On BBC's reporter 'detained, assaulted' claim, China says, 'He didn't identify himself as a journalist'
The BBC on Sunday claimed that their journalist was assaulted and detained while covering a protest in China's Shanghai. As per the report, cameraman Edward Lawrence was handcuffed and held for several hours before being released; the Chinese police also beat him during his detention.
The Chinese foreign ministry on Monday said that a British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reporter arrested at a protest in Shanghai over the weekend had not identified himself as a journalist, following the British broadcaster's claim that one of their employees had been arrested and beaten by police.
"According to what we learned from relevant Shanghai authorities, he did not identify himself as a journalist and did not voluntarily present his press credentials," said Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for the foreign ministry. The overseas media should also "respect Chinese laws and regulations while in China," he adds.
The statement came after the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), a news network, on Sunday claimed that their journalist was assaulted and detained while covering a protest in China's Shanghai. As per the report, cameraman Edward Lawrence was handcuffed and held for several hours before being released; the Chinese police also beat him during his detention. "The BBC is deeply concerned about the treatment of its journalist ED Lawrence, who was arrested and handcuffed while covering the protests in Shanghai," a BBC representative said in a statement to Reuters.
Furthermore, the spokesperson said, "Before being released, he was held for several hours. During his arrest, the police kicked and beat him. While he was working as a journalist."
Presently, protests over strict Covid-19 restrictions can be found in many Chinese cities, including Shanghai. Protests erupted over the weekend in response to a deadly fire in Xinjiang, where virus controls were blamed for hampering rescue efforts.
The BBC claims they were not given a believable justification for Lawrence's imprisonment or an apology. Other than the assertion made by the officials who later freed him that they arrested him for his safety in case he contracted COVID from the crowd, the Chinese authorities have not officially provided an explanation or an apology, according to the BBC.