China’s ambassador to the UK Zheng Zeguang has been summoned to the Foreign Office after BBC journalist Edward Lawrence was beaten kicked and arrested in Shanghai by Chinese police.
The Foreign Secretary James Cleverly summoned Zeguang following the “unacceptable” arrest and treatment of Lawrence.
A source from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said, “The Chinese ambassador has been called to the FCDO.
“The BBC has been clear one of their journalists was detained and beaten by police when covering these protests.
“We have made it clear this behaviour by the Chinese authorities is completely unacceptable.”
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On Monday the British Foreign Secretary described the incident as “deeply disturbing” and N0 10 Downing Street said it was “shocking and unacceptable,” and that journalists “must be able to do their jobs without fear of intimidation.”
The BBC said Lawrence was “arrested and handcuffed” whilst legally covering the protests in Shanghai.
The BBC said, “During his arrest he was beaten and kicked by police.
“This happened while he was working as an accredited journalist.”
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Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian hit out at the BBC claiming that Lawrence failed to identify himself as a journalist and he “didn’t voluntarily present” his press credentials.
Zhao said, “Foreign journalists need to consciously follow Chinese laws and regulations.”
The Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan said on Tuesday that Beijing’s account as “highly sceptical.”
She told LBC radio, “I’ve seen the footage and it’s absolutely shocking.
“We believe in press freedom and the ability for the media to be able to report all over the globe and communicate what is actually happening on the ground and that, I believe, is what this individual was trying to do. They were just trying to do their job.
“It’s quite shocking that they were treated in such an appalling fashion.
“I await the full details of that from the Chinese government.
“I know that they have given a version of the truth which I’m sure we would all agree is very highly sceptical.”