British minister promises ‘diplomatic consequences’ if Chinese consulate does not waive immunity

Lawmakers call for expulsion of Zheng Xiyuan after admitting to pulling protesters’ hair

Chinese diplomat at Manchester consulate could be charged or face ‘diplomatic consequences’ if found guilty of crime in police beating protesters, UK says minister said on Thursday.

During an urgent questions session in parliament on Thursday, some lawmakers urged the government to immediately declare Zheng Xiyuan’s persona nongrata instead of waiting for the Greater Manchester Police (GMP) investigation to finish. I was.

On Oct. 16, Chung admitted to pulling the hair of Hong Kong pro-democracy protester Bob Chan, saying it was his “duty” to do so.

Chan was dragged to the consulate grounds and beaten by what appeared to be consular staff when he tried to forcefully remove the banner.

Some of Chan’s hair was ripped off. He also suffered minor injuries to his head and body.

A man, believed to be a consular officer, was filmed lying on the ground and being kicked several times during the scuffle, but Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said Wednesday it had received no reports of other injuries.

In a statement to parliament, Foreign Affairs, Commonwealth and Development Minister Jesse Norman said: “If the police find that there are grounds for prosecuting public officials, the Chinese Consulate will waive their immunity. Expect that. Failure to do so will have diplomatic consequences.”

In response to earlier criticism from lawmakers, Norman said the FCDO summoned China’s acting ambassador on Tuesday.

He also defended Foreign Minister James Cleverley’s decision not to meet China’s acting ambassador in person, saying the last time the ambassador was summoned to a meeting with the foreign minister was after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Stated. of how diplomatic sophistication works. “

MPs said the government’s response was too slow.

Former Conservative Party leader Sir Yin Duncan-Smith told ministers that individuals involved in the assaults would be “immediately made persona non grata and repatriated to China”, regardless of criminal charges. asked to do.

Labor MP Chris Bryant said the time for diplomatic incentives was “long gone” and argued that the Chinese Communist government wouldn’t care about diplomatic incentives.

Mr Bryant said the FCDO should urge the Chinese ambassador to return to the UK to meet with the foreign minister and the consul general should be expelled “tomorrow”. British cityscape. “

Other MPs urged the government to take steps to protect the UK’s Hong Kong community from imminent threats.

According to the Crown Prosecutor’s Office, official consular officials are exempt from criminal liability if their offense warrants less than five years in prison, but consular officials in many countries, including China, are subject to an agreed treaty. You may be subject to an enhanced liability waiver.

Lily Zhou


Lily Zhou is an Ireland-based reporter focusing on UK news. Lily said she attended the Chinese edition of The Epoch Times for the first time before she focused on the UK in 2020.