Incident in British Manchester: beating at the Chinese consulate

Status: 19/10/2022 at 11:04 am

In Manchester, Chinese consulate officials are said to have physically assaulted a pro-democracy protester in Hong Kong. British politicians are outraged, China defends the approach.

By Benjamin Eyssel, ARD Studio Beijing

A video from last Sunday: Several Hong Kong pro-democracy activists have gathered in front of the Chinese consulate in the British city of Manchester, videos show. They have put up posters protesting against the leadership of the People’s Republic. The occasion is the start of the Party Congress of the Chinese Communist Party.

Then the rally is interrupted by several men. It gets confusing. A man believed to be Chinese Consul General Zheng Xiyuan tears down posters and pulls a protester by the hair. This is then apparently dragged onto the property by consular staff and beaten. British police officers finally drag the protesters away from the premises.

China: Invaded the Consulate

State and party leadership spokesman Wang Wenbin presented the matter differently at a press conference in Beijing. He defended the consular staff’s crackdown: “Disruptive elements have illegally entered the Consulate General in Manchester and have threatened the security of a Chinese mission.” , he said. .

“Diplomatic institutions of every country have the right to take the necessary measures to ensure the peace and sovereignty of the terrain.” These should “not be hurt,” says Wang. “I hope that the British side will shoulder their responsibilities and take effective measures to increase the protection of the premises and staff of the Chinese diplomatic mission.”

What happened at the Chinese consulate in Manchester could lead to a full-fledged diplomatic spat between Britain and China.

Picture: AP

London summons Chinese diplomat

The British government has summoned a senior official from the Chinese embassy in London and is demanding an explanation. Politicians and human rights activists in the UK are outraged and have called on the British government to act decisively and expel the diplomats concerned.

Diplomatic staff enjoy legal protection from prosecution due to international agreements – meaning the police cannot investigate them.

Conservative MP Alicia Kearns said: “We cannot allow the Communist Party to import into Britain its violence against protesters, its suppression of free speech and its failure to allow protests. This is a terrifying escalation.”

The relationship strained for years

Relations between Britain and China have been extremely tense for years. The British government accuses the state and party leaders of not complying with international law and of having disregarded the agreed autonomy status of the former British colony of Hong Kong.

Tens of thousands of Hong Kongers have emigrated to Britain in recent years after the government in Beijing cracked down on pro-democracy protests and abolished civil liberties.

China pays British ex-pilots

And there is another dispute between Britain and China: the People’s Republic has apparently hired 30 former British military pilots with a lot of money. These are to train Chinese soldiers. The British government is very concerned and has issued a warning. This practice could endanger national security, it said.

China defends diplomatic crackdown in Manchester

Benjamin Eyssel, ARD Beijing, 19 October 2022 at 10.21

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