China hits back at claims of BBC reporter's arrest in Shanghai

Zhang Long
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian says that reports of a BBC scribe being arrested and beaten up by Shanghai police at the site of a gathering were untrue and fabricated.
Zhang Long

Reacting to reports that a British Broadcasting Corp reporter was beaten up and arrested at a gathering in Shanghai on Sunday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Tuesday that the British side has disregarded and distorted facts, and wantonly interfered with China's domestic affairs.

China firmly opposes such acts, he added.

On Sunday night, Shanghai police tried to maintain order and asked people to leave the gathering, which included a BBC reporter stationed in Shanghai. The reporter didn't identify himself and refused to leave the gathering. The police then took the man away from the scene and checked his identity, informed him about his legal rights, and asked him to leave.

All the procedures were carried out in accordance with the law, Zhao observed.

However, the BBC reporter didn't comply with the police and acted as a victim. BBC spread misinformation and distorted facts, claiming its reporter was arrested and beaten up by the police. BBC yet again slandered and deliberately provoked China, the spokesperson insisted.

Noting that foreign reporters have the right to report news stories in China, Zhao said that they also have to comply with Chinese laws and regulations. Such as identifying themselves before reporting and they should not be involved in activities that are beyond the job description of reporters. It has nothing to do with freedom of the press, the spokesperson added.

It is also worth pondering as to why BBC reporters are always at the scene, despite there being many foreign journalists in China.

Zhao also pointed at Britain's bad record in this regard, such as the more than 150 protesters arrested during the London anti-lockdown protest in 2020; and the 200-plus protesters arrested by police during a protest against public spending cuts.

The British side should honor facts, choose its words with caution, and stop with the double standards, Zhao said.

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