Carrie Gracie, the BBC's veteran China editor has resigned her position in Beijing in protest over what she called a "secretive and illegal pay culture" for men and women at the British public broadcaster. In an open letter, Gracie said the BBC was facing a "crisis of trust", after it was revealed two-thirds of its stars earning more than 150,000 pounds were male. Gracie said she left her role as editor of the corporation's Beijing bureau last week, but would return to her former post in the TV newsroom "where I expect to be paid equally". In the letter, issued on yesterday, she accused the BBC of having a "secretive and illegal pay culture". Gracie - a China specialist who is fluent in Mandarin - said "the BBC belongs to you, the licence fee payer". "I believe you have a right to know that it is breaking equality law and resisting pressure for a fair and transparent pay structure," Grace, who has been at the BBC for more than 30 years, said. The BBC has said there is "no systemic discrimination against women". In a statement, a BBC spokeswoman said "fairness in pay" at the corporation "is vital". "A significant number of organisations have now published their gender pay figures showing that we are performing considerably better than many and are well below the national average. "Alongside that, we have already conducted a independent judge-led audit of pay for rank and file staff which showed 'no systemic discrimination against women'. A separate report for on air staff will be published in the not too distant future, she was quoted as saying by the BBC. Meanwhile, many fellow journalists have expressed their support to Grace using the hashtag #IStandWithCarrie. BBC broadcasters including Mishal Husain, Lyse Doucet, Clare Balding, Emily Maitlis and Sarah Montague voiced their support for Ms Gracie; while Channel 4 News presenter Cathy Newman, and Labour MPs Harriet Harman and Jess Phillips and Conservative MP Nadine Dorries have also reacted positively to the move, the report said. In July last year, the BBC was forced to reveal the salaries of all employees earning more than 150,000 a year. Gracie said she was dismayed to discover the BBC's two male international editors earned "at least 50 per cent more" than its two female counterparts. US editor Jon Sopel earned 200,000 pounds to 249,999 pounds, it was revealed, while Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen earned 150,000 pounds to 199,999 pounds. Gracie was not on the list, meaning her salary was less than 150,000 pounds, the BBC report said.
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