The BBC is reporting that their journalist Ed Lawrence was beaten and arrested for several hours by Chinese police officers while covering the massive protests in Shanghai on Sunday.
The tyrannical measures of the continuing lockdowns by the Chinese government under President Xi Jinping are disturbing enough, but this particular incident is sending the situation to a level of global concern.
The footage of the incident has made its way around social media and is sparking outrage among even those with leftist ideologies. Under Chinese law, foreign journalists are “entitled to unfettered access to report in China.”
Footage shows Mr. Lawrence was held down by several officers before being handcuffed and detained.
BREAKING: BBC journalist @EP_Lawrence was “beaten and kicked" by Chinese police during his coverage of the anti-lockdown protests in Shanghai.
BBC spox: “The BBC is extremely concerned about the treatment of our journalist…”pic.twitter.com/4rP0ZUKGAX
— Election Wizard 🇺🇸 (@ElectionWiz) November 27, 2022
The BBC released a statement on Sunday expressing its concern about the treatment of their journalist and gave a brief explanation of what had occurred. The BBC also added that he was detained for several hours and beaten during his detainment. It went on to say that the only explanation that was given from the Chinese authorities was that it was done for his own good so that he didn’t catch COVID-19.
BBC Statement on Ed Lawrence pic.twitter.com/wedDetCtpF
— BBC News Press Team (@BBCNewsPR) November 27, 2022
Zhao Lijian, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, told reporters on Monday that according to their understanding, the BBC’s statement is not true. He also added that according to authorities in Shanghai, Lawrence did not reveal his journalist credentials at the appropriate time.
The news conference where he made these remarks was not in response to the incident and was briefly mentioned during a regularly scheduled meeting. There seems to be little concern from the Chinese government regarding the treatment of Lawrence. But should anything less be expected from a government that has confined millions of people to their homes in the name of zero-COVID and has blood on their hands resulting from the restrictions?
A spokesman for British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called the detention “shocking and unacceptable” on Monday.
“The arrest of BBC journalist Ed Lawrence in China is deeply disturbing. Journalists must be able to do their job without intimidation,” British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said.
As tensions continue to rise in response to China’s zero-COVID policies, Lawrence is likely the least of the President’s concerns.