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BBC's distortion of facts, hyping of narrative rebuked by Foreign Ministry
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BBC's distortion of facts, hyping of narrative rebuked by Foreign Ministry

The United Kingdom should respect facts and act prudently, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said on Tuesday.

Zhao made the remark after UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak accused China on Monday of "assaulting" a BBC journalist.

The comments from the UK side are a distortion of facts and constitute serious interference in China's internal affairs, which China firmly objects to, Zhao said.

On Sunday night, police in Shanghai asked people who were gathering at a crossroads, including the BBC journalist, to leave in an effort to maintain public order, Zhao said at a news conference.

Despite being informed clearly by police, the BBC journalist refused to leave. He didn't identify himself as a journalist before police took him away, Zhao said, adding that the police let him leave after verifying his identity and informing him of relevant laws and regulations.

"Everything was conducted within legal procedures," Zhao said, adding that the journalist refused to cooperate with the police, and then played the victim.

The BBC soon shifted blame to China by twisting the story and hyping a narrative that the journalist was "arrested" and "beaten" by police while he was working, the spokesman added.

Foreign journalists have the right to cover news according to laws in China, but at the same time they must follow China's laws and regulations, Zhao emphasized.

They should present their press credentials first when conducting reporting and interviews, and should not engage in activities incompatible with their capacity as journalists, Zhao said. "This applies to all media organizations, and is not about freedom of the press," he said.

The spokesman raised questions about the way the UK government treats protesters and journalists, recalling that the UK police arrested more than 150 people during protests in London in 2020 against COVID-19 lockdowns as well as more than 200 people during demonstrations triggered by the government's public spending cuts in 2021.

"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," he said.

The spokesman recalled that a Chinese journalist was hampered and assaulted before being convicted by a British court, after she raised a question to express her opinions at a fringe event at the Conservative Party conference.

Also, "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," Zhao added.

The BBC, for its part, has left a deep impression on many people's minds for smearing and attacking China, from the "gloomy filter" it applied to depict China in a negative light to its distorted reports on Xinjiang and Hong Kong, Zhao said.

The BBC also used a counter-terrorist drill video as "proof" of China's "violence" in COVID prevention work, he added. Yetao

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