British police should end Manchester Chinese consulate attack investigation: Simon Cheng

Pro-democracy activist Simon Cheng said British police should close an investigation into the beating of a Hong Kong protester by Chinese diplomats last year.

Speaking at the NTD’s ‘British Thought Leaders’ programme, Cheng said that would not be the case. send the “wrong signal” To British society, Chinese diplomats are above the law.

A peaceful protest staged by Hong Kong activists outside the Chinese Consulate General in Manchester on 16 October 2022 saw then-Consul General Zheng Xiyuan and a group of masked men leave the consulate. A caricature of Chinese leader Xi Jinping as an undressed emperor.

Protester Bob Chan, who was holding the banner at the time, suffered minor injuries after being dragged onto the consulate grounds and beaten by consulate staff.

Epoch Times photo
On October 16, 2022, Hong Kongers holding a rally outside the Chinese Consulate in Manchester, England were dragged into the consulate and beaten by staff. (Screenshot by Hong Kong Indigenous Defense Force)

Footage circulating online appeared to show consular officials being kicked by protesters, but no other injuries were reported to Greater Manchester Police (GMP).

But Beijing recalled six diplomats, including Zheng, after the British Foreign Office waived their diplomatic immunity to the Chinese embassy and requested that GMP officials interview them.

Mr Cheng, a former employee of the British consulate in Hong Kong, said it was “unacceptable” that diplomats from a “dictatorial” and seemingly “powerful” country could break the law.

Those involved now have diplomatic immunity, but if British police continue their investigation with video evidence, they may be extradited if they travel out of China as private individuals in the future. At least not “inconvenience them” for the rest of their lives.

In an email to The Epoch Times, GMP confirmed the investigation was still ongoing but did not provide further comment.

Cheng said the Manchester incident was a “golden example” of how far the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) could go.

Mr Cheng, who participated in the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, was detained and beaten in mainland China, and has helped many Hong Kong dissidents, said Mr Cheng, “Manchester’s top diplomat”, “doesn’t need”. “It exceeded our expectations,” he said. He goes through the party to do the dirty work and gets personally involved in beating protesters “on British soil without legal consequences.”

In an interview with Sky News three days after the incident, Zheng admitted pulling Chan’s hair, saying it was his “duty” to do so because the protesters insulted his country and his leader. said.

“It’s a totalitarian term,” Chen said.

Chinese Communist Party Threats

In August 2019, Chen was detained for 15 days while on a business trip to mainland China. He later said he was forced to confess to “betraying his country” and “seeking prostitution”. He also spoke about being beaten by Chinese security personnel and questioned him about his role in the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong and whether the British government was involved.

After being released, Cheng first went to Taiwan and soon headed to London after feeling that he was being pursued.

right after he spoke the epoch And among many London media outlets, Zheng sensed threats to his family from a phone call with his mother, prompting him to publicly cut ties with them.

In 2021, a message was posted on a Chinese social media group offering £10,000 in exchange for Chen’s address or that of former Hong Kong democracy lawmaker Nathan Lo, who is in exile in the UK.

And they weren’t the only targets.

The same Wechat group had messages asking members to invite “fightable” friends, and others advising members to target “leading figures” in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement.

In June 2020, another prominent British Hong Kong activist, Finn Lau, was seriously injured after being attacked by three people near his London home.

Mr. Cheng told NTD that he still has the feeling that he is being tracked and that “someday he could be physically attacked.” [a] Chinese Communist Party operatives, it’s only a matter of time.”

Part of it may be paranoia, he said, adding that “even paranoia is justifiable.”

“It’s a really short moment when you decide to tell the truth. It’s a life-changing event, a journey of a lifetime,” he said, adding, “I need to learn how to live with this risk.”

british hong kong

After Beijing imposed a national security law on Hong Kong, effectively ending the rule of law in the former British colonies and dismantling the “one country, two systems” framework, the United Kingdom will establish a national security law in Hong Kong for British nationals (overseas). Launched a special visa program, Kong emigrated to England.

Chen founded the charity Hongkongers in the UK. The organization helps new arrivals settle into their new homes by organizing events related to jobs, accommodation and recreational activities.

Cheng said that apart from helping Hong Kong people in their daily lives, his organization also helps centralize pro-democracy voices.

National security laws cover everywhere, including foreigners.

In March 2022, Conservative Human Rights Commission co-founder and Epoch Times contributor Benedict Rogers was fined $13,000 and sentenced to life in prison unless: I received a letter threatening to impose. He has shut down the website of the human rights group he co-founded, Hong Kong Watch.

Epoch Times photo
In the photo, Benedict Rogers, CEO of Hong Kong Watch, and Matthew Leung, former reporter for Ming Pao, a Chinese-language newspaper in Hong Kong, at a press conference held in the UK by Hong Kong Watch. Hong Kong Watch Facebook page)

Cheng said many Hong Kongers in the UK still don’t dare to protest or criticize the CCP because of sweeping national security laws.

“So if we’re mentally afraid, the National Security Act is already here.”

Mr Cheng said that while there are other groups in the UK that can help Chinese immigrants, those with the CCP’s United Front Work Department behind them “will pretend”. [to be] While trying to “dissolve or weaken all kinds of anti-Chinese Communist Party sentiments and powers.”

That’s where his charity comes in.

With many pro-democracy activists imprisoned in Hong Kong, “we owe it to them to tell more about the true story of Hong Kong,” he said, adding that community engagement was “very effective,” politician.

He also said the British Hong Kong community is a reminder of what the Communist regime can do to free society.

“We are trying to expose influence activities, underground activities, infiltration here,” he said. “We have witnessed, step by step, how society can be dominated by the Chinese Communist Party layer by layer.

When asked about Hong Kong’s future, Chen said he was optimistic.

“If you’re going down enough and you’re going up. So I’m optimistic. I believe in the rest of my life, I still have a chance.” [go] I will return to my hometown without fear,” he said, adding that his optimism came from the spirit displayed by Hong Kongers.

“Every time the people of Hong Kong decided to take to the streets to protest, we didn’t think much about calculating benefits or pros and cons. am.”