BBC journalist, covering protests in China, beaten and kicked by authorities in custody
This large-scale protest in China against Xi Jinping was apparently sparked by an apartment block fire in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang province.
- Chinese citizens are protesting against anti-Covid restrictions protests
- A BBC journalist was beaten by Chinese authorities
WUHAN: In worrying news around the ongoing mass anti-Covid restrictions protests across China, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has expressed concern over the treatment meted out by Chinese authorities, to its journalist, who was arrested and handcuffed while covering a similar ongoing protest in Shanghai. In a statement, BBC showed concern over the reports that its journalist in China, Ed Lawrence was beaten and kicked by the police while he was being arrested. "The BBC is extremely concerned about the treatment of our journalist Ed Lawrence, who was arrested and handcuffed while covering the protests in Shanghai. 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," BBC said.
'No apology from Chinese authorities'
The BBC said it is very worrying that one of their accredited journalists was attacked in this way whilst carrying out his official duties."We have had no official explanation or apology from the Chinese authorities, beyond a claim by the officials who later released him that they had arrested him for his own good in case he caught Covid from the crowd. We do not consider this a credible explanation," the statement added.
'Step down, Xi Jinping,' chant protestors
Meanwhile, huge protests continue across many cities in China. In an unprecedented show of defiance against the zero-Covid policy, protestors are even heard chanting "Step down, Xi Jinping! Step down, Communist Party," according to a CNN report.
Protests in China are not rare. What *is* rare, are multiple protests over the same issue, at the same time, across the country. The protest below, apparently in central Beijing’s liangmaqiao, is astounding #China #protests pic.twitter.com/UHJCqqF1YG — Tom Mackenzie (@TomMackenzieTV) November 27, 2022
It's going down in China... Massive protests against Covid lockdowns are spreading in major cities across the country pic.twitter.com/1J6DJrDhjA — Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) November 27, 2022
This large-scale protest was apparently sparked by an apartment block fire in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang province, which killed at least 10 people on Thursday and has acted as a catalyst for searing public anger.
According to media reports, much of the demonstration started as videos emerged that seemed to suggest lockdown measures delayed firefighters from reaching the victims. From the capital Beijing to the financial hub of Shanghai, people reportedly gathered to mourn the dead from the Xinjiang fire, while holding protests against zero-Covid policies.
By Sunday evening, on dozens of university campuses, students demonstrated or put up protest posters. Protests also spread to Chengdu, Guangzhou, and Wuhan, where residents called for not only an end to Covid restrictions.
Rare anti-lockdown protests
At Tsinghua University, in the capital city Beijing, students gathered on a square to protest against zero-Covid. Videos and images circulating on social media show students holding up sheets of white paper and shouting: "Democracy and rule of law! Freedom of expression!"According to CNN, residents in locked-down neighborhoods tore down barriers and took to the streets, following mass anti-lockdown protests in Urumqi on Friday.
Such widespread scenes of anger and defiance are rare in China, where the ruling Communist Party clamps down on all forms of dissent. However, the increase in COVID restrictions long detested across the country has brought matters to a head.