After an “absolutely inacceptable” attack on a Manchester protester at the Chinese consulate, police are looking for video footage and reviewing CCTV footage.
Bob Chan was taken to the ground of the building by police and appeared to have been attacked by a group. A Tory MP claimed that a senior Chinese diplomat was involved.
Investigators are seeking statements from “as many people involved as possible” so they appeal to anyone with footage of this attack to contact them.
Greater Manchester Police stated that a man sustained minor injuries on the consulate grounds. This happened after an initial peaceful protest escalated. They are now investigating why.
After intervening to remove the protester, an officer sustained a hand injury.
Although no arrests have yet been made, police pledge to continue their investigations “for as long” as it is necessary.
Mr Chan fled Hong Kong in March to seek asylum in the UK. He said that he’s had nightmares about his family living there being targeted since then.
Sky News was informed by James Cleverly, Foreign Secretary, that China’s Charge d’affaires Yang Xiaoguang had been contacted over the incident.
“We stated that this was unacceptable and that the protests were legal and peaceful. He said that they were on British soil and this type of behavior was unacceptable.
After reviewing the details of the investigation, Mr Cleverly said that he would decide whether any further action is necessary.
Diplomatic staff working at foreign embassies are usually exempt from arrest and prosecution.
However, Iain Duncan Smith (a Tory senior MP) said that China sanctioned his response. He called on ministers to expel diplomats who were seen in multiple videos dragging, hitting and pulling Mr Chan’s hair.
He claimed that a Chinese official and an official from the Foreign Office met to “gave them some rap over their knuckles”.
He said that “this is a wake up call to go faster, and harder” at Wednesday’s news conference.
“We cannot continue to use China’s trade as an excuse.”
“They kicked and punched me”
Sky News was told by Mr Chan that he believed he would have died had a police officer not helped him.
“It all happened too quickly,” stated Mr Chan. “I tried to hold on to the gates, but I couldn’t hold it for too long. They then started to kick me and punch me.
His face was bruised, he had cuts and he was left with a bald spot where his hair was pulled out.
The protester added, “They might do some terrible things to my family in Hong Kong.”
“I am worried about that, and there is nothing I can do to change it.” I didn’t regret attending the protest, because the world wouldn’t see this absurdity happen to me if I didn’t speak up.
He said that he was participating in the peaceful protest outside the consulate along with other demonstrators on Wednesday when a “masked” man attempted to remove their display.
According to him, the man began acting aggressively towards him and soon other “masked men”, before trying to drag him onto the grounds of the consulate.
“I am shocked and hurt by this unprovoked attack. “I never imagined something like this would occur in the UK,” Mr Chan stated.
“I felt quite anxious… It’s making it very difficult to fall asleep at night.”
He said that he would continue to protest China’s freedom, and that the UK is safe for Hong Kongers.
He stated that the Chinese authorities would try to crackdown on protesters “the harder they try to crackdown on us”,
Protest to ‘provoke harass and alarm’
Zhen Xiyuan the Consul General of China in Manchester had a different story than Mr Chan and the police. He claimed that the protest was designed to harass, alarm, distress and provoke staff members and that the group of protesters “stormed the consulate grounds.”
He also wrote to police claiming that one of the protesters had grabbed a consular staff member “by the neck” and refused to let go during the ensuing scuffle.
He said that despite several attempts to pull him off by our staff, the attacker kept attacking our staff member and so our staff were forced disentangle his hands.”
“Eventually, the attacker was removed by the police with the help of our staff member. However, we did not prevent him from inflicting injuries to our staff member.”
A veteran Chinese Communist Party official claimed that the banners used during protest contained a “volume full of deeply offensive imagery” and slogans, including one of the Chinese president wearing a noose around the neck.
He wrote that he was disappointed that police didn’t do more to ensure protesters used their rights in a respectful and not aggressive way.
What’s the situation in Hong Kong?
China said Wednesday that it had also made representations to the UK regarding what it called malicious harassment by lawless individuals.
Many fear that Hong Kong‘s freedoms will be further restricted as the Chinese government gains greater control of the territory.
Two years ago, a national security law was passed that gave new power to indict people for protest and dissent.
Hong Kong was supposed to have greater freedoms than China mainland. When Britain returned it in 1997, Hong Kong was subject to the “one nation, two systems” principle. However, freedom has been under threat since mass protests began on 2019.