British police are investigating an assault on a protester who was beaten by several men after he was dragged into the grounds of the Chinese consulate in Manchester during a protest against President Xi Jinping.
Sunday’s protest came on the first day of the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s two-decade congress in Beijing, at which Xi is expected to win a third term in office.
Several protest banners had been placed outside the consulate, including one with the words “Heaven will destroy the Chinese Communist Party”.
Greater Manchester Police said around 30 to 40 people had gathered outside the Chinese consulate.
“Shortly before 4 p.m., a small group of men exited the building and one man was dragged into the consulate compound and assaulted,” police said in a statement.
“Due to our fears for the safety of the man, officers intervened and evacuated the victim from the consulate.”
Footage released by the BBC showed a man wearing a black cap and ponytail being carried through a doorway into the consular area, where he was kicked and punched by five men as he lay on floor.
A silver-haired man wearing a blue beret, glasses and a scarf was also seen grabbing the man’s hair before police entered the consulate compound and pulled the man out.
A shocking video aired on HK Telegram channels showing someone from the PRC Consulate in Manchester knocking down pro-democracy signs.
A protester then appears to have been dragged behind the gates of the consulate and beaten by consulate staff. pic.twitter.com/tntvTz38DY
— Luke M (@McWLuke) October 16, 2022
BBC video showed several men from the consulate, some wearing hard hats and protective vests, taking down several banners, and in a confrontation with protesters they grabbed a man and dragged him into the park.
Police said in a statement that the man – in his 30s – suffered multiple physical injuries and remained in hospital overnight for treatment. No arrests were made.
Deputy Police Chief Rob Potts said a full investigation is underway.
Alicia Kearns, lawmaker for Britain’s ruling Conservative Party and chair of parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said the government should summon the Chinese ambassador and expel or prosecute any civil servant who allegedly beat up protesters.
The Chinese consulate in Manchester did not respond to Reuters requests for comment. A spokesman for British Prime Minister Liz Truss said the reports were “deeply concerning”.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters in Beijing on Monday that he was unaware of the situation but that Chinese missions had acted in accordance with international diplomatic agreements.
“Chinese embassies and consulates in the UK have always abided by the laws of their country of residence, and we also hope that the British side will facilitate the normal exercise of the functions of Chinese embassies and consulates,” Wang said.