A BBC journalist was reportedly assaulted and detained by Chinese police while covering an anti-government lockdown protest in Shanghai on Sunday, November 27.
Ed Lawrence was detained at the main protest in the city and held for several hours before being freed.
BBC said in a statement: “The BBC is extremely concerned about the treatment of our journalist Ed Lawrence, who was arrested and handcuffed while covering the protests in Shanghai,” 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.”
Speaking in Beijing, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, said the BBC’s statement did not reflect what had happened, and that he did not identify himself as a reporter or show his press credentials.
“According to our understanding, the BBC’s statement is not true. According to authorities in Shanghai the journalist in question did not reveal his journalist identity at the time, he did not openly show his foreign press card,” Zhao said.
“When the incident happened, law enforcement personnel asked people to leave, and when certain people did not cooperate they were taken away from the scene.”
Foreign reporters in China are required to carry a government-issued card identifying themselves as accredited journalists when covering news events.
Shanghai is one of a number of Chinese cities that have seen protests over stringent Covid restrictions