The Chinese consul general accused of attacking a protester has denied the allegations and said his alleged victim was “abusing my country, my leader”.
Senior diplomat Zheng Xiyuan was pictured pulling Bob Chan’s hair before dragging him to the Chinese consulate in Manchester.
Mr Zheng told Sky News it was his “duty” and that he was at the protest “peacefully”.
What happened outside and inside the consulate is now at the center of a diplomatic incident.
The pro-democracy protest by Hong Kongers began peacefully, but banners and posters, which the Chinese say they found deeply offensive, were torn down by officials including the consul general.
This lead to a violent confrontation which saw Bob Chan seemingly dragged into the consulate compound and beaten by his staff – leaving him with cuts and bruises all over his body.
But these claims were refuted by Mr. Zheng, who said, “I didn’t beat anyone. I didn’t let my people beat anyone. The fact is that the so-called protesters have beaten my people.
However, when asked about the hair-pulling incident, he said, “He (Bob Chan) was abusing my country, my boss, I think it’s my duty.”
Mr. Zheng added, “I think it’s an emergency situation – this guy threatened my colleague’s life, and we tried to control the situation. I wanted to separate him from my colleagues – he’s a very critical point.”
“They used very rude words – unacceptable”
Asked why the peaceful protest turned violent, Zheng said it was because of the “rude banners” that were displayed.
In a letter sent to Greater Manchester Police, he said the banners featured “a volume of deeply offensive imagery and slogans”, including a picture of Chinese President Xi Jinping with a noose around his neck.
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“I think the most serious reason for this incident is that they used very rude banners. They used very rude, unacceptable words. Everyone never accepts those kinds of words,” Mr. Zheng to Sky News.
“It’s not right to put such banners near my door. After I advised them to remove them very politely, they refused.”
“I was attacked”
In his letter, the Consul General also said he was disappointed that the police had not done more to help and claimed that one of the protesters grabbed a member of his staff “by the neck and refused to let him go” during the ensuing fight.
“I was attacked by the protesters and my colleagues were attacked and at that time we received no protection from the police, so we had to do something to protect ourselves,” Zheng said.
He added that some of his staff were injured in the incident, with video footage showing a man allegedly from the consulate being kicked by protesters while on the ground.
“This is very serious harassment for me, the consulate and China,” he added.
The protester was ‘cut and kicked’
The protester at the center of the controversy, Bob Chan, fled Hong Kong to the UK for his safety last March, but explained how he thought he was going to die during the incident.
“I clung to the door where I was kicked and punched. I couldn’t hold out for long and was eventually dragged into the consulate compound,” he said. .
“I am shocked and hurt by this unprovoked attack. I am shocked because I never thought something like this could happen in the UK.”
But it happened here, and it is now on the agenda of Foreign Secretary James Cleverly.
It will be up to the police to decide whether criminal action is necessary – and the government to determine whether there are diplomatic consequences.