The British network BBC said, on Sunday night (27), that the police in China, the scene of protests at the weekend, attacked and detained one of its journalists who was covering an event in Shanghai, before releasing him after several hours.
“The BBC is extremely concerned about the treatment of our journalist Ed Lawrence,” a spokesman for the British public broadcaster said in a statement shared on social media.
“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 a licensed journalist,” he added.
Shanghai is one of several Chinese cities undergoing protests against the Xi Jinping regime’s Covid-zero policy. The acts have exploded in recent days after a deadly fire in the far west of the country, in Xinjiang province.
Footage on social media showed a person, who other journalists identified as Lawrence, being arrested by men in police uniforms. The BBC stated that it had not received a reasonable explanation for Lawrence’s detention.
“We have received no official explanation or apology from the Chinese authorities, other than an allegation from officials who later released him that they held him for his own good should he catch Covid from the crowd,” the broadcaster said.
THE Sheet asked the Chinese embassy in London for comment.
Violations of press freedom are a sore point in the regime in force in the Asian power. Last year, the number of journalists jailed around the world for reasons related to the activity hit a record, partly driven by what is happening in China.
There were at least 293 press professionals arrested around the world. The increase in the figure, which in 2020 was 280, is related to authoritarian regimes that have gained momentum in recent years. The leader in absolute numbers of journalists behind bars for carrying out their work is the Chinese regime, with 50 professionals arrested.
The survey and analysis were carried out by the Committee to Protect Journalists, a global organization that has been monitoring the issue for more than four decades. The Chinese figure was bolstered in 2021 by eight journalists jailed in Hong Kong, which for the first time figured in CPJ’s annual report, published since the early 1990s.
Also noteworthy is the repression against journalists from the Uighur ethnic group, from the Xinjiang province, historically persecuted by the communist regime in the Asian country. A recent survey by the organization Reporters Without Borders went further and measured that more than 70 Uyghur professionals are detained.
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