Recently, large-scale protests have broken out in many places across China to oppose the “zero-COVID” policy, calling on the Chinese Communist Party and Xi Jinping to step down, receiving widespread support from the international mainstream media. Journalist Edward Lawrence, a BBC News reporter, was arrested and beaten by Chinese police while reporting in Shanghai on November 27. British officials condemned the CCP’s violation of press freedom on November 28, but were criticized by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian.
The “White Paper Revolution” protest has now attracted the attention of many world-renowned media outlets such as The New York Times, The Guardian, the Financial Times and the BBC, all of which have reported on the news.
On November 28, the headline on the Chinese-language website of The New York Times was “Massive protests sweeping China – Calls for an End to lockdowns, rare Political Demands”; the title on the Guardian’s website is “Chinese police out in force in attempt to deter Covid lockdown protests“; The headline on the BBC’s website is “China Covid: Chinese protesters say police seeking them out.”
It is worth noting that the BBC’s Edward Lawrence was beaten and arrested by Chinese police while covering the protest in Shanghai on November 27.
The BBC issued a statement: “It is very worrying that one of our journalists was attacked in this way whilst carrying out his duties. We have had no 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. We do not consider this a credible explanation.”
UK Business and Energy Secretary Grant Shapps condemned the behavior of the Chinese police as “unacceptable” on November 28. He said that “whatever else happens, freedom of the press should be sacrosanct.”
However, Zhao Lijian, one of the CCP’s “wolf warriors,” replied in a press conference on November 28 that the BBC reporter himself did not present a foreign press card and did not identify himself as a foreign journalist when the incident happened. He said, “International media must comply with China’s laws and regulations in China.” He also criticized “malicious forces” on social media for “deliberately linking the fire to local lockdown measures.”
In response to the “White Paper Revolution” of the Chinese people, Eva Rammeloo, a reporter for the Dutch newspaper Trouw, posted a series of videos and photos on Twitter. She said that a large number of protesters had taken to the streets to protest the “zero-COVID” policy and confront the police. She said that she had been covering China for a decade, and she had never seen such a spectacle, the number of outraged people was too great to be suppressed.
She also tweeted a picture of people holding white sheets of paper that read: “Someone said: We don’t need to write anything on it. This is a symbol of the people’s revolution.”
VOA reported that the CCP has imposed a strict reporting ban on the protests taking place. The official CCP-controlled media did not report it, and reports and videos of the protests posted by Chinese netizens were quickly deleted.
The report also mentioned that the CCP has cracked down on and monitored dissenting speech and actions, making it more difficult and risky to organize and carry out protests.