Sophia Yan is an award-winning senior foreign correspondent for the Telegraph, based in Istanbul.
She is the host of the documentary series “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 reports extensively on human rights, investigating China’s crackdown against ethnic minority groups, and unveiling human trafficking networks between China and the US. Her work revealed at the start of the coronavirus pandemic that the Chinese government was not accurately reporting the death toll, and 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, Huawei, Sinopec, Xiaomi, 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.”
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.