Kong Linlin, the London-based Chinese journalist from China’s state-owned broadcasting network CCTV, has been charged with assault after she allegedly slapped one of the Conservative Party members at the annual conference in late September.
West Midland Police officially confirmed to Hong Kong Free Press that Kong, who is from Kings Cross, London, United Kingdom was charged and is scheduled to appear at the Birmingham Magistrates Court on November 7.
The incident happened during the event, which was titled “The Erosion of Freedom, the Rule of Law and Autonomy in Hong Kong,” on September 30. It was co-hosted by UK’s Conservative Party Human Rights Commission along with London-based Non-Government Organization Hong Kong Watch in Birmingham.
In the gathering, the 48-year-old CCTV journalist had reportedly gone berserk and shouted as Hong Kong Watch founder, Benedict Rogers, spoke on stage. She also called panelists several names including “puppets,” “fake Chinese,” and “traitors,” according to Shanghaiist.
Enoch Liue, a Hong Kong-born graduate of Keele University and volunteer at the event, claimed that he was slapped twice in the face by Kong, but the only video that surfaced from the encounter was when the female journalist hit the man’s hand.
First day of #CPC18, managed to get slapped in the face twice, literally. I was helping in @CPHumanRights and @hk_watch fringe event on Hong Kong, a reporter from Chinese state-owned #CCTV shouted from her seat. When I asked her to leave, she refused and assaulted me pic.twitter.com/8BWi4hDfgU
— Enoch Lieu (@enochcafe) September 30, 2018
As the tension continues to escalate, attendees and security at the event decided to escort Kong out of the premise. She was arrested by West Midland Police after being escorted out and was charged with assault, but she was released the following day.
It is still unclear if Beijing will stand by her side in this case, considering how her network stood by her side during the initial arrest and stated that the female journalist was “blocked and assaulted” as she was trying to express her opinion.
“The organizer of event must apologize to our journalist, and the UK police should protect her legitimate rights,” a spokesperson from the state-owned network said, as quoted by CGTN.
The Chinese Embassy in London also stood by her side in its statement, calling the whole incident “completely unacceptable” and that the organizer of the event should apologize to Kong, who some people proclaim to be “modern-day Mulan.”
Featured image screenshot via Facebook / Hong Kong Watch