China on Tuesday accused demonstrators of “illegally entering” Beijing’s consulate in the British city of Manchester, after footage of a Hong Kong pro-democracy protester being assaulted on the grounds sparked outrage in the UK.
British police have said a group of men came out of the consulate during a peaceful demonstration on Sunday afternoon and dragged one of the protesters inside the grounds and assaulted him.
But Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin on Tuesday said the protesters were to blame and that “violation of the peace and dignity of China’s overseas embassies and consulates will not be tolerated”.
“The troublemakers illegally entered the Chinese Consulate-General in Manchester, endangering the security of the premises,” Wang said at a daily press briefing.
He urged the UK to “earnestly fulfil its duties and take effective measures to step up protection of the premises and personnel of the Chinese embassy and consulates”.
A British government spokesman on Monday said reports of the incident were “obviously deeply concerning,” adding that it would be “inappropriate” to comment further while the police probe was ongoing.
The protest took place as China opened its five-yearly Communist Party Congress, where President Xi Jinping is widely expected to be handed a historic third term in power.
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