Clash at the Consulate General of China, Manchester

On 16 October 2022 – the day of the opening of the 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party – a clash broke out at the Chinese consulate in Manchester, England, between United Kingdom-based Hong Kong pro-democracy activists and members of the PRC consulate general.[1]

Clash at the Consulate General of China, Manchester
Date16 October 2022
Caused by


  • Consul General Zheng Xiyuan
  • Consul Gao Lianjia
  • Counsellor Chen Wei
  • Deputy Consul Fan Yingjie
  • Consulate staff

Incident edit

The clash started when consulate members, including the consul general Zheng Xiyuan[2] and staff who wore protective gear,[3] attempted to take down protest signs that were being used as part of a demonstration against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) which was being held in the immediate vicinity of the consulate general.[4][1] During the course of the melee, a protester named Bob Chan[5] was pulled into consulate grounds and physically assaulted before he was pulled back out with the help of Greater Manchester Police and other protesters.[4] At least four Chinese officials were involved in the incident including Consul General Zheng Xiyuan, Consul Gao Lianjia, Counsellor Chen Wei, and Deputy Consul Fan Yingjie.[6][7] According to the PRC, Chinese officials were acting in self-defense as the protesters illegally entered and endangered the security of the premises of the consulate general,[4] but this account of the situation was contradicted by Manchester police[8] and video footage of the incident.[9]

Reaction edit

The clashes were decried as an attack on protesters exercising their right of protest and drew cross-party condemnation.[10][1] On 18 October Prime Minister Liz Truss expressed "deep concerns" about the incident.[11] and Britain summoned a senior Chinese diplomat to demand an explanation. Local police said on 19 October that its "complex and sensitive inquiry" would take time.[5] Alicia Kearns, a lawmaker, said that Consul General Zheng "had full sight, and was quite possibly involved, in the assaults."[12] Kearns also said that Zheng was at the scene and was there "ripping down posters" that the protesters had set up.[13] Zheng said that he was present during the clash, but was not involved.[14] This was later contradicted by remarks he gave in an interview with Sky News, where Zheng said it was his "duty" to pull Chan’s hair and drag him into the consulate grounds as he had "abused" China and its leader.[15][2][5]

A spokesman for the Chinese consulate said that the protesters had "hung an insulting portrait of the Chinese president at the main entrance" and that "This would be intolerable and unacceptable for any diplomatic and consular missions of any country."[11] An article in the Hong Kong Free Press noted that “Pro-Beijing protesters have often wielded effigies of foreign leaders at overseas consulates in Hong Kong.”[10]

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin claimed that "the troublemakers illegally entered the Chinese Consulate-General in Manchester, endangering the security of the premises", and urged the United Kingdom to "earnestly fulfil its duties and take effective measures to step up protection of the premises and personnel of the Chinese embassy and consulates".[16]

On 20 October, Jesse Norman (the British Foreign Office Minister) informed parliament that "we would expect the Chinese consulate to waive immunity for (any Chinese officials charged by the police). If they do not, then diplomatic consequences will follow."[17] On 14 December, six Chinese officials were recalled back to China including the consul-general of the Manchester consulate Zheng Xiyuan. This came in response to the expiration of a deadline Greater Manchester Police had set for the officials to waive their diplomatic immunity and appear for questioning in relation to the case. British foreign secretary James Cleverly said that while he was disappointed that the officials would not be interviewed, he was nonetheless satisfied that they would no longer be operating on British soil.[18]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b c "UK police probe assault of protester at Chinese consulate". Associated Press. Video on the BBC website showed a scuffle breaking out in front of the consulate after masked men tore down and took away the protesters' placards. The video appeared to show several men wearing face masks beating up someone who had been pushed to the ground amid the scuffles.
  2. ^ a b Ho, Kelly (October 20, 2022). "'It's my duty' to react, says Chinese consul-general in Manchester seen pulling protester's hair". Hong Kong Free Press. Retrieved October 20, 2022.
  3. ^ "British police probe beating of protester on China consulate grounds". Reuters. 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 one man and dragged him into the grounds.
  4. ^ a b c "UK tells Chinese envoy that peaceful protest must be respected". Reuters. The incident was triggered when several men came out of the consulate to take down protest banners, including one with the slogan: "Heaven will destroy the Chinese Communist Party", and a caricature of Xi wearing a crown.
  5. ^ a b c Yeung, Jessie (October 20, 2022). "Chinese diplomat says pulling hair of Hong Kong protester was his 'duty'". CNN. Retrieved October 21, 2022.
  6. ^ Ellery, Ben. "Named, Chinese envoys who 'attacked consulate protester' in Manchester". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved November 2, 2022.
  7. ^ "Photo identifies Chinese diplomats who allegedly assaulted Hong Kong protestor". Taiwan News. October 18, 2022. Retrieved November 2, 2022.
  8. ^ "British police probe beating of protester on China consulate grounds". Reuters. Greater Manchester Police said about 30 to 40 people were gathered outside the Chinese Consulate. "Shortly before 4 p.m. a small group of men came out of the building and a man was dragged into the Consulate grounds and assaulted," a police statement said. "Due to our fears for the safety of the man, officers intervened and removed the victim from the Consulate grounds."
  9. ^ "British police probe beating of protester on China consulate grounds". Reuters. 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. One silver-haired man in a blue beret, glasses and scarf could also be seen grabbing the man's hair before police entered the consulate grounds and pulled the man out. 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 one man and dragged him into the grounds.
  10. ^ a b "UK lawmakers want investigation after Hong Kong protester beaten up at Manchester's Chinese consulate". Hong Kong Free Press.
  11. ^ a b "UK leader 'concerned' after Hong Kong activist apparently beaten at Chinese mission". South China Morning Post. October 18, 2022. Retrieved October 17, 2022.
  12. ^ "John Lee says UK should deal with assault of Hong Kong protester in line with local laws". The Standard (Hong Kong). Retrieved October 18, 2022.
  13. ^ "China lodges formal complaint with Britain over clash at consulate in Manchester". Hong Kong Free Press. October 19, 2022. Retrieved October 19, 2022.
  14. ^ Kwai, Isabella (October 19, 2022). "In Britain, Outcry Grows After Protester Is Beaten at Chinese Consulate". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 19, 2022.
  15. ^ China Consul-General: 'It was my 'duty' to pull protester's hair, retrieved October 20, 2022
  16. ^ "Protesters 'illegally entered' Chinese consulate in Manchester, Beijing says". Hong Kong Free Press. October 18, 2022. Retrieved October 18, 2022.
  17. ^ "I was dragged into China consulate, protester Bob Chan says". BBC News. October 20, 2022. Retrieved October 21, 2022.
  18. ^ "China diplomats leave UK over Manchester protester attack". December 14, 2022. Retrieved December 14, 2022.

External links edit