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Chinese diplomats leaves UK over Manchester protester attack

Chinese diplomats leaves UK over Manchester protester attack

Chinese diplomats leaves UK over Manchester protester attack

Chinese diplomats leaves UK over Manchester protester attack

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  • China expelled six British officials, including a top diplomat.
  • UK urged them to forgo immunity to discuss embassy violence with police.
  • China’s foreign secretary dismayed that none of the six will now face charges.
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Two months after the violence at its Manchester consulate, China has expelled six officials from Britain, among them one of its most senior UK diplomats.

In order to speak with police about the event in October, the UK had asked the officials to forego their right to diplomatic immunity.

James Clever, the foreign secretary, expressed dismay that none of the six will now face charges. Zheng Xiyuan, the consul general, was among the group and denied hitting a demonstrator.

Bob Chan, a Hongkonger participating in a pro-democracy demonstration, was hurt on October 16 after being pulled onto the grounds of the consulate and assaulted by thugs.

After being recognized in photos and accused of hitting Mr. Chan by a senior Conservative MP, Mr. Zheng, who was in command of China’s outpost in Manchester, denied doing so.

But he later told reporters he had been trying to protect his colleagues, adding that Mr Chan was “abusing my country, my leader. I think it’s my duty”.

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The withdrawal of the diplomats is interpreted as an effort by China to defuse the situation and stop additional tit-for-tat exchanges with the UK.

UK officials made it clear that the Chinese embassy in London was fully aware that there would be more implications if the ambassadors refused to cooperate with the police inquiry.

The men were presumably declared persona non grata and expulsed from the UK as part of this.

China instead decided to recall the ambassadors themselves to prevent that scenario.

According to Mr. Cleverly, China’s dismissal of Mr. Zheng and five other officials is evidence of how seriously the UK has handled the situation.

“We will continue on the world stage and domestically to abide by the rule of law and we expect others to do likewise,” he said.

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He added in a written statement to the House of Commons: “I am disappointed that these individuals will not be interviewed or face justice.

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

By this week, the UK government had informed China that the six officials had to renounce their claim to diplomatic immunity, a privilege only accorded to foreign diplomats.

According to Mr. Cleverly, the Greater Manchester Police had requested it.

In response to the departing authorities, Mr. Chan stated: “It has been two months since I was assaulted in Manchester by Chinese Consulate employees.

“Today, I hear that some members from that Consulate have been sent back to China. While it may have taken two months for this to happen, I believe this is one way of solving this complicated diplomatic problem.

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“I relocated to this country with my family to live freely. What happened on 16 October 2022 was unacceptable and illegal, and the withdrawal of these Chinese diplomats gives me a sense of closure.”

According to theory, officials and their families are not subject to criminal or civil proceedings or arrest.

China had initially asserted that there had been efforts to break into the consulate’s property without authorization.

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