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BBC Journalist Beaten, Kicked By Police As Anti-Lockdown Protests Spread Across China

  November 28, 2022 | EASTERN PILOT Edward Lawrence, a journalist at the BBC, was reportedly arrested by police in Shanghai at the histor...


November 28, 2022 | EASTERN PILOT

Edward Lawrence, a journalist at the BBC, was reportedly arrested by police in Shanghai at the historic protests against President Xi Jinping on Sunday night.

The incident was said to have been captured on what appears to be mobile phone footage of the arrest.

While he has since been released, a BBC spokesperson has expressed extreme concern about his treatment, saying he was "beaten and kicked by the police."

Chinese officials were later said to have been making the bizarre claim that he was only detained for his 'own good' in case he caught Covid from the crowd.

Shocking video from the anti-government protests in Shanghai shows Edward Lawrence, a camera operator for the BBC's China Bureau, being dragged away by Xi's officers as he desperately screams 'Call the consulate now' to a friend.

Mr. Lawrence was beaten and kicked by the police officers and held in custody for 'several hours' before being released, as Chinese officials sought to crack down on the media and protesters in the city.

The British journalist said today that at least one local was arrested after they tried to stop the police from beating him during his arrest.

Protests have erupted across China in a rare show of dissent against the ruling Communist Party, sparked by anger over the country's increasingly costly zero-Covid policy.

China is facing its largest anti-government demonstrations since the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, with protests erupting in at least seven cities over the country's strict Covid rules.

The catalyst for the protests was an apartment fire last week in the western city of Urumqi that killed 10 people. Many speculated that Covid curbs in the city, parts of which had been under lockdown for 100 days, had hindered rescue and escape, which city officials denied.

Similarly, Chinese football fans have been streamed a censored feed of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar as politicians desperately try to stop images of large, unmasked crowds reaching the local population as protests rage against harsh Covid measures, according to Daily Mail.

China's state broadcaster is cutting close-up shots of maskless fans at the Qatar World Cup, after early coverage sparked anger at home where street protests have erupted over harsh Covid-19 restrictions.

China is the last major economy still attempting to stamp out the domestic spread of Covid-19 with snap lockdowns, lengthy quarantines and mass testing campaigns.

During a live broadcast of Sunday's group game between Japan and Costa Rica, state broadcaster CCTV Sports replaced close-up shots of maskless fans waving flags with images of players, officials or the football stadium, AFP observed.

CCTV Sports showed distant shots of the crowd where it was difficult to make out individual faces, and fewer crowd shots compared to the live telecast of the same game on online platforms including Douyin — China's version of TikTok.

Tens of millions of people in major cities including Beijing, Guangzhou and Chongqing were under some form of lockdown as of Sunday — a contrast with the raucous World Cup crowds that have infuriated many Chinese social media users.


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