Another day, another public and brutal display of authoritarianism by the Chinese regime!
A journalist representing the United Kingdom’s BBC was beaten by police and arrested as he covered protests in Shanghai, according to reports.
Some protestors in China have called for their communist dictator Xi Jinping to step down along with his party after ten people died in a fire in Xinjiang. Many believe the tragic event turned out worse due to continued Covid-19 lockdowns enacted by the country’s government, according to RedState.
BBC senior journalist and camera operator Ed Lawrence posted online about covering these protests shortly before his arrest:
I’m at the scene of last night’s extraordinary anti Covid-zero protest in Shanghai. Many people are gathered here quietly watching. Lots of cops. Two girls laid flowers which were promptly removed by police. One man drove past with middle finger up at police. #shanghai
— Edward Lawrence (@EP_Lawrence) November 27, 2022
A video of the incident shows Lawrence being physically pushed around by Chinese police as protestors allegedly chanted for him to be let go. The journalist was hauled off as he yelled to a person who is presumably his friend to “Call the consulate now.”
The witness who shared the videos said they saw the journalist get “sieged and dragged to the ground by several cops,” per CNN.
— The Great Translation Movement 大翻译运动官方推号 (@TGTM_Official) November 27, 2022
UK Business Secretary Grant Shapps commented on the matter, saying, “There can be absolutely no excuse whatsoever for a journalist that was simply covering the process going on for being beaten by police.”
BBC’s News Press Team put out a statement accusing the Chinese government of offering an explanation for what happened that is “not credible.” The Chinese government alleged that Lawrence was arrested for “his own good.”
According to a BBC spokesman:
The BBC is extremely concerned about the treatment of our journalist Ed Lawrence, who was arrested and handcuffed while covering the protests in Shanghai. 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.
It is very worrying that one of our journalists was attacked in this way whilst carrying out his duties. We have had no 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 from the crowd. We do not consider this a credible explanation.
BBC Statement on Ed Lawrence pic.twitter.com/wedDetCtpF
— BBC News Press Team (@BBCNewsPR) November 27, 2022