A Hong Kong man Wednesday decried his “barbaric” treatment at the hands of Chinese diplomats in Britain who dragged him inside their compound to assault him after an anti-Beijing protest.
Bob Chan spoke at a news conference in London after China, insisting its diplomats in Manchester were blameless, lodged a formal complaint with the UK government.
In a letter to Greater Manchester Police, Consul-General Zhen Xiyuan complained the police had failed to intervene promptly after protesters “stormed” the mission on Sunday.
While insisting that China was “respectful of the right to protest”, consular staff were required “to physically fend off unauthorised entry and subsequent assaults”, he said.
But Zhen himself was named on social media and in the UK parliament as attacking Chan, along with three other consular diplomats.
Iain Duncan Smith, a Conservative MP and virulent critic of the Chinese communist authorities, said the diplomats should be expelled and decried the “wholly inadequate” response from his own government.
“Anybody involved in those scenes is not welcome here,” the former Tory party leader, one of several UK parliamentarians who has been sanctioned by Beijing, told the news conference. “They must go.”
Greater Manchester Police have themselves contradicted the Chinese account, after video of the incident showed consular staff hauling Chan inside the gates of the Manchester compound.
Chan was one of several protesters who had displayed banners mocking the Chinese Communist Party and President Xi Jinping.
Chan said he was pulled by the hair and assaulted from behind by masked men, but could not say “100 percent” that Zhen attacked him.
“It was barbaric. I am very concerned for my safety and I have nightmares about how my loved ones might be treated,” said the Hongkonger, who has lived in Britain since March of last year.
“I am shocked because I never thought something like this could have happened in the UK,” Chan added, while declining to give any more personal information for fear of Chinese reprisals.
Support press freedom & help us surpass 1,000 monthly Patrons: 100% independent, governed by an ethics code & not-for-profit, Hong Kong Free Press is #PressingOn with impartial, award-winning, frontline coverage.