UK summons Chinese ambassador after arrest of BBC journalist

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The British international workplace rebukes Zheng Zeguang after Ed Lawrence’s arrest and alleged assault in Shanghai.

The United Kingdom has summoned the Chinese ambassador in London for a rebuke after the arrest and alleged assault of a BBC journalist overlaying protests in opposition to Beijing’s zero-COVID-19 coverage.

Zheng Zeguang was known as in to the international workplace on Tuesday after the incident involving Ed Lawrence in Shanghai, which Foreign Secretary James Cleverly known as “deeply disturbing”.

“It is incredibly important that we protect media freedom,” Cleverly informed reporters at a NATO assembly in Romania, confirming Zheng had been summoned.

“It’s incredibly important that journalists are able to go about their business unmolested and without fear of attack,” the international minister stated.

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Lawrence was hauled away by police on Sunday night whereas filming a protest in opposition to COVID restrictions, one in all many who have rocked China in latest days.

The BBC stated he was assaulted by police earlier than being launched a number of hours later.

China hit again in opposition to British criticism of the journalist’s remedy and Downing Street’s urging that police present respect in direction of the COVID protesters.

“The UK side is in no position to pass judgement on China’s COVID policy or other internal affairs,” an embassy spokesperson stated earlier than Zheng was summoned, noting Britain’s excessive pandemic dying price.

The authorities in London this month additionally expressed concern over stories that Beijing has been working undeclared police outposts in international international locations, together with Britain.

A senior Chinese diplomat was summoned to the international workplace final month after his consulate colleagues in Manchester in northwest England have been accused of beating up a Hong Kong pro-democracy protester.

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The incidents have fuelled political strain on the brand new authorities of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to get powerful with China.

But Sunak is treading a wonderful line between defending freedoms and antagonising the world’s second-biggest financial system.

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

But Sunak additionally known as for “robust pragmatism” in coping with Britain’s opponents, disappointing critics who need him to go additional in confronting Beijing.

Changes on the enterprise entrance

Separately on Tuesday, the UK eliminated the Chinese nuclear agency CGN from development of its new Sizewell C nuclear energy station, which is able to now be constructed solely with French industrial associate EDF.

That choice was taken after UK authorities departments have been ordered final week to cease putting in Chinese-made surveillance cameras at “sensitive sites”.

The week earlier than, a Chinese firm was ordered to promote most of its majority stake in Britain’s greatest semiconductor maker, Newport Wafer Fab.

A spokesman for Sunak declined to say if nationwide safety elements drove the choice on CGN.

But he informed reporters: “Certainly we think it’s right that the UK has more energy security, energy independence.”

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