We’ve been bringing you some of the scenes of the protests that have been sweeping China against the government of Xi Jinping and his zero-COVID policies.
Protesters have demanded that Xi and the CCP step down after ten people died in a fire in Xinjiang. People believe that the situation was made worse by the COVID lockdown that slowed the response to the fire. Some of the people were arrested by the police.
We reported earlier about a BBC journalist who was beaten by the police while covering the protests in Shanghai. This was his last tweet before things went south.
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. Two girls laid flowers which were promptly removed by police. One man drove past with middle finger up at police. #shanghai
— Edward Lawrence (@EP_Lawrence) November 27, 2022
Now we have more information about that journalist, BBC senior journalist and camera operator Ed Lawrence. As you can see from this video, Lawrence was roughed up and manhandled by the police, as protesters demanded the police release him. Lawrence was then dragged off as he called out to a friend to “Call the consulate now.”
— The Great Translation Movement 大翻译运动官方推号 (@TGTM_Official) November 27, 2022
The BBC put out a statement, calling out the government’s explanation for what occurred as “not credible.” Unbelievably, the Chinese claimed that they arrested him for “his own good.”
BBC Statement on Ed Lawrence pic.twitter.com/wedDetCtpF
— BBC News Press Team (@BBCNewsPR) November 27, 2022
A spokesperson for the BBC 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.
‘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.’
Somehow I don’t think beating and kicking someone is likely to help protect them against COVID — just more justification for the draconian tactics by the Chinese, even against Western journalists. That’s how over the edge they have gotten at this point. And it’s all on video, so the Chinese can’t exactly get away with denying that it occurred. So their response is just ludicrous. I hope that the British don’t just let it go — it sounds like the BBC is taking the right tack by not accepting that farcical explanation.