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Foreign Ministry spokesperson: The UK must end its hypocritical practice of double standards
2022-11-29 19:00

AFP: The UK’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said yesterday that China poses a systemic Challenge to the  UK values and interests. This was after a BBC journalist was arrested  and beaten while covering protests in Shanghai. What is your response to the Prime Minister’s comment?

Zhao  Lijian: The remarks from the British side are a serious distortion of the facts and constitute grave interference in China’s internal affairs.  We are firmly against this. Here are the facts that we have learned from the authorities in Shanghai.

On the night of November 27, to maintain public order, local police in Shanghai asked people who had gathered at a crossroads to leave. One of  those at the scene is a resident journalist from the BBC. Though the  police made it clear to the journalist and others that they needed to leave, the journalist refused to go and in the entire time did not  identify himself as a journalist. The police then took him away from the scene. After verifying his identity and informing him of pertinent laws  and regulations, the police let him leave. Everything was conducted within legal procedures. This BBC journalist refused to cooperate with  the police’s law enforcement efforts and then acted as if he were a victim. The BBC immediately twisted the story and massively propagated  the narrative that its journalist had been “arrested” and “beaten” by  police while he was working, simply to try to paint China as the guilty party. This deliberate distortion of truth is all too familiar as part  of the BBC’s distasteful playbook.

While having the right to report news in accordance with the law in China, foreign journalists need to consciously follow Chinese laws and regulations. When conducting reporting and interviews, journalists need to present their press credentials first, and not engage in activities incompatible with their capacity as journalists. This applies to all media organizations and is not about freedom of the press. Many foreign media organizations have presence in China. How come the BBC is always  involved in troubles at the scene? This is a question that requires some serious thinking.

I also have some questions for the UK.

First,  how does the British government handle domestic protesters? In 2020,  the UK police arrested more than 150 people when Londoners took to the street to protest against COVID lockdown. In 2021, the UK police arrested more than 200 people in large-scale demonstrations triggered by the government’s public expenditure cuts. Publicly available videos show that UK police officers ruthlessly kicked and beat one unarmed protester and did not stop even when the protester was left exposed in  little clothing and was crying and begging for mercy.

Second, how does the British government treat journalists? You probably recall that a few years ago, a Chinese journalist was repeatedly hampered and even physically assaulted and eventually convicted by a British court, only because she had exercised her legitimate right as a journalist and  raised a question to express her opinions at a fringe event of the Conservative Party’s conference. Graham Phillips, a UK journalist, became the first British citizen placed on the country’s sanctions list,  only because he had created media content not to the liking of the west.

Third, how does the BBC report China? From applying a gloomy filter to painting China in a negative  light to distorted reports on Xinjiang and Hong Kong, many people still  remember well the BBC’s disreputable history of smearing and attacking China. Since 2019, the BBC has been ignoring the Hong Kong rioters’ violent behavior and accusing Hong Kong police of brutality. On  Xinjiang, based only on several non-photorealistic satellite images and reports written by anti-China elements, BBC journalists stationed in Beijing propagated “lies of the century” to slander Xinjiang. On the  COVID pandemic, the BBC even used a counter-terrorism drill video as “proof” of China’s so-called violence in epidemic prevention. Why did  the BBC always show up on those scenes? Is the job of BBC journalists to report news or fabricate news?

The UK must respect facts, act prudently, and end its hypocritical practice of double standards. 

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