China Recalls Six Diplomats Over Violence at Manchester Consulate: UK


Manchester, after they were accused of assaulting a Hong Kong protester in the northern English city, Britain said Wednesday.

UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said the six envoys had left the country by a Wednesday deadline imposed by London for them to waive their diplomatic immunity and be questioned by police over the October incident.

Greater Manchester Police launched a criminal probe after Hong Konger Bob Chan alleged Chinese diplomats subjected him to “barbaric” treatment — dragging him inside their compound to assault him — at an anti-Beijing protest.

“As part of that investigation, we requested that six Chinese officials waive diplomatic immunity so they can be questioned,” Cleverly said on Wednesday.

He added the Chinese embassy in London was informed of the deadline for “them to take action”.

“In response to our requests, the Chinese government has now removed from the UK those officials, including the consul-general himself,” Cleverly noted.

Britain’s top diplomat said London’s response demonstrated its “adherence to the rule of law” as well as “the seriousness with which we take these incidents”.

His Foreign Office department had summoned China’s Charge d’Affaires Yang Xiaoguang in London in October after footage emerged backing up the claims of the pro-democracy protester.

Senior ruling Conservative lawmakers had accused consul-general Zheng Xiyuan, one of China’s most senior UK diplomats, of being at the Manchester scene and ripping down posters during the peaceful protest.

The removal of the six Chinese envoys is likely to please hardliners on China in the Conservative party, who had demanded their expulsions and accused the UK government of appeasing Beijing.

MP Alicia Kearns, chair of parliament’s watchdog Foreign Affairs Committee, welcomed the development, saying the six had “fled the UK like cowards, making clear their guilt”.

“The Foreign Office must now declare those who have fled persona non grata, and make clear they are never again welcome in the UK,” she added in a statemen

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