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NEWSLETTER: Chinese Consul-General attacks peaceful Hong Kong protestor in Manchester

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

Committee News

The Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong (CFHK) Foundation has joined 19 Hong Kong advocacy groups in signing a joint letter.The lettercalls on US government officials to take action regarding the attendance of executives from major US financial firms at a summit in Hong Kong on the 1st and 2nd of November where they will meet, strategize, and socialize with individuals sanctioned by the US Government for human rights abuses in Hong Kong.

CFHK Foundation’s Washington Director, Olivia Enos, shared her insights in Forbes on the attack which happened at the Chinese Consulate in Manchester, UK this week. Enos wrote, “despite scrupulous attempts to keep the international community from interfering in its own so-called international affairs, the CCP is regularly preoccupied with interfering with – and in this case, undermining the rights of – citizens of other countries.”

Chinese Consulate, Manchester

A Hong Kong pro-democracy protestor was pulled into the Chinese consulate and beaten up whilst peacefully protesting in Manchester. During an interview with the BBC, Bob Chan said, “They dragged me inside, they beat me up.” After the incident, the crowd remained outside the Consulate grounds, with protestors shouting at those on the other side of the fence and the Greater Manchester police who helped break up the attack.

Commenting on the incident in The Times, CFHK Foundation President Mark Clifford said: “The attacks in Manchester show the reach of the Chinese Communist Party and that it will stop at nothing to silence those who oppose the regime. An assault on protestors is an assault on democracy and the UK Government and the Greater Manchester police must respond accordingly.”

The attacks happened in Manchester, however as CFHK Foundation President Mark Clifford said to Jane Bradley from The Scotsman, “This could have been Edinburgh and if real action isn’t taken, it will be.” He continued by stating “This will be normalised, just like the more subterranean pattern of harassment I think has been normalised because you don’t see it. If this serves as a wake-up call to the British public and to the global public, then, despite the fact it is an horrific incident, I think it might serve as a good purpose.”

On Wednesday 19th October, three days after the attack, Bob Chan attended a press conference held by the Centre for Social Justice. Speakers Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP, Lord Alton of Liverpool, Afzal Khan MP, and Benedict Rogers from Hong Kong Watch, called the Government’s reaction “wholly inadequate” and called on the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to see the removal of “CCP thugs.”

Following the press conference, Consul-General Zheng Xiyuan attempted to justify his heinous behaviour in attacking Bob Chan during the peaceful protest outside the Chinese Consulate in Manchester. Speaking to Sky News, he said he was there “peacefully” before going on to admit to pulling Chan’s hair stating it was his “duty” as Chan had “abused his country and his leader.”

Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s High Court this week rejected Jimmy Lai’s appeal against a legal bid to block a national security search warrant to search journalistic materials stored on his phone, reported the Hong Kong Free Press. Three judges ruled that “despite its importance to the freedom of the press, the protection afforded to journalistic material is not absolute.”

In his first policy address as Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, John Lee emphasized the maintenance of national security and social order after a period of “chaos.”Al Jazeera reported that Lee unveiled big plans to attract new enterprises and world-class talent to Hong Kong, with his speech focusing on reviving the city’s credentials as an international business hub.

Doughty Street Chambers are hosting an event, ‘Democracy and Free Speech in Hong Kong: The Case of Jimmy Lai and Apple Daily,’ on Monday 24th of October from 12:15 – 14:00 in the House of Lords. The event will be hosted by Baroness Helena Kennedy and Chaired by John Simpson and will feature Lord Patten of Barnes, Caoilfhionn Gallagher and Rebecca Vincent as speakers. To attend, RSVP here.


EU Foreign Affairs Chief Josep Borrell has said the bloc now views economic and political competition with China as having eclipsed all aspects of bilateral ties with them, reported the South China Morning Post. It comes as the EU was urged to “toughen up” its attitude towards China. Speaking after the EU’s 27 foreign ministers met in Luxembourg on Monday to discuss China for the first time this year, he said that growing competition was outstripping the partnership and “systemic rivalry” elements of the relationship that Brussels policy had codified in 2019.

Chinese President Xi Jinping declared this week, at the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, that China will never drop the option to take Taiwan by force. The Times reported that Xi said China would use “maximum efforts” for a peaceful resolution but promised to take “all necessary measures.” During the same speech, Xi claimed that China had achieved comprehensive control over Hong Kong and had turned it from chaos to governance.

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