UK police said on Monday they were investigating the alleged beating of a Hong Kong pro-democracy protester on the grounds of the Chinese consulate in Manchester, in the north of England, an episode that the British government described as “deeply worrying”.
Video footage posted on Twitter showed a gray-haired man with a mask kicking and knocking down the banners of the protesters and fights at the doors of the consulate.
Inside the gates, he showed himself to a group of men beating a man who was lying on the groundwhile the grey-haired man, who according to unconfirmed reports was the consul zheng xiyuan, looked. At one point she even grabbed the protester by the hair.
Police were seen intervening to break up the clashes.
The BBC reported that Bob, a Hong Kong activist, said he was attacked by unidentified men leaving the consulate.
“They dragged me inside. I was beaten”, he told the station after the incident, which took place on Sunday.
Greater Manchester Police said they were “aware of an incident that took place around 3:00 pm (14:00 GMT) on Sunday at the Chinese consulate in Manchester.”
The force said its officers “They responded immediately to (defuse) the situation.”
The police said they were doing “investigations to understand all the circumstances”.
The protest took place when China opened its Communist Party Congresswhich occurs every five years.
Chinese President, Xi Jinpingpraised in a speech on Sunday a “great transition from chaos to governance” in Hong Kong, following the crackdown on pro-democracy protests.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Wang Wenbin, said to the AFP: “We are not aware of the situation you described.” He insisted that the embassy and consulates in the UK “They have complied at all times with the laws of the host country.”
Nevertheless, the British prime minister’s spokesman called the incident “deeply worrying.”
“These reports are obviously deeply concerning,” the spokesman told reporters, adding that it would be “inappropriate” to comment while a police investigation is underway.
Several British politicians also condemned the use of violence.
The newly appointed chairperson of the parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, alice kearnstweeted that Home Secretary and Foreign Secretary Suella Braverman and James Cleverly, “They urgently need to investigate.”
The Chinese Communist Party “Your beating of protesters and denial of free speech on British streets will not matter”wrote.
Influential former Conservative leader Iain Duncan-Smith tweeted that the government must “demand a full apology from the Chinese ambassador to the UK.”
Meanwhile, Manchester MP Andrew Gwynne, from the main opposition Labor Party, said: “The British government urgently needs to call the Chinese ambassador to account for this act of violence.”
Nathan Lawa Hong Kong activist who fled to the UK, tweeted: “If responsible consulate staff are not held accountable, Hongkongers will live in fear of being kidnapped and persecuted.”
He called on Cleverly and Braverman to “investigate and protect our community and people in the UK.”
(With information from AFP)