A Hong Kong pro-democracy protester was beaten up at the Chinese consulate in Manchester, England, on Sunday afternoon.
In videos of the incident that have recently surfaced online, the victim, who was protesting outside the consulate, can be seen being dragged into its grounds by a group of masked men.
He was reportedly treated overnight at the hospital after sustaining several injuries, including a swollen and bruised head, a sore waist, a bruised neck and a bruised back.
“They dragged me inside, they beat me up,” the man, only identified as Bob, told the BBC. He was one of several members of the pro-democracy group called Hong Kong Indigenous Defence Force who were speaking out against the Chinese Communist Party congress in Beijing.
Bob managed to flee with the assistance of his fellow protestors, as well as the police.
“It’s ridiculous. They [the attackers] shouldn’t have done that. We are supposed to have freedom to say whatever we want here [in the UK],” Bob told the BBC.
He added that people from mainland China, whom he called “mainlanders,” came out of the building to wreck his and his fellow protestors’ posters. The Hong Kong Indigenous Defence Force reportedly claimed that Chinese consular staff members were the ones who attacked Bob.
Manchester’s Chinese consulate has stated that the protestors displayed a satirical portrait of Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to reports. Meanwhile, Greater Manchester Police have launched an investigation into the recent incident.
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In a recent statement, Assistant Chief Constable Rob Potts commented on the incident, saying, “We understand the shock and concern that this incident will have caused not just locally, but for those much further afield who may have connections with our communities here in Greater Manchester. 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.”
“Due to our fears for the safety of the man, officers intervened and removed the victim from the Consulate grounds,” he added. “It is clear what began as a peaceful protest unexpectedly escalated and our officers acted professionally in response to a hostile and dynamic situation to help the victim and ensure he didn’t come to any further harm.”
Earlier this week, British lawmakers reacted on social media, with some calling on Zheng Zeguang, the Chinese ambassador to the U.K., to address the incident.
On Sunday, Alicia Kearns, chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, alleged that the Chinese consul general had “full sight, and quite possibly was involved, in the assaults.”
“Chinese Ambassador should be summoned & if any official has beaten protesters, they must be expelled or prosecuted,” her tweets read in part.
On Monday, former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith also took to Twitter, declaring that the assailants should be sent to China.
“The UK Government must demand a full apology from the Chinese Ambassador to the UK and demand those responsible are sent home to China,” Smith tweeted.
On the same day, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said during a regular news briefing that the U.K.’s Chinese embassy and consulates “have always abided by the laws of the countries where they are stationed.”
“We also hope that the British side, in accordance with the provisions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, will facilitate the normal performance of the duties of the Chinese Embassy and consulates in the U.K.,” he added.
The investigation into the recent incident is still ongoing. The police have yet to make any arrests as of this writing.