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BBC journalist assaulted, detained for covering anti-lockdown protests, authorities say ‘it was for his own good’

On Sunday (November 27), a senior journalist associated with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) was brutally assaulted and detained by cops in Shanghai city of China.

As per reports, the victim was identified as Edward Lawrence. A camera operator for the China Bureau of the BBC, Lawrence was covering the protests over stringent Covid-19 restrictions in the Communist-run country,

In a video that has now surfaced on social media, the journalist was seen being assaulted and detained by Chinese police authorities. He was eventually released after a few hours, as per reports.

In another video, Edward Lawrence was seen being escorted away by the cops. One of the police personnel was also seen confiscating the journalist’s phone, which Lawrence was using to tweet about the mass protests.

“Call the consulate now,” he had demanded but it was in vain.

Prior to his arrest, the BBC journalist had informed about his presence at the protest site in Shanghai. “Lots of cops. Two girls laid flowers which were promptly removed by police. One man drove past with middle finger up at police,” he had tweeted.

Edward Lawrence provided a detailed account of the demonstrations against the zero Covid policy of the Chinese Communist regime.

“Some small crowds are gathered on the sidewalks quietly watching the scene and the police presence. I’ve seen several people with flowers. One girl was holding a blank piece of paper,” he had tweeted.

He further informed, “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.”

Edward Lawrence also wrote, “The crowd has grown from maybe a few dozen to several hundred. I’ve seen the police arrest three people – two of whom then fought with police. There’s a silent tension until one person shouts, and then the crowd chants and claps in support.”

“I’m told by friends that police have blocked the roads around this area and they’re not letting people through,” his last tweet read.

Bizarre justification by Chinese police, BBC rejects claim

In a statement, the UK-based broadcaster stated, “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 further informed.

While expressing concern over the unjustified detention of Edward Lawrence, the BBC said, “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 also rejected the credibility of the explanation provided by the Chinese law enforcement authorities. Following his release, Edward Lawrence informed that a Chinese man was arrested for trying to stop the police from assaulting him.

“I understand at least one local national was arrested after trying to stop the police from beating me. Thanks very much for the kind words and messages of concern,” the BBC journalist said in a tweet.

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