UK summons Chinese diplomat over assault on protester on China consulate grounds

On Monday, a Hong Kong pro-democracy protester was beaten after being dragged inside the grounds of the Chinese consulate in Manchester. The incident occurred during a demonstration against Xi Jinping.


UK summons Chinese diplomat over assault on protester on China consulate grounds A man is pulled at the gate of the Chinese consulate after a demonstration against China's President Xi Jinping, in Manchester (Photo: REUTERS)

New Delhi: Britain on Tuesday (October 18, 2022) summoned China's Charge d'Affaires over an assault on a protester who was beaten after being dragged inside the grounds of the Chinese consulate in Manchester. 

"The foreign secretary has issued a summons to the Chinese Charge d'Affaires at the Chinese Embassy in London to express His Majesty's government's deep concern at the incident and to demand an explanation for the actions of the consulate staff," British foreign office minister Jesse Norman said. 

Visuals on social media showed a man in a black cap and ponytail being hauled through a gate into the consular grounds, where he was kicked and punched by five men as he lay on the ground. Officers had to enter the consulate grounds to rescue the man who they said "was dragged" inside and assaulted by several men. 

The incident occurred during a demonstration against Chinese President Xi Jinping and was triggered when several men came out of the consulate to take down several protest banners, including one with the slogan: "Heaven will destroy the Chinese Communist Party", and a caricature of Xi wearing a crown.

Police in Manchester said "due to our fears for the safety of the man, officers intervened and removed the victim from the consulate grounds."

The victim spent the night in hospital for treatment and an investigation is ongoing, police said in a statement.

The man, whose first name is Bob, is in his 30s and reportedly emigrated to the UK from Hong Kong recently.

The protest, involving 30-40 people including Hongkongers now resident in Britain, took place at the start of a twice-a-decade congress of China's ruling Communist Party in Beijing at which Xi Jinping is widely expected to get a third leadership term.

China accuses 'disturbing elements' of 'illegally' entering its consulate in Manchester

Meanwhile, China on Tuesday accused "disturbing elements" of illegally entering its consulate in Manchester.

"Disturbing elements illegally entered the Chinese Consulate General in Manchester and endangered the security of Chinese diplomatic premises," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin commented said during a regular news conference in Beijing.

"Diplomatic institutions of any country have the right to take the necessary measures to safeguard the peace and dignity of their premises," he added.

Alicia Kearns, a lawmaker in Britain's ruling Conservative Party and the new head of parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, said that China's Manchester consul general, Zheng Xiyuan, "had full sight, and was quite possibly involved, in the assaults."

Wang, however, declined to confirm or deny whether China's consul general in Manchester was involved in the incident.

Reports of protester beating at China consulate 'concerning': UK PM Liz Truss' spokesperson

A spokesperson for UK Prime Minister Liz Truss said on Monday that the assault of a protester inside the grounds of the Chinese consulate in Manchester was "concerning". 

"These reports are obviously deeply concerning," the spokesperson told reporters. 

"I understand Greater Manchester Police responded immediately to the incident. I am conscious that their enquiries are ongoing so it would be inappropriate for me to comment beyond that," he added.

(With agency inputs)

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