The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has pulled six diplomats from Britain after police wanted to question them over an alleged attack on a pro-Democracy protester outside and then inside its consulate in Manchester.
The British officials had requested Beijing to waive diplomatic immunity rights for its consular officials to allow the police to question them about the October incident.
However, the CCP recalled the group to China from the UK on Wednesday, December 14, including consul-general Zheng Xiyuan.
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly showed his disappointment that not a single individual involved in the alleged assault would face justice. “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.”
Hong Kong demonstrator Bob Chan who was injured in the incident, said, “It has been two months since I was attacked in Manchester by staff members of the Chinese Consulate.”
He added, “What happened on October 16, 2022, was unacceptable and illegal, and the withdrawal of these Chinese diplomats gives me a sense of closure.”
In October, a peaceful protest outside the Chinese Consulate in Manchester escalated when a man came out of the consulate to tear up signs and banners.
Greater Manchester Police said a group of men “came out of the building, and a man was dragged into the consulate grounds and assaulted.” Police stepped in and rescued the demonstrator before he suffered any further attacks.
Financial Times reported that the move from Beijing came shortly before the UK was about to expel the group. A source told the news outlet, “They knew exactly what we were going to do next.”
Source told the Financial Times that Beijing was embarrassed by the behavior of these officials and decided to remove them before the UK declared these individuals’ persona non-grata.