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HomeNewsBritish Police Investigate Attack on Pro-Democracy Protester at Chinese Consulate

British Police Investigate Attack on Pro-Democracy Protester at Chinese Consulate


British police are investigating after a pro-democracy protester was filmed being dragged inside China’s diplomatic grounds in Manchester and beaten by a group of men, an incident that sparked demands from senior U.K. politicians for any Chinese officials involved to be expelled from the country.

A few dozen protesters gathered in front of the consulate on Sunday afternoon, the day Chinese leader

Xi Jinping

was giving a speech at a major Communist Party political gathering in Beijing in which he hailed the national-security crackdown on political opponents in Hong Kong in recent years as a triumph.

A scuffle erupted outside the consulate gates after several men from the diplomatic mission came out to remove a placard that depicted Chinese leader Xi Jinping as a cartoon emperor from the folk tale Emperor’s New Clothes, according to videos of the incident circulating on social media and witnesses. Some of the men wore helmets and protective vests.

During an ensuing skirmish, one of the protesters was dragged inside the consulate’s gates and repeatedly punched by the men as he lay on the ground. The man told the British Broadcasting Corp. that his name was Bob and that he was from Hong Kong.

A scuffle erupted after several men from China’s diplomatic mission in Manchester came out to remove a placard depicting the country’s leader as a cartoon emperor.


matthew leung/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

A woman at the scene, who said she was the man’s wife, said Monday that he had suffered injuries to his face, neck and back and was seeking treatment in hospital. A lock of his hair was pulled out in the struggle before police rescued him, said the woman.

Manchester police said they were investigating the assault while liaising with national police and diplomatic partners. Officers responded immediately to defuse the situation and a police patrol plan is in place in the area following the incident, they said. They also called on the public to provide information and video footage of the incident.

“I can assure the public that all viable avenues will be explored to bring to justice anyone we believe is culpable for the scenes we saw outside the Chinese Consulate on Sunday,” a Manchester assistant chief constable said in a statement.

British Prime Minister

Liz Truss

said Monday that reports about the assault were deeply concerning but that it would be inappropriate to comment on a continuing inquiry.

The Chinese Consulate of Manchester didn’t respond to requests for comment.

A spokesperson for the consulate was earlier quoted by the BBC as saying that the protesters had hung an insulting portrait of the Chinese leader at the entrance, which would be “intolerable and unacceptable for any diplomatic and consular missions of any country.”

The ruckus is the latest sign of escalating tensions in the U.K. and other Western countries between displaced Hong Kong pro-democracy activists and Chinese nationals overseas. It is rare for such an incident to involve direct clashes at embassies or consulates, the frequent site of anti-Beijing protests. 

Tens of thousands of people have left Hong Kong for the U.K. after the British government relaxed visa and citizenship requirements for millions of residents in response to China’s political crackdown in the former British colony following mass 2019 antigovernment protests. 

Politicians from across the spectrum condemned the attack in Manchester and urged for an investigation. 

Alicia Kearns, the chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said on


that the government should summon the Chinese ambassador and expel or prosecute any official who has beaten protesters. 

Sarah Owen, from the opposition Labour Party, tweeted that an investigation needed to take place immediately, “with answers given, to ensure people fleeing persecution feel safe” in the U.K. 

Several clashes between pro-Beijing supporters and pro-democracy Hong Kong activists have taken place since 2019 from Australia to Canada, including a scuffle in Manchester in January this year.

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