Foreign Secretary says attack on a Hong Kong pro-democracy protester in Manchester 'unacceptable'

UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said he has not ruled out prosecuting those involved in the attack "regardless of diplomatic immunity".

The Foreign Secretary has said an attack on a Hong Kong pro-democracy protester in the grounds of the Chinese consulate in Manchester was “unacceptable”.

James Cleverly said he summoned the Chinese charge d’affaires, but it was one of his officials who spoke to him after the incident on Sunday 15 October.

Scuffles broke out outside the building after 30 to 40 pro-democracy protesters gathered and put up posters.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) have launched an investigation after one protester was assaulted and had to be rescued by officers.

Credit: Matthew Leung / The Chaser News

The injured campaigner said the unidentified men had ripped down the posters before he was attacked.

UK police are not normally allowed to enter consulate grounds without permission.

The properties fall under UK law, but staff who work there may have diplomatic immunity.

Discussing his thoughts on the incident, Mr Cleverly said: "We said this is absolutely unacceptable, that the protests were peaceful and legal.

"They were on British soil and it is absolutely unacceptable for this kind of behaviour.

"Now, my understanding is the Greater Manchester Police will be conducting an investigation into this and when I see the details of that investigation, I’ll then decide what more we might need to do on that.”

Mr Cleverly has not ruled out prosecuting those involved in the attack regardless of diplomatic immunity.

He said: "I don’t want to speculate about what we might do in response to the information we get from the Greater Manchester Police."

On Tuesday 10 October the UK summoned the Chinese ambassador’s deputy to demand an explanation for the incident as the Chinese ambassador is believed to be out of the country.

China’s foreign ministry has rejected the protester’s account, stating its diplomatic missions abroad have the right to “take necessary measures” to maintain security.

Wang Wenbin, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, told reporters on Tuesday: “What I want to stress is that the peace and dignity of Chinese embassies and consulates abroad must not be violated.”

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