scorecardBBC journalist was 'beaten and kicked by police' in Shanghai while covering zero-COVID protests
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BBC journalist was 'beaten and kicked by police' in Shanghai while covering zero-COVID protests

Katherine Tangalakis-Lippert   

BBC journalist was 'beaten and kicked by police' in Shanghai while covering zero-COVID protests
PoliticsPolitics2 min read
  • Edward Lawrence, a BBC journalist, was arrested while covering zero-COVID policies in Shanghai.
  • A BBC spokesperson said he was "beaten and kicked by police" during the arrest.

Edward Lawrence, a BBC journalist, was "beaten and kicked by police" as he was arrested in China while covering zero-COVID policy protests.

Prior to his arrest, Lawrence was posting on social media about ongoing protests in Shanghai, where citizens have gathered to object to stringent zero-COVID policies. The protests follow the death of 10 people in an apartment fire in Urumqi. Though officials deny lockdown policies contributed to the tragedy, locals say the fire couldn't be extinguished as a result of virus control barriers.

"The crowd has grown from maybe a few dozen to several hundred," Lawrence posted shortly before his arrest. "I've seen the police arrest three people — two of whom then fought with police. There's a silent tension until one person shouts, and then the crowd chants and claps in support."

Video of Lawrence's arrest quickly circulated on social media, where you can hear the journalist urging someone standing near him to "call the consulate now" before being knocked down and repeatedly punched and kicked by the arresting officers.

"The BBC is extremely concerned about the treatment of our journalist Ed Lawrence, who was arrested and handcuffed while covering the protests in Shanghai," The Guardian reported a spokesperson for the British public service broadcaster said. "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."

Despite the relative rarity of social unrest in China, large protests have erupted throughout 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 lockdowns, though the region has had just three COVID-related deaths in the last month, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The BBC did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.




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