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UK summons Chinese ambassador after arrest of BBC journalist | Protests News


The British Foreign Office reprimanded Zheng Zeguang after the arrest of Ed Lawrence and alleged assault in Shanghai.

The UK summoned the Chinese ambassador in London to rebuke after the arrest and Alleged assault of a BBC journalist coverage of protests against Beijing’s COVID-19-free policy.

Zheng Zeguang was called to the foreign affairs office on Tuesday following the incident involving Ed Lawrence in Shanghai, which Secretary of State James Cleverly called “deeply disturbing”.

“It is extremely important for us to protect the freedom of the media,” Cleverly told reporters at a NATO meeting in Romania, confirming that Zheng had been summoned.

“It is extremely important that journalists are able to conduct their business unhindered and without fear of attack,” the secretary of state said.

Lawrence was dragged away by police on Sunday night while filming a protest against COVID restrictionsone of many that has rocked China in recent days.

The BBC said he was assaulted by police before being released hours later.

China responds to British criticism of its treatment of journalists and Downing Street urges police to show respect to COVID protesters.

“The UK side has no standing to rule on China’s COVID policy or other internal matters,” an embassy spokesman said before Zheng was summoned, noting to the UK’s high pandemic mortality rate.

The government in London this month also expressed concern over reports that Beijing was running undeclared police outposts abroad, including in Britain.

A senior Chinese diplomat was summoned to the diplomatic office last month after his colleagues at the consulate in Manchester, northwest England, allegedly beat a pro-protester. democracy in Hong Kong.

The incidents prompted political pressure on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s new government to get tough on China.

But Sunak is walking a thin line between defending freedoms and fighting the world’s second-largest economy.

In a speech on Monday, he described the “golden era” of UK-China relations that former Prime Minister David Cameron declared was “gone”.

But Sunak also called “strong pragmatism” in dealing with British rivals, disappointing critics who want Britain to go further in its confrontation with Beijing.

Business change

Separately on Tuesday, the UK excluded Chinese nuclear company CGN from building the new Sizewell C nuclear power plant, which will now be built only with French trading partner EDF.

That decision comes after UK government agencies were ordered last week to stop installing Chinese-made surveillance cameras in “sensitive locations”.

Last week, a Chinese company was ordered to sell its majority stake in Britain’s largest semiconductor maker, Newport Wafer Fab.

A Sunak spokesperson declined to say whether national security factors led to the decision on CGN.

But he told reporters: “We certainly think that the UK has more energy security, energy independence is right.”

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