Oct 18, 2022 - World

U.K. police investigate assault of protester at Chinese consulate

A man is pulled at the gate of the Chinese consulate after a demonstration against China's President Xi Jinping, in Manchester, Britain on Oct 16, 2022.

Police intervene as a man is pulled at the gate of the Chinese consulate in Manchester, northwest England, following a protest on Sunday. Photo: Matthew Leung/The Chaser News

British police said Monday they're investigating the assault of a Hong Kong pro-democracy protester on Chinese consulate grounds in Manchester, northwest England, during a demonstration against China's President Xi Jinping.

Driving the news: Greater Manchester Police said a "small group of men" came out of the building during Sunday's "peaceful protest" and "dragged" the man who's in his 30s onto the consulate grounds and assaulted him. Police intervened and removed him from the grounds due to "fears for the safety of the man," the statement added.

A photo of the protester, identified only as Bob, showing injuries to his face.
A close-up of the face of the protester, identified only as Bob, appears to show injuries to his face. Photo: Matthew Leung/The Chaser News
  • The man, who was among a group of 30 to 40 people protesting outside the consulate, "suffered several physical injuries and remained in hospital overnight for treatment," the police said.
  • "He is continuing to receive our support for his welfare," they added.

The big picture: The demonstration in Manchester was held as the ruling Chinese Communist Party's congress began.

  • BBC video footage of the confrontation showed men wearing face masks taking away the protesters' placards and grabbing one of the demonstrators and dragging him onto the consulate grounds.

What they're saying: "These reports are extremely concerning," a spokesperson for British Prime Minister Liz Truss said in a statement.

  • Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said in a statement it's important for the full facts to be established, but "on the basis of what I have seen, I want to make clear that it is never acceptable for peaceful protesters to be assaulted and those responsible need to be held to account for their actions."

Meanwhile, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a briefing in Beijing he wasn't aware of the incident, but "Chinese embassies and consulates in the U.K. have always abided by the laws of their country of residence," per Reuters.

  • [W]e also hope that the British side will facilitate the normal performance of duties of Chinese embassies and consulates," Wang added.
A Manchester Police tweet stating: "A man was dragged into the Consulate grounds & assaulted.  Due to our fears for the safety of the man officers intervened to remove him."
Photo: Greater Manchester Police/Twitter
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