BBC journalist covering lockdown protests in China arrested, allegedly ‘beaten and kicked’ by police

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Amidst ongoing protests in China against the government’s draconian lockdowns, authorities attempted to spin the reported beating and arrest of a British journalist caught on camera.

For days the people of Shanghai have taken to the streets calling for the resignation of President Xi Jinping and an end to the “zero-COVID” policies enforced by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Believed to have been incited by an apartment fire that killed at least 10 people who were barricaded in their homes as part of the forceful measures taken to control the spread of the virus, the BBC’s Ed Lawrence was on the scene when he was confronted by police.

After an initial exchange between Lawrence and law enforcement, video of the arrest showed the excessive means by which the journalist was taken into custody as protesters reportedly chanted, “Release!”

Another view of the arrest showed Lawrence being hauled away as he could be heard telling another individual, “Contact the consulate!”

After he was released, the BBC employee shared a statement from his outlet regarding his treatment and informed the public that a Chinese citizen had also been arrested in an attempt to stop the beating from happening.

“A statement from the BBC on what happened to me in Shanghai last night while doing my job. I understand at least one local national was arrested after trying to stop the police from beating me,” Lawrence explained before adding, “Thanks very much for the kind words and messages of concern.”

The BBC’s statement read, “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,” it continued. “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.”

Meanwhile, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, suggested the outlet was lying about the incident and said, “According to our understanding, the BBC’s statement is not true. 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. 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.”

Zhao’s lockstep promotion of the CCP’s narrative had him escalating tensions ahead of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan earlier this year when he told reporters, “We would like to tell the US once again that China is standing by, and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army will never sit idly by. China will take resolute responses and strong countermeasures to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity…As for what measures, if [Pelosi] dares to go, then let’s wait and see.”

Lawrence noted that “Swiss colleague” Michael Peuker had also been arrested during the protests and while it was initially reported that the radio journalist’s equipment had been taken, a clarification was issued stating, “Michael’s equipment was *not* seized I’m told.”

Also of note, as so-called experts mount a resurgent call for mask mandates, the World Economic Forum’s founder and chair Klaus Schwab recently lauded the measures in China and said at a summit in Thailand, “The Chinese model is certainly a very attractive model for quite a number of countries,” and suggested they were a “role model.”

Republished with permission from American Wire News Service

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[sharenow]
Kevin Haggerty

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