Zhao Lijian

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian
China decries the BBC for issuing a distorted report on the Chinese police's recent treatment of one of the British Broadcasting Corporation's journalists.

The Chinese foreign ministry's spokesman Zhao Lijian made the remarks to AFP on Tuesday when asked to verify the BBC's allegations that the law enforcement had earlier "arrested and beaten" the corporation's resident journalist, who had attended a protest in Shanghai.

"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," Zhao noted.

The official went on to offer the verified account of what had happened during the rally.

He said the Chinese security forces had asked the demonstrators, including the British correspondent, to leave the site of the protest.

The journalist had, however, both failed to heed the police's call, and also withheld his identity as a journalist during "the entire time," noted Zhao.

Nevertheless, the law enforcement refrained from strong-arming the reporter, and set him free after establishing his identity, he added.

"Everything was conducted within legal procedures," said the official.

"The BBC [however] immediately twisted the story and massively propagated the narrative that its journalist had been 'arrested' and 'beaten' by the police while he was working, simply to try to paint China as the guilty party," Zhao stated.

"This deliberate distortion of truth is all too familiar as part of the BBC's distasteful playbook," he said.

The spokesman, meanwhile, urged Britain's ruling establishment to "respect facts, act prudently, and end its hypocritical practice of double standards," citing several cases of the British security forces' mistreatment of unarmed protesters.