BBC says Chinese police assaulted one of its journalists at Shanghai protest

"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 spokesperson for the British public service broadcaster said in a statement. "He was held for several hours before being released.


Reuters | Shanghai | Updated: 28-11-2022 14:49 IST | Created: 28-11-2022 14:45 IST
BBC says Chinese police assaulted one of its journalists at Shanghai protest
Representative Image Image Credit: ANI
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The BBC said on Sunday Chinese police had assaulted one of its journalists covering a protest in the commercial hub of Shanghai and detained him for several hours, drawing criticism from a senior British minister who said the detention was unacceptable.

China disputed the account and said the journalist had not identified himself as a reporter. "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 spokesperson for the British public service broadcaster said in a statement.

"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." In Beijing, a foreign ministry spokesman said the BBC's statement did not reflect what had happened, and that he did not identify himself as a reporter or show his media credentials.

"According to our understanding, the BBC's statement is not true," said the spokesman, Zhao Lijian. "According to authorities in Shanghai the journalist in question did not reveal his journalist identity at the time, he did not openly show his foreign press card," he added.

"When the incident happened, law enforcement personnel asked people to leave, and when certain people did not co-operate, they were taken away from the scene." Foreign reporters in China are required to carry a government-issued card identifying themselves as accredited journalists when covering news events.

Shanghai is one of the Chinese cities where protests have flared in recent days over stringent COVID curbs, following a deadly fire in the far western region. Journalists must be able to report freely, said Britain's business minister Grant Shapps.

"What is unacceptable, of course, is for journalists who should be fully entitled to cover things freely to be caught up and involved and indeed, arrested, and I know that that will be causing concern at the foreign office and elsewhere this morning," he told LBC Radio. The BBC, in its statement before the Chinese ministry comment, said it had not been given a credible explanation for Lawrence's detention.

"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," it said. Social media images showed a man whom other journalists identified as Lawrence being arrested by men in police uniforms.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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