One of China’s most senior UK diplomats was involved in violence against protesters at the Manchester consulate on Sunday, a British MP says.
“What we saw was the Chinese consul-general then ripping down posters and peaceful protest,” Alicia Kearns told MPs in the House of Commons.
MPs in Parliament have privilege, allowing them to speak freely without fear of legal action.
China has not commented on Zheng Xiyuan’s alleged involvement.
But the foreign ministry in Beijing defended the actions of consulate staff.
Spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Tuesday that people had “illegally entered” the grounds and any country’s diplomats would have taken “necessary measures” to protect their premises.
The UK’s foreign office summoned Chinese chargé d’affaires Yang Xiaoguang – the deputy to the ambassador who is currently not in the UK – to demand an explanation for what happened at the consulate. However, an official was sent in the deputy’s place.
A foreign office statement said it was reiterated at Tuesday’s meeting that all diplomats and consular staff based in the UK must respect the UK’s laws and regulations.
The official Chinese version of what happened is at odds with video footage and statements from police. Officers had to pull back a protester as he was being attacked after he had been dragged inside the consulate gate.
But on Wednesday China’s foreign ministry said it had complained to Britain, alleging that some of its staff had been injured during the “illegal entry to the Chinese consulate-general in Manchester”. It urged Britain to do more to protect Chinese diplomats on UK soil.
Ms Kearns told MPs on Tuesday that after Consul-General Zheng Xiyuan ripped down the placards, there was “grievous bodily harm against a Hongkonger, one of whom was hospitalised for taking part in a peaceful protest. (BBC)