A BBC journalist covering anti-lockdown protests in Shanghai was assaulted by Chinese police and detained for several hours, the network announced Sunday.
In a statement detailing the incident, the British-based broadcaster said journalist Ed Lawrence, a camera operator for BBC's China Bureau, was "beaten and kicked by police" during a Shanghai protest that erupted into violent clashes between police and protesters.
"The BBC is extremely concerned about the treatment of our journalist Ed Lawrence, who was arrested and handcuffed while covering the protests in Shanghai," a BBC spokesperson said in a statement.
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A man is arrested while people gathering on a street in Shanghai on November 27, 2022, where protests against China's zero-Covid policy took place the night before following a deadly fire in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region. (Hector RETAMAL / AFP) (Photo by HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)
"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," the spokesperson added.
In videos circulating on social media, a man reportedly identified as Lawrence is seen being dragged away by Chinese officers while screaming for a friend to "call the consulate now."
The BBC called the incident "worrying," adding that it had not been given a "credible" reason for Lawrence's detention.
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"It is very worrying that one of our journalists was attacked in this way whilst carrying out his 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 BBC said.
Chinese police officers block off access to a site where protesters had gathered in Shanghai on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022. Protests against China's strict "zero-COVID" policies resurfaced in Shanghai and Beijing on Sunday afternoon, continuing a round of demonstrations that have spread across the country since a deadly apartment fire in the northwestern city of Urumqi led to questions over such rigid anti-virus measures. (AP Photo)
Protests have erupted across China in defiance of the country's zero-COVID policy and Draconian lockdown measures as infections are on the rise. Social media footage emerged over the weekend showing police hauling away protesters in cities across the country. Officers reportedly used pepper spray to disperse an initial rally in Shanghai, but soon began making arrests when protesters returned. Authorities filled a bus with those they arrested, according to the Toronto Sun.
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In his last tweet before the reported incident, Lawrence wrote that he was at the scene of the "extraordinary anti-COVID-zero protest" in Shanghai.
"Many people are gathered here quietly watching. Lots of cops. Two girls laid flowers which were promptly removed by police. One man drove past with middle finger up at police. #shanghai'," he wrote. He has not been active on Twitter since.
Fox News' Anders Hagstrom contributed to this report.
Yael Halon is a reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to email@example.com.