Communist China recalled six officials, inlcuding one of its top diplomats, from the United Kingdom following a violent assault on pro-democracy protesters in Manchester.
In a move to presumably pre-empt the likely expelling of Chinese diplomats, Beijing has decided to recall the Consulate General in Manchester Zheng Xiyuan, who was filmed in October attacking Bob Chan, a pro-democracy protester from Hong Kong. The CCP also recalled five other officials from the consulate on Wednesday, the BBC reproted.
Despite being caught on film pulling the hair and draggin Mr Chan, the Consulate General had initally denied that he had used violence against the protester. However, Zheng would later seemingly admit to the attack, saying: “The man abused my country, my leader – I think it’s my duty. I think it’s an emergency situation – that guy threatened my colleague’s life and we tried to control the situation. I wanted to separate him from my colleagues – that’s a very critical point.”
The UK had initially called on China to revoke diplomatic immunity from the six officials at the Manchester Consulate, opening up to potential prosecution, and threatened that if the Chinese failed to cooperate with the police investigation, the government would declare them persona non grata in the country, meaning they would have been expelled.
Police in the British city of Manchester are investigating the apparent assault of a Hong Kong pro-democracy protester demonstrating against President Xi Jinping, who can be seen on video footage being pulled into Chinese consulate grounds and beaten up https://t.co/4g7jjgfbdx pic.twitter.com/N5Ra8LSe8y
— Reuters (@Reuters) October 17, 2022
Foreign Secretary attempted to spin the decision by the Chinese deciding to remove their diplomats as a sign of the strong British response, saying: “We will continue on the world stage and domestically to abide by the rule of law and we expect others to do likewise.”
“I am disappointed that these individuals will not be interviewed or face justice. Nonetheless, it is right that those responsible for the disgraceful scenes in Manchester are no longer – or will shortly cease to be – consular staff accredited to the UK,” he added.
Others, including former Conservative Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said that the government should have gon further and expell them before they were able to leave on their own.
“The flagrant assault on a peaceful democracy campaigner in Manchester needs more than allowing those responsible to leave the UK uncharged and with their heads held high. Letting China take them back isn’t justice,” Sir Iain said. “We should have kicked them out weeks ago.”
Senior Chinese Diplomat Says it was his ‘Duty’ to Manhandle UK Protester for Insulting Xi Jinpinghttps://t.co/VfM9dqe205
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 20, 2022
For his part, Bob Chan said: “It has been two months since I was attacked in Manchester by staff members of the Chinese Consulate. Today, I hear that some members from that Consulate have been sent back to China. While it may have taken two months for this to happen, I believe this is one way of solving this complicated diplomatic problem.
“I relocated to this country with my family to live freely. What happened on 16 October 2022 was unacceptable and illegal, and the withdrawal of these Chinese diplomats gives me a sense of closure.”
It is not the first time that a prominent Chinese diplomat left the UK in disgrace. In 2020, Breitbart London reported the Twitter account for then-Chinese ambassador Liu Xiaoming “liked” a graphic “footjob” porn video. Just two months later Liu announced he would be leaving his post, although Beijing did not admit that the X-rated scandal played any role in his departure.
Put Your Feet Up! Twitter Porn Controversy Chinese Ambassador to UK is Standing Down https://t.co/d4nesFDZQs
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) December 28, 2020
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