Protests against the Xi Jinping government have taken over China for zero-Covid policies. After ten people died in a Xinjiang fire, protestors demanded that Xi and the CCP step down. Chinese citizens believe the fire was made worse by the Covid lockdown due to unreasonably slow response time. BBC journalist and cameraman Ed Lawrence visited the protests for a live report on the chaos, and he was met with a vicious attack by Chinese police.
As protesters demanded his release, Lawrence was kicked and beaten by the police. He was dragged away for arrest, calling on a coworker to “call the consulate.” The BBC put out a statement in response to the brutal affair. Lawrence was working as an accredited journalist, and the BBC is concerned and outraged that this occurred while denying an apology.
According to the British media outlet, authorities in Shanghai responded to concerns upon release, saying he was arrested for his own good. Supposedly, being kicked and beaten was meant to protect Lawrence from catching Covid from the crowd. Of course, the BBC does not consider this an apology or an explanation.
BBC Statement on Ed Lawrence pic.twitter.com/wedDetCtpF
— BBC News Press Team (@BBCNewsPR) November 27, 2022
Lawrence was detained at the Shanghai protest on Sunday and held for several hours. Officials in China say the journalist had not presented his press credentials. It is rare for an attack on journalists to occur, but it has happened before. However, the BBC expressed concerns that their journalist would be attacked while doing his job.
In a press conference Monday, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijan avoided 1responsibility on behalf of the Chinese police. Lijan said that Lawrence did not identify himself correctly and did not present press credentials to the police when approached. But Lawrence wasn’t the only foreign journalist attacked and detained on Sunday.
The Foreign Correspondents Club of China said it was “extremely disturbed” by the outcome of the protests and the maltreatment of several foreigners. A Swiss journalist was also detained Sunday while covering the Shanghai protests. The FCC said, “Journalists from multiple outlets were physically harassed by police while covering the unrest, and at least two journalists were detained.” Recognizing that foreign journalists are allowed unrestricted access to report in China under Chinese law is essential.
The Prime Minister said the detention of Ed Lawrence was “deeply disturbing.” Further, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly wrote, “journalists must be able to do their job without intimidation.” It is no surprise that Chinese government officials are refusing a proper apology for the attack.