Edward Lawrence, a journalist on the BBC, was arrested by police in Shanghai on the scene of protests on Sunday night time, in line with the BBC and as captured on what seems to be cell phone footage of the arrest.
Whereas he has since been launched, a BBC spokesperson has expressed excessive concern about his remedy, saying he was “overwhelmed and kicked by the police.”
Protests have erupted throughout China in a uncommon present of dissent towards the ruling Communist Occasion, sparked by anger over the nation’s more and more expensive zero-Covid coverage.
Among the many hundreds of protesters, tons of have even known as for the elimination of Chinese language chief Xi Jinping, who for practically three years has overseen a technique of mass-testing, brute-force lockdowns, enforced quarantine and digital monitoring that has come at a devastating human and financial price.
Hear protesters in China name for Xi Jinping’s resignation
The BBC assertion reads in full: “The BBC is extraordinarily involved concerning the remedy of our journalist Ed Lawrence, who was arrested and handcuffed whereas masking the protests in Shanghai. He was held for a number of hours earlier than being launched. Throughout his arrest, he was overwhelmed and kicked by the police. This occurred whereas he was working as an accredited journalist.”
The assertion continues, “It is rather worrying that one in every of our journalists was attacked on this method while finishing up his duties. We’ve had no official clarification or apology from the Chinese language authorities, past a declare by the officers who later launched him that they’d arrested him for his personal good in case he caught Covid from the gang. We don’t think about this a reputable clarification.”
At a daily press briefing Monday, China’s overseas ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian acknowledged the detention of Lawrence, however claimed that he didn’t establish himself as a journalist earlier than he was led away by police.
“China at all times welcomes overseas journalists to report within the nation in accordance with the legislation and has offered plenty of help,” Zhao mentioned. “On the identical time, overseas journalists ought to adjust to Chinese language rules when they’re reporting in China.”
Public protest is exceedingly uncommon in China, the place the Communist Occasion has tightened its grip on all facets of life, launched a sweeping crackdown on dissent, worn out a lot of civil society and constructed a high-tech surveillance state.
A minimum of two clips of the arrest had been posted on-line by a Twitter person who says they witnessed the scene. One clip, filmed from above, reveals a minimum of 4 cops standing over a handcuffed man whose face is obscured.
In a second clip of a person sporting the identical clothes, Lawrence’s face is clearly identifiable, as police rapidly led him away, after which shouts, “Name the consulate now.”
The witness who shared the movies mentioned they noticed the journalist get “sieged and dragged to the bottom by a number of cops.”
It’s unclear what occurred within the lead-up to Lawrence’s arrest. The video obtainable on-line begins together with his arrest and doesn’t present what occurred prior.
In an interview with Sky Information on Monday, the UK authorities known as Lawrence’s arrest a “appreciable concern.”
“There may be completely no excuse by any means for a journalist that was merely masking the method occurring for being overwhelmed by police,” mentioned UK Enterprise Secretary Grant Shapps.
Lawrence wasn’t the one overseas journalist detained by Chinese language police on Sunday. Michael Peuker, China correspondent for Swiss broadcaster RTS, was additionally briefly detained whereas reporting stay from a protest in Shanghai, RTS mentioned.
“The stress is at its peak right here. As a proof, I’m now surrounded by three cops, I will likely be taken to the police station after this stay hit,” Peuker mentioned on air. “I’ll depart you now and go to the police station,” he added.
Peuker mentioned on Twitter that he was launched moments later.