Chinese police assaulted BBC journalist at protests, UK broadcaster says

China says that the reporter did not identify himself as a journalist.

 People protest against China's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) curbs in front of the Chinese embassy in London, Britain November 27, 2022 in this still image from a social media video. (photo credit: ALEXANDER MAK/via REUTERS)
People protest against China's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) curbs in front of the Chinese embassy in London, Britain November 27, 2022 in this still image from a social media video.
(photo credit: ALEXANDER MAK/via REUTERS)

The BBC said on Sunday that Chinese police assaulted and detained one of its journalists covering a protest in Shanghai, before later releasing him after several hours.

"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 in a statement.

“He [Lawrence] 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.”

BBC spokesperson

"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," the spokesperson added.

China says BBC reporter did not identify himself as a journalist

China's foreign ministry said that the BBC reporter did not identify himself as a journalist after the BBC said he was detained by police during protest coverage in Shanghai.

Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said they had noted the BBC statement about the incident, but it did not reflect what had happened.

Protests sweep multiple Chinese cities

Shanghai is one of a number of Chinese cities that has seen protests over stringent COVID restrictions, which flared in recent days following a deadly fire in the country's far west.

Footage on social media showed a man whom other journalists identified as Lawrence being arrested by men in police uniforms.

Police officers detain a demonstrator holding a blank board during a protest over coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions, in Shanghai, China, November 27, 2022. (credit:  REUTERS/STAFF)Police officers detain a demonstrator holding a blank board during a protest over coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions, in Shanghai, China, November 27, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/STAFF)

The BBC said it had not been given a credible explanation for Lawrence's detention.

"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," the BBC said.

China's embassy in London has been approached for comment.