BBC Reporter Attacked by Police Officers in China While Covering Protests Over COVID Protocol

“It is very worrying that one of our journalists was attacked in this way whilst carrying out his duties,” the BBC said

Protest in Beijing Against China Covid Measures
A protester shouts slogans against China's strict zero COVID measures (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

BBC reporter Ed Lawrence was attacked and beaten by Chinese police officers while covering anti-government lockdown protests over COVID in Shanghai.

The incident occurred during Sunday’s main protest at Wulumuqi Middle Road in Shanghai, during which Lawrence was filming the crowds, according to the BBC. Lawrence was beaten and kicked by police officers and was pinned to the ground before apparently being taken away in handcuffs, as seen in footage circulated on social media.

The BBC reported that the Chinese government said Lawrence hadn’t presented his press credentials and the publication expressed it was “extremely concerned” about Lawrence’s treatment in a statement released Sunday.

“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 broadcaster said in a statement. “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.”

“It is very worrying that one of our journalists was attacked in this way whilst carrying out his duties,” the statement continued, adding that the publication has received “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 BBC concluded.

Lawrence reposted the statement on his Twitter account Sunday, saying, “Thanks very much for the kind words and messages of concern.”

“I understand at least one local national was arrested after trying to stop the police from beating me,” he added.

According to Lawrence’s Twitter account, the journalist continued his coverage of the protests on Monday following the incident, and remarked at the “kindness” displayed by Chinese citizens during his reporting.

“Pulled up to a junction here in Shanghai,” Lawrence wrote Monday. “A women pulled alongside and looked at me. ‘You were taken last night. I’m so sorry, are you okay?’ she asked me. Always overwhelmed by the kindness of the Chinese people.”