In this image from video obtained by The Associated Press, police, foreground, watch protesters in Shanghai on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo)
Downing Street has said the arrest of a BBC journalist in China is “shocking and unacceptable”.
Edward Lawrence was “beaten and kicked” after being handcuffed by police while covering demonstrations Covid restrictions in Shanghai.
According to the broadcaster he was held for several hours before being freed.
Footage on social media on Sunday showed Lawrence being dragged to the ground in handcuffs.
In another video — as he was being taken away — Lawrence was seen shouting: “Call the consulate now.”
Asked about the incident on Monday, Rishi Sunak’s spokesperson said: “The arrest of this journalist who was simply going about their work is shocking and unacceptable.
“Journalists must be able to do their jobs without fear of intimidation.”
This one shows that the journalist being arrested by the Shanghai police while telling his friend to “ Call the consulate now” pic.twitter.com/1PAeOFNTyx
— Shanghaishanghai (@Shanghaishang10) November 27, 2022
No.10 said the Foreign Office had been in contact with Lawrence since his arrest.
The BBC said: “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 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 whist carrying out his duties.”
Earlier, security minister Tom Tugendhat warned the arrest was “an echo of the repression the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] is attempting elsewhere”.
“China’s attempts at state repression here in the UK remind us of the urgent need to defend our own freedoms,” he said on Twitter.
China’s foreign ministry contested the BBC statement, claiming Lawrence did not identify himself as a journalist.