Manchester Chinese consulate staffers attack pro-Hong Kong protester

British lawmakers and human rights campaigners on Monday called for an investigation into the case of a Hong Kong protester who was dragged into the Chinese consulate in Manchester and beaten by staff after demonstrating against the Chinese government.

According to the Hong Kong Indigenous Defense Force, which organized a rally to mark the opening of a Chinese Communist Party meeting Sunday in Beijing, the protester was among about 60 people who had gathered outside the consulate to protest Chinese President Xi Jinping to demonstrate.

Protest banners and flags calling for Hong Kong independence were draped in front of the consulate. One poster was an image of Xi standing in front of a mirror wearing nothing but a crown and a pair of boxer shorts – a play on the fable of the emperor’s new clothes.

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When one of the protesters began to speak, staff in riot gear emerged from the consulate and attempted to confiscate the placard from the protesters, according to a statement from the group. A protester, identified only as Bob by the group, held up the painting as he was dragged into the consulate, where he was beaten by a group of men.

Jimmy Chen, a 19-year-old who was at the gathering, said he saw the protester being dragged through a gate into the consulate, where he was assaulted for about 30 seconds before a British police officer stepped in and dragged him out .

“The event was going quietly until several people in bulletproof vests came out of the consulate and started tearing down the placards,” he said. “Some protesters tried to stop them and were pushed back, so they ended up fighting.”

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Video taken at the scene showed the men beating the protester and pinning him to the ground. According to rally organizers after British police stopped the attack They erected a barrier separating the demonstrators from the consulate staff.

The injured protester was taken to a hospital and is in stable condition, the group said. The Chinese consulate in Manchester confirmed the incident to the Washington Post but declined to comment further. The Chinese Embassy in London did not respond to a request for comment.

“If the British police had not intervened today, or if the gathering had taken place in Hong Kong or China, I fear that the peaceful protesters like us already…would have disappeared,” the protester said, according to the group’s statement.

Several British MPs on Monday urged the authorities to investigate the incident. Alicia Kearns, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, called for the Chinese ambassador to be summoned and for all consulate officials involved in the beating to be expelled from the country. Former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith demanded a full apology from the Chinese ambassador.

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Xi, who is expected to secure a third term at the party convention that begins Sunday, oversaw a crackdown on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement that culminated in a sweeping national security law that has severely curtailed the city’s once-active pro-democracy movement.


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