- Edward Lawrence, a BBC journalist, was arrested while covering zero COVID policies in Shanghai.
- A BBC spokesman said he was “beaten and kicked by police” during the arrest.
- Protests are underway in Shanghai, Beijing and Nanjing over the strict lockdowns.
Edward Lawrence, a BBC journalist, was “beaten and kicked by police” while arrested in China while covering zero-COVID political protests.
Prior to his arrest, Lawrence was posting on social media about ongoing protests in Shanghai, where citizens have gathered to oppose strict zero COVID policies. The protests follow the deaths of 10 people in an apartment fire in Urumqi. Although officials deny that lockdown policies contributed to the tragedy, residents say the blaze could not be extinguished due to virus barriers.
“The crowd went from maybe a few dozen to several hundred,” Lawrence said. job shortly before his arrest. “I saw the police arrest three people – two of whom then fought with the police. There is quiet tension until one person shouts and then the crowd chants and applauds in support.”
—Edward Lawrence (@EP_Lawrence) November 27, 2022
Video of Lawrence’s arrest quickly distributed on social media, where you can hear the reporter urging someone standing near him to “call the consulate now” before being knocked down and repeatedly punched and kicked by the officers who have stopped.
“The BBC is extremely concerned about the treatment of our journalist Ed Lawrence, who was arrested and handcuffed while covering protests in Shanghai,” reported The Guardian, a spokesperson for the British public broadcaster. “He was detained 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.”
—Gurbaksh Singh Chahal (@gchahal) November 27, 2022
Despite the relative scarcity of social unrest in China, large protests have erupted across the country in recent days – including in the cities of Urumqi, Beijing and Nanjing – following the implementation of COVID lockdown policies.
The Xinjiang region, where Urumqi is located, is in its third month of COVID lockdown, although the region has recorded only three COVID-related deaths in the past month, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. .
The BBC did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.