’s correspondent had to flee China

In 2012, Sophia Yan arrived in Hong Kong to a mood of national optimism. A decade on, she leaves under a cloud of fear and surveillance
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How to build a democratic dictatorship

How Xi Jinping became China’s most powerful ruler since Chairman Mao – and what he’s doing with it
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Wuhan one year on: The city that appears safe from covid – but at what cost?

One year after the Covid-19 pandemic erupted, our China Correspondent returns to Wuhan and asks whether all is really as it seems
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Exclusive: Aboard a US aircraft carrier combating Beijing’s growing aggression in the South China Sea

Sailing through the South China Sea, the latest on a long list ramping up tensions between the US and China
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Celebrating CNN's 35th anniversary. Hong Kong, 2015.

Can China’s last reindeer herders survive a Communist Party purge?

Ewenki customs have been eradicated and many have been forcibly resettled in a ‘Disneyfied’ version of their communities
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‘I didn’t think I would ever be let out’: How China tortured a UK consulate worker over Britain’s role in Hong Kong

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‘One minute felt like one year’: A day in the life of inmates in the Xinjiang internment camps

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‘I was always in fear – I thought they would kill me’: Muslim women describe torture at hands of Chinese authorities in Xinjiang

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China Uber-rates its citizens… A harmless nudge? Or sinister surveillance society?

Imagine visiting your elderly mum and getting free soap as a reward. Or dropping litter and being banned from buying a train ticket. In China, the state is using a combination of cutting-edge technology and old-fashioned values to rate behaviour
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China’s tiny Jewish community in fear as Beijing erases its history

Despite numbering only a thousand, China’s Jews are falling foul of Beijing’s campaign against non-sanctioned religions
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