Britain’s chief China diplomat in Manchester implicated in assault on Hong Kong protester at consulate

The head of Chinese diplomacy to the UK in Manchester has confirmed his involvement in the violence with pro-Hong Kong independence protesters that broke out in his office on Sunday.

The incident, which was caught on now-viral security footage, saw a group of masked men drag a protester onto the grounds of the Chinese consulate, where he was then repeatedly beaten.

“They dragged me inside, they beat me,” said the Hong Kong national, identified only as Bob. BBC. “It’s ridiculous. They [the attackers] shouldn’t have done that. We’re supposed to have the freedom to say whatever we want here [in the UK].”

A Photo the purported identification of some of the masked men has since circulated on social media. One of them was reportedly Consul General Zheng Xiyuan, who heads the Manchester office.

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Addressing the Manchester Evening News, Zheng confirmed that he went out and got caught up in the chaos. He claimed that the “crowd” stormed the consulate and assaulted two members of its staff.

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However, MP Alicia Kearns, who also claimed Zheng’s involvement, said he was seen tearing down posters before “serious bodily harm” was inflicted on a protester.

“What we saw was that the Chinese consul general then tore down posters and staged a peaceful protest,” Kearns said. Told the House of Commons on Tuesday.

“We cannot allow the CCP to import its blows against protesters, its silence on free speech and its failure to repeatedly allow protests on British soil,” the MP added. “It’s a scary escalation.”

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In a letter to Greater Manchester Police, Zheng alleged protesters were carrying an image of Chinese President Xi Jinping with a noose around his neck, as well as posters with messages like “God kill the CPC (Communist Party of China)” and “F*ck your mother. He said such actions were “deliberately designed to provoke, harass, alarm and distress our consular staff” and in breach of UK public order law.

Zheng added that protesters were first “politely asked” to remove the signs. However, they “refused to do so”, which led to the fight.

The diplomat then referred to an incident involving a protester, although it was not immediately clear if it was Bob.

“During the ensuing scuffle, one of the protesters grabbed a consular staff member by the neck and refused to let go. In an effort to free the staff member, other staff brought their colleague into our compound. Despite this, the perpetrator consistently refused to let go and dove into the property himself,” Zheng wrote.

“Although several of our staff attempted to remove him, the assailant continued to assault our staff member and as a result our staff were forced to untangle their hands. Eventually the assailant was removed with the assistance police, but not before our staff member was injured.

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly summoned China’s second-highest diplomat in London, Yang Xiaoguang, to explain the incident. Chinese Ambassador Zheng Zeguang is currently out of the UK

“They were on British soil and it’s absolutely unacceptable for this kind of behavior,” shrewdly Told reporters on Wednesday.

He added: “I understand Greater Manchester Police will be investigating this and when I see the details of that investigation I will then decide what further we may need to do about it.”

Meanwhile, in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin disputed the protester’s version of events. He said the protester “illegally entered” the consulate and “jeopardized the security of Chinese diplomatic premises”.

“Diplomatic missions of all countries have the right to take necessary measures to maintain peace and dignity of the place,” Wang told reporters, according to the newspaper. Associated Press. “What I want to emphasize is that the peace and dignity of overseas Chinese embassies and consulates should not be violated.”

The investigation into the incident is currently ongoing.

Image selected via CGTN Europe (left) and @McWLuke (right)

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