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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 16 July 2024

China 'removes' 6 diplomats from UK over Hong Kong protester attack

FCDO had set deadline of December 14 to Chinese government for officials to have their diplomatic immunity waived

PTI London Published 14.12.22, 10:04 PM
James Cleverly

James Cleverly File picture

The Chinese government on Wednesday “removed” a Consul General and five other diplomats involved in an incident in which a pro-democracy Hong Kong protester was beaten up inside China’s Consulate in Manchester, UK's Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said.

Cleverly said the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) had set a deadline of December 14 to the Chinese government for the six officials to have their diplomatic immunity waived so they could be questioned by British police in relation to the incident.

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It followed a request from Greater Manchester Police investigating the assault. "In response to our request, the Chinese government has now removed from the UK those officials, including the consul general himself,” he said.

“This demonstrates that our adherence to the rule of law, the seriousness with which we take these incidents, has had an effect, and we will continue on the world stage and domestically to abide by the rule of law, and we expect others to do likewise," he said.

While Consul General Zheng Xiyuan has already left the UK, the others are also on their way back.

It follows an incident two months ago involving pro-democracy protester Bob Chan, who was injured after being dragged onto the consulate grounds and beaten by men on October 16.

Zheng, who was effectively in charge of China's Manchester outpost, denied attacking Chan after he was identified in photographs and on social media.

In a written statement to the House of Commons, Cleverly added: "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." China had initially claimed that there had been attempts to illegally enter the consulate grounds during the protest.

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