A Hong Kong pro-democracy protester was stormed inside the Chinese Consulate in Manchester on Sunday and was beaten.
Unidentified assailants exited the consulate and forced a man into the compound before escaping with the help of police and other protesters.
“They dragged me inside and beat me,” the protester told the BBC.
A consulate spokesman said the protesters displayed an insulting image of the Chinese president.
The Foreign Ministry said it was urgently seeking to clarify the incident. Greater Manchester Police have launched an investigation.
Speaking after the incident, protester Bob told BBC China’s BBC that “mainland residents” – people from mainland China, unlike Hong Kong – came out of the consulate and destroyed their posters.
“While we were trying to stop them, they dragged me inside and beat me,” he said, adding that UK police then pulled him out.
“It’s ridiculous [the attackers] You shouldn’t do that. We’re supposed to be free to say whatever we want here [in the UK]. “
After the incident, the crowd remained angry. Protesters shouted at consulate men and British police, saying they could have done more.
Consulate staff had previously asked protesters to move to the other side of the street.
There were two police officers at the demonstration, but several others showed up within minutes of the brawl began.
They gathered at the gates of the complex in an attempt to break up the fighting and bring back the demonstrators.
A police officer entered the grounds of the Consulate and pulled the man who had been dragged inside outside.
Then at least eight men – some wearing helmets and protective suits – returned to the consulate building.
The Consulate is located on the territory of the United Kingdom, but it is not possible to enter it without consent.
In response to Twitter, former Conservative Party leader Ian Duncan Smith said the UK government should demand a full apology from the Chinese ambassador, and that those involved should be returned to China.
Protests outside embassies and consulates in Britain often involve some squabbling. The police are often on hand to keep the peace.
But consular staff rarely take to the street to take down signs and posters. Demonstrators are rarely dragged through the gates and apparently beaten.
It is therefore not surprising that there have been increasing calls for the Secretary of State, James Cleverly, to summon China’s ambassador to Britain for an explanation. Labour’s foreign affairs spokesman, David Lammy, said the alleged attack was unacceptable. “The suppression of peaceful protest will not be tolerated on our streets,” he said.
The police and the Home Office will first investigate and determine what action, if any, should be taken from a criminal justice standpoint. As for the State Department, it will have to decide whether to provide any diplomatic response.
Britain, of course, is a signatory to the Vienna Convention, which grants some diplomatic immunity to consular employees and their property. But diplomats and their staff are still covered by UK law and can be considered persona non grata by the British government.
The demonstrators were protesting that The ruling Communist Party congress began in Beijing.
President Xi Jinping, Who is set to secure a third term in powerHe said he had shifted the situation in Hong Kong from “chaos to governance,” a reference to China’s crackdown on pro-democracy protests there.
A consulate spokesman said the protesters “hanged an insulting picture of the Chinese president at the main entrance.”
“This would be unacceptable and unacceptable to any diplomatic or consular missions of any country. Therefore, we condemn this regrettable act with strong indignation and resolute opposition,” the spokesman added.
A Greater Manchester Police spokesperson is aware of the incident.
They added that “the officers attended and responded immediately to calm the situation.”
“Investigations are underway at this time to fully understand the circumstances.”
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