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China sacks 6 diplomats after Manchester consulate violence : United Kingdom | Protests News

China sacks 6 diplomats after Manchester consulate violence : United Kingdom | Protests News

The UK had demanded that they waive diplomatic immunity and be questioned by police over an attack on a pro-democracy activist.

China fired six diplomats from Britain, including its Consul General in Manchesterwhom police wanted to question for their alleged role in the attack on a pro-democracy protester in Hong Kong outside the Beijing consulate in the northern English city, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said.

The six officials left the country before Wednesday’s deadline set by the UK for them to waive their diplomatic immunity and be questioned by the police about the incidentwhich took place in October, according to Britain’s top diplomat.

“I am disappointed that these people are not being questioned or brought to justice,” Cleverly said in a written statement.

“Nevertheless, it is right that those responsible for the shameful scenes in Manchester are no longer – or will soon cease to be – accredited consular staff in the UK.”

Greater Manchester Police have launched a criminal investigation after Hong Kong-born Bob Chan alleged Chinese diplomats subjected him to ‘barbaric’ treatment – dragging him inside the compound and beating him — during an anti-Beijing protest.

The October protest took place on the first day of two decades congress of the ruling communist party in china in Beijing where President Xi Jinping won an unprecedented third leadership term.

“The images shared on social media showed what appeared to be totally unacceptable behavior on the part of a number of individuals near the entrance to the consular premises,” said Cleverly, who summoned the ambassador by acting after the broadcast of images supporting the protester’s claims.

He said police had asked the six officials to waive their diplomatic immunity so they could be questioned, adding that the Chinese embassy in London had been notified, giving them a week to act.

“In response to our demands, the Chinese government has now removed these officials from the UK, including the consul general himself,” Cleverly noted.

Greater Manchester Police said in a statement he would continue to investigate the events surrounding the protest.

“No arrests have yet been made but our investigations will continue as long as necessary with the support of partners,” he added.

Top lawmakers from the ruling Conservative Party had accused Consul General Zheng Xiyuan, one of the UK’s top Chinese diplomats, of being on the scene and tearing down posters during the peaceful protest.

The removal of the six officials is expected to please China hardliners in the Conservative Party, who had demanded their removal and accused the British government of appeasing Beijing.

MP Alicia Kearns, chair of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, welcomed the development, saying the six had “fleed the UK like cowards, clearly showing their guilt”.

“The Foreign Office must now declare those who fled persona non grata and make it clear that they will never be welcome in the UK again,” she added in a statement.

For its part, China said the British government had failed to fulfill its obligations under international law to protect its consulate premises and staff, and that its consul general in Manchester had returned home as part of a rotation of civil servants.

“The Chinese Consul General in Manchester has completed his term and returned to China under instruction not long ago. This is a normal rotation of Chinese consular officials,” a spokesperson for the agency said. Chinese Embassy in a statement posted on Twitter.

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