British broadcaster BBC said Chinese police have assaulted and detained senior journalist Ed Lawrence who was covering a protest in Shanghai on Sunday (27 Nov.), releasing him after several hours.
Shanghai is one of several cities that have seen protests over stringent China’s COVID-19 restrictions, which flared in recent days after a deadly fire in China’s far west.
Footage on social media showed a man whom other journalists identified as Lawrence being arrested by men in police uniforms. The BBC said it had not been given a credible explanation for his detention.
“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.
“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.”
“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.”
Lawrence, a senior journalist and camera operator for the BBC’s China bureau, was tweeting from the scene of the protest in Shanghai on Sunday morning UK time.
He wrote: “I’m at the scene of last night’s extraordinary anti COVID-zero protest in Shanghai. Many people are gathered here quietly watching. Lots of cops.”
Another tweet read: “One man has just approached me to say his flowers were confiscated by police.
“As he tells me this, two cops come over to listen to our conversation.”
China’s embassy in London has been approached for comment. (Source: The Guardian)