(Reuters) – China’s foreign ministry, speaking after a Hong Kong protester was allegedly assaulted in the grounds of its consulate in the British city of Manchester on Sunday, said on Tuesday that “disturbing elements” had illegally entered the consulate.
This followed an incident in which a Hong Kong pro-democracy protester was seen being pulled into the mission’s grounds and beaten up.
British police are investigating the incident, which occurred during a demonstration against Chinese President Xi Jinping. Officers entered the consulate grounds to rescue a man who they said “was dragged” inside and assaulted by several men.
The protest, involving 30-40 people including Hongkongers now resident in Britain, took place at the start of a twice-a-decade congress of China’s ruling Communist Party in Beijing at which Xi is widely expected to win a third leadership term.
Footage posted by the BBC showed a man in a black cap and ponytail being hauled through a gate into the consular grounds, where he was kicked and punched by five men as he lay on the ground.
The BBC video showed several men from the consulate, some wearing helmets and protective vests, take down several banners, and during a confrontation with the protesters they grabbed the man and dragged him into the grounds.