Business & Economy

China’s ambassador summoned by UK gov’t over BBC journalist arrest

London, Nov 29 (EFE).- China’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, Zheng Zeguang, has been summoned by the UK Foreign Office to discuss the arrest and alleged aggressions against a BBC journalist while he covered a protest in Shanghai.

According to the news outlet, cameraman Edward Lawrence was allegedly arrested, handcuffed, beaten, and kicked by Shanghai security forces during a protest over the Chinese government’s “zero covid-19” strategy.

The summoning of the ambassador comes a day after British prime minister Rishi Sunak declared the end of the “golden-age” relations between China and the UK.

In his first speech at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet in London, Sunak said that the UK had been “naive” for believing that trade with the Asian country in the last decade “would automatically lead to social and political reform.”

He also warned against relying “on simplistic Cold War rhetoric,” underlining that “China poses a systemic challenge to our values and interests.”

The “golden age” Sunak mentioned refers to the economic ties with China that marked the Conservative David Cameron government (2010-2016), which have deteriorated in recent years.

Sunak recognized that the UK is aware of China’s importance to global economic stability and climate emergency issues but he expressed concern as “it moves towards even greater authoritarianism.”

Adding that: “Instead of listening to their people’s protests, the Chinese government has chosen to crack down further. Including by assaulting a BBC journalist.”

In a public statement, the BBC said is “extremely concerned about the treatment of our journalist Ed Lawrence” and added that they have not had an “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.” EFE


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