British lawmakers have urged an investigation after a Hong Kong protester was dragged into the Chinese consulate grounds in Manchester and beaten up on Sunday, as a major Communist Party Congress began in Beijing.
A Hong Kong man protesting peacefully outside the Chinese consulate in the northern city was dragged into the premises by unidentified men who came out of the consulate, the BBC reported. The protester escaped with the help of the police and other protesters.
According to a video circulating on social media, a man kicked down protest signs erected outside the consulate that read, “may the higher power destroy the Chinese communist [party], screw the celebration,” before returning to the compound.
Additionally, flags that read “Hong Kong independence,” and “liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times,” were displayed outside the consulate. The latter was a popular refrain during the protests and unrest in 2019 and has been ruled to be capable of inciting others to commit secession. Footage from the BBC showed a picture of China’s Xi Jinping with a noose around his neck.
Some of the men who could be seen punching and kicking the protester inside the consulate grounds were wearing protective gear, such as helmets and vests.
The man who was beaten up, who identified himself as “Bob,” told the BBC that the incident was “ridiculous.”
“Your so-called Hong Kong government said that we are rioters, but now your government, Chinese people, what are they doing? Who really is the rioter here?” Bob told the BBC.
British Members of Parliament, including former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith, as well as Catherine West and Alicia Kearns, urged the Foreign Office and the home secretary to investigate the incident.
“The CCP will not import their beating of protestors and denial of free speech to British streets,” Kearns’ post on Twitter read. “Chinese Ambassador should be summoned & if any official has beaten protesters, they must be expelled or prosecuted.”
The Chinese consulate, in response to the BBC, criticised the protesters as “a small bunch of Hong Kong independence advocates,” and said that no consulate would tolerate people displaying images that insult Xi.
“”This would be intolerable and unacceptable for any diplomatic and consular missions of any country. Therefore, we condemn this deplorable act with strong indignation and firm opposition,” the consulate told the BBC.
Pro-Beijing protesters have often wielded effigies of foreign leaders at overseas consulates in Hong Kong.
The Greater Manchester Police told the BBC that there were ongoing enquiries over the incident.
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