BBC journalist Edward Lawrence covering historic protests against President Xi Jinping in China was arrested and beaten by police officers.
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Chinese officials later making the bizarre claim that he was only detained for his 'own good' in case he caught Covid from the crowd.
Shocking video from the anti-government protests in Shanghai shows Edward Lawrence, a camera operator for the BBC's China Bureau, being dragged away by Xi's officers as he desperately screams 'Call the consulate now' to a friend.
Lawrence was beaten and kicked by the police officers and held in custody for 'several hours' before being released, as Chinese officials sought to crack down on the media and protesters in the city.
The British journalist said that at least one local was arrested after they tried to stop the police from beating him during his arrest.
The Shanghai police officers tried to dismiss the arrest as being for Mr Lawrence's 'own good', claiming that he was arrested 'in case he caught Covid from the crowd'. The BBC dismissed the farfetched explanation as implausible.
China is facing its largest anti-government demonstrations since the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, with protests erupting in at least seven cities over the country's strict Covid rules - which many believe contributed to the deaths of ten people who died after a fire broke out in the city of Urumqi, capital of the western Xinjiang region.
The largest of the demonstrations has taken place in Shanghai - home to 26 million residents - with many also boldly demanding that President Xi resign.
Lawrence shared a statement by the BBC about his arrest, adding that he understands at least one local national was arrested 'after trying to stop the police for beating me'. He continued: 'Thanks very much for the kind words and messages of concern.' ■
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