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BBC journalist 'beaten' by police in 'concerning' Chinese protest moment

An "extremely concerned" BBC has rejected China's explanation after one of its journalists was "beaten and kicked" by police while covering anti-lockdown protests.

Thousands gathered in Shanghai and other cities over the weekend as public anger over China's Covid-zero strategy reached boiling point.

Journalist Ed Lawrence, who was covering the protests for the British public broadcaster, was detained by several officers and his arrest was captured on camera. At least five officers can be seen pinning him to the ground and putting handcuffs on him.

Ed Lawrence, wearing a red shirt, is arrested on a Shanghai street by several police officers.
Ed Lawrence's arrest is "extremely concerning", his employer says. Source: Twitter

As he is being rushed away by two officers, he shouts to someone he passes: "Call the consulate now!"

BBC condemns arrest of journalist

"It is very worrying that one of our journalists was attacked in this way whilst carrying out his duties," the BBC said in a statement.

The BBC alleges he was "beaten and kicked by the police" while working as an accredited journalist.

"We have had no offical explanation or apology from 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."

Lawrence was later released and has since thanked people for their messages of concern.

"I understand at least one local national was arrested trying to stop the police from beating me," he said.

Colleague John Sudworth, who left China last year over concerns for his safety, described the incident as "very concerning".

"No journalist should be treated like this for doing their job... at a time when they've never been more vital," he said.

Chinese residents call for President Xi to resign

In remarkable scenes rarely witnessed in China, furious residents in Shanghai called for the resignation of President Xi Jinping in what has been described as a "brazenly open expression of rage" against the government.

The rare scenes of social unrest come after Covid restrictions are believed to have contributed to the deaths of residents in Xinjiang capital Urumqi after a fire broke out in their building. Protests have since broken out in other major cities across the country.

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