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BBC: Chinese police attacked BBC journalist at COVID protest

Footage on social media showed a man whom other journalists identified as the BBC’s Ed Lawrence being arrested by men in police uniforms.

The BBC has said Chinese police assaulted one of its journalists covering a protest in Shanghai and detained him for several hours, but China disputed the account, saying he did not identify himself as a reporter.

Hundreds of people took to the streets of major Chinese cities on Sunday in a rare display of public anger against the state.

Footage on social media showed a man whom other journalists identified as the BBC’s Ed Lawrence being arrested by men in police uniforms.

“The BBC is extremely concerned about the treatment of our journalist Ed Lawrence, who was arrested and handcuffed while covering the protests in Shanghai,” a spokesman for the British broadcaster said in a statement on Monday.

“He was held for several hours before being released. During his arrest, he was beaten and kicked by the police. This happened while he was working as an accredited journalist”.

‘Follow Chinese laws’

Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the BBC’s statement did not reflect what really happened and that Lawrence did not identify himself as a reporter or show his press credentials.

“To the best of our understanding, the BBC statement is not true. According to the Shanghai authorities, the journalist in question did not disclose his journalistic identity at the time, he did not openly show his foreign press card,” Zhao said.

“When the incident occurred, law enforcement personnel asked people to leave, and when certain individuals did not cooperate, they were taken from the scene.”

Zhao warned international media to “follow Chinese laws and regulations while in China.”

Foreign reporters in China must carry a government-issued card identifying them as accredited journalists when covering news events.

Lawrence tweeted Monday to thank his supporters, adding that he believed “at least one local citizen was arrested after trying to stop police from beating me.”

‘Arrested for his own good’

The BBC, in its statement before the Chinese ministry’s comment, said it had not been given a credible explanation for Lawrence’s detention.

“We have not received any official explanation or apology from the Chinese authorities, beyond a claim by the officials who later released him that they had arrested him for his own good in case he caught COVID in the crowd,” the statement said. station.

A British government minister on Monday denounced the actions of Chinese police as “unacceptable” and “worrying.”

“No matter what, press freedom must be sacrosanct,” business secretary Grant Shapps told LBC radio.

Police approached a correspondent for Swiss national broadcaster RTS while reporting live from China on the protests.

Michael Peuker thought he was about to be stopped by the three policemen who surrounded him while he was reporting.

“They will take me to the police station after this,” he said live on camera.

The station later reported that Peuker identified himself as a journalist, after which the policemen left without taking him or his cameraman with them.

The latest protests, unprecedented in mainland China since President Xi Jinping took power a decade ago, began after 10 people died in a fire in Urumqi, the capital of the western Xinjiang region, which many of the protesters attributed to prolonged COVID. -19 blocks.

The deaths have become a lightning rod of frustrations over Beijing’s dogged commitment to zero COVID and its combination of strict lockdowns, mass testing and tracking that continues to hamper people’s lives three years after the first cases of the virus were detected. then unknown in the central city of Wuhan.

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Merry

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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