ChinaThe UK ambassador was summoned to the Foreign Office after the arrest and beating of a BBC journalist.
Fury was sparked in Britain after Edward Lawrence, cameraman for the BBC’s China bureau, was punched and kicked by officers in Shanghai.
Disturbing footage shows him shouting at his colleagues to alert the British consulate in the city as he is dragged off.
He was covering a protest by citizens taking to the streets to oppose the country’s draconian zero-Covid policy.
China’s Foreign Ministry disputed the BBC’s claims, saying Mr Lawrence had not identified himself as a journalist.
But Zheng Zeguang has now been called by Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, who called the incident “deeply disturbing”.
A source from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said today: ‘The Chinese Ambassador has been called to the FCDO.
“The BBC has made it clear that one of its journalists was arrested and beaten by police while covering these protests.
“We have made it clear that this behavior by the Chinese authorities is completely unacceptable.”
The BBC said bosses were “extremely concerned about the treatment of our journalist Ed Lawrence”.
“Upon his arrest he was beaten and kicked by the police,” a statement read. “It happened while he was working as an accredited journalist.”
Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said: “According to our understanding, the BBC statement is not true.”
“According to the Shanghai authorities, the journalist in question did not reveal his identity as a journalist at the time, he did not openly show his foreign press card.
“When the incident happened, law enforcement asked people to leave, and when some people didn’t cooperate, they were taken off the scene.”
Rallies against China’s tough anti-coronavirus measures spread to a number of cities over the weekend in the biggest demonstration of opposition to the ruling Communist Party in decades.
Authorities relaxed some rules, but that was not enough for citizens who have faced on and off restrictions since 2020.
Protests appeared to have died down today, with Shanghai, Nanjing and other cities remaining calm following online calls to gather.
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