Britain’s government on Monday condemned Chinese police after the BBC said one of its journalists was arrested and beaten while covering Covid protests in Shanghai, the latest incident to test relations between the countries. Ed Lawrence, working in China as an accredited journalist, was detained for several hours, during which he was assaulted and kicked by police, according to the UK broadcaster.
After his release, Lawrence tweeted on Monday to thank his followers, adding he believed “at least one local national was arrested after trying to stop the police from beating me.”
British Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, called the incident “deeply disturbing.”
“Media freedom and freedom to protest must be respected. No country is exempt,” he tweeted.
“Journalists must be able to do their job without intimidation.”
The arrest came as new Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, prepared to deliver his first major speech on foreign policy later on Monday, in which he will argue the need to counter UK competitors “not with grand rhetoric but with robust pragmatism.”