BBC Journalist Allegedly Handcuffed, Held by Cops in China

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Guwahati: A British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) journalist was allegedly apprehended and physically beaten by Chinese officials while reporting on the continuing demonstration in Shanghai.

The BBC has expressed concern over the treatment given by Chinese authorities to one of its journalists who was arrested and handcuffed while covering a related ongoing protest in Shanghai during the widespread anti-Covid restrictions protests that are still occurring across China.

BBC expressed concern regarding the claims that its journalist in China, Ed Lawrence had been kicked and beaten by the police as he was being taken into custody.

“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,” BBC said.

The BBC said it is very worrying that during the duty hours one of their accredited journalists was brutally attacked.

“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,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, huge protests continue across many cities in China. In an unprecedented show of defiance against the zero-Covid policy, protestors are even heard chanting “Step down, Xi Jinping! Step down, Communist Party,” according to a CNN report.

At least 10 people were murdered in an apartment building fire on Thursday in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang province which is thought to have served as the fuel for the massive demonstration.

Media reports claim that a large portion of the protest began as soon as recordings appeared that looked to indicate lockdown procedures prevented firefighters from reaching the victims.

People reportedly came to hold rallies against zero-Covid rules and to mourn the victims of the Xinjiang fire from the nation’s capital Beijing to the financial centre of Shanghai.

By Sunday night, protest signs or demonstrations had taken place on dozens of college campuses. Residents in Chengdu, Guangzhou and Wuhan also joined in the demonstrations demanding more than just the lifting of Covid restrictions.

Students gathered on a square at Tsinghua University in Beijing’s capital city to protest zero-Covid.

Students are seen holding up white sheets of paper and yelling in videos and photos shared on social media: “Rule of law and democracy! Freedom of speech!”

Following large-scale anti-lockdown demonstrations in Urumqi on Friday, inhabitants of neighbourhoods that had been closed down reportedly tore down barriers and took to the streets.

Such pervasive displays of rage and disobedience are uncommon in China, where the Communist Party in power represses all criticism. The country’s long-resented COVID restrictions have increased, though and this has brought the situation to a climax.

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