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UK lawmaker accuses Chinese diplomat of ‘ripping down posters’ during pro-democracy consulate protest

<i>Matthew Leung/The Chaser News/Reuters</i><br/>A man is pulled at the gate of the Chinese consulate after a demonstration against China's President Xi Jinping
Matthew Leung/The Chaser News/Reuters
A man is pulled at the gate of the Chinese consulate after a demonstration against China's President Xi Jinping

By Jorge Engels and Lauren Kent, CNN

A British lawmaker accused Chinese consul-general Zheng Xiyuan of ripping down posters Sunday at a Hong Kong pro-democracy protest outside the Chinese consulate in the northern English city of Manchester.

In remarks to the UK’s House of Commons on Tuesday, Conservative lawmaker Alicia Kearns said: “On Sunday these peaceful protesters gathered outside the Chinese … consulate to campaign for human rights in Hong Kong. What we saw was the Chinese consul-general [Zheng Xiyuan] then ripping down posters and peaceful protests, and soon followed grievous bodily harm against a Hong Konger, one of whom was hospitalized for taking part in a peaceful protest.”

She added: “Some women were then dragged onto consular territory for a further beating by officials who have been recognized as members of the Chinese Communist Party. We cannot allow the CCP to import their beating of protesters, their silencing of free speech, and their utter failure to allow time and time again protests on British soil. This is a chilling escalation.”

CNN has reached out to the Chinese consulate in Manchester for comment but did not receive an immediate reply.

Earlier on Tuesday, a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reacted to the violent incident, accusing “harassers” of illegally entering and “endangering the security” of the consulate.

“I hope that the British side will effectively fulfil its responsibilities and take effective measures to strengthen the protection of the premises and personnel of Chinese embassies and consulates in the UK,” said spokesperson Wang Wenbin during a regular briefing in Beijing.

UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly instructed a senior official to summon China’s Chargé D’Affaires, Britain’s foreign ministry (FCDO) said in a statement. It comes after police in Manchester launched an investigation Monday into the alleged beating of a Hong Kong pro-democracy protester on the grounds of the Chinese consulate in the city.

“The summoning of foreign representatives is not a decision taken lightly and while investigations are ongoing, we will be making our views clear to the Chinese authorities that the right to peaceful protest in the UK must be respected,” the FCDO said in a statement.

A pro-democracy group called Hong Kong Indigenous Defence Force had staged a protest outside the consulate on Sunday, in opposition to the Chinese Communist Party Congress happening the same day in Beijing.

Video of the incident shared widely on social media shows a confrontation breaking out on the sidewalk outside the consulate, with loud shouting heard as people rushed toward the gated entrance. The video then appears to show one Hong Kong protester being dragged through the gate into the consulate grounds and beaten by a group of men.

The video appears to show local police entering the grounds of the consulate to break up the violence.

The demonstrator was taken to hospital in a stable condition, the protest group stated.

The-CNN-Wire
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CNN’s Jessie Yeung, Angus Watson, Jake Kwon and Duarte Mendonca contributed to this report.

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