Why BBC journalist Ed Lawrence detained by Chinese Police?
A journalist from the British BBC network was arrested this Sunday in Shanghai (east) after being ‘hit and kicked’ by Chinese police officers while recording the wave of protests against the anti-covid policies that are shaking the Asian giant.
Cameraman Ed Lawrence was covering the demonstrations in the Chinese megalopolis this Sunday when he was ‘attacked’ by several local police officers, the British media reported today.
‘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 spokesman for the state channel said in a statement.
The reporter ‘was held for several hours before being released. During his detention, he was beaten and kicked by the police. This happened while he was working as an accredited journalist,’ the letter added. During this Sunday, recordings circulated through social networks showing a man with Western features, identified as Lawrence by other journalists accredited in China, being handcuffed by the police.
BBC issued statement
In a statement said, ‘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.”
This morning, Lawrence himself wrote on his Twitter account: ‘ I understand at least one local citizen was arrested after trying to get the cops to stop beating me.’ The Shanghai Foreign Correspondents Club issued a statement today expressing its ‘great concern’ over Lawrence’s ‘forced detention’: ‘We hope that the police and authorities will ensure that legitimate journalists can do their duty without facing interference or excessive use of force’.
The statement continues, “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.”
No explanation or apology
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was due to deliver his first major foreign policy speech on Monday night, in which, according to released excerpts, he was preparing to forcefully defend the values of freedom and openness, especially against China and Russia.
Calling the arrest ‘shocking and unacceptable’, the spokesman for the head of government urged Beijing to respect freedom of the press and the right to protest. ‘But this does not mean that we do not seek constructive relations with China on other issues’ such as the fight against global warming or the economy, he said.
The BBC spokesperson stated that the public group received ‘no explanation or apology from the Chinese authorities, apart from the statement by the officers, who later released’ the journalist ‘that they had detained him for his own good in case he would have caught the covid in the crowd.’
Lawrence tweeted Monday to thank his supporters, adding that at least one Chinese national ‘was detained after trying to stop the police beating me.’ The reporter later returned to the site of the protests, according to videos he posted on his Twitter page.
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