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BBC journalist covering Chinese protests arrested and handcuffed

The Chinese authorities have arrested a BBC journalist reporting on the mass anti-Covid restrictions protests sweeping across the country in order to prevent any more information on the crackdown getting out (Pic. Courtesy ANI)

The Chinese authorities have arrested a BBC journalist reporting on the mass anti-Covid restrictions protests sweeping across the country in order to prevent any more information on the crackdown against people from getting out.

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has expressed concern over the brutal treatment meted out to the journalist by Chinese authorities.

“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 in a statement.

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.

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.

Angry citizens took to the streets in several cities in China including Shanghai to protest against COVID-19 restrictions that have brought life to a standstill

According to a Reuters report from Shanghai, there is widespread public anger after 10 people were killed on Thursday in a deadly fire at a high-rise building in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang region, and many internet users said that residents could not escape in time because the building was under a Covid-19 lockdown.

In Shanghai, China’s biggest city, residents gathered on Saturday night at the city’s Wulumuqi Road for a vigil that turned into a protest in the early hours of Sunday, the Reuters report said.

“Lift lockdown for Urumqi, lift lockdown for Xinjiang, lift lockdown for all of China!” the crowds in Shanghai shouted, according to a video circulated on social media.

A large group began shouting, “Down with the Chinese Communist Party, down with Xi Jinping, free Urumqi!”, according to witnesses and videos, in a rare public protest against the Chinese leadership, the Reuters report states.

A large group of police looked on and sometimes tried to break up the crowd.

China is battling a surge in infections that has prompted lockdowns and other restrictions in cities across the country as Beijing adheres to a zero-COVID policy even as much of the world tries to coexist with the coronavirus.

China defends President Xi Jinping’s zero-COVID policy as essential to save lives. and prevent collapse of the healthcare system. The authorities have refused to relent on the draconian measures that have been put in place despite the growing public anger over the curbs which has hit livelihoods.

Meanwhile, Covid infections in China have hit a record high with nearly 40,000 new infections reported by health authorities on Sunday for the previous day.