British authorities have issued an arrest warrant for Chinese state media journalist Kong Linlin after she failed to appear for a hearing, according to the BBC.
Kong was charged with common assault after she allegedly slapped a Conservative Party member at the party’s annual conference in Birmingham last September. The alleged victim told HKFP he welcomed the arrest warrant.
A deputy district judge issued the warrant after Kong failed to appear at the Birmingham Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.
A summons had already been posted to her address in King’s Cross, London, requiring her to attend court.
Kong allegedly slapped Conservative Party member Enoch Lieu twice, on September 30, at the party’s annual conference in Birmingham. The incident took place during a fringe event discussing human rights and democracy in Hong Kong that was co-organised by NGO Hong Kong Watch.
The charges against Kong were dropped in November, with the police saying there was insufficient evidence, but they were later reinstated.
Lieu told HKFP that he welcomed the decision by the Crown Prosecution Service to reopen the case.
“I believe this sent a clear message that no one is above the law,” Lieu said. “Failure to attend the hearing shows that she has no respect for the rule of law, a principle that is fundamental to our British way of life.”
Last October, the Chinese Embassy in the UK has said it was “shocking and confusing” that a Chinese state media journalist based in Britain had been charged with common assault. A spokesperson said Kong “encountered obstruction and was manhandled by the organiser of the event when she was expressing her opinion.”
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