Home Cartoon shows Manchester Consulate attack shows how China is flexing its muscles overseas | Nathan’s Law

Manchester Consulate attack shows how China is flexing its muscles overseas | Nathan’s Law


I can’t help but imagine what would happen if I was taken to a Chinese embassy. Would I be detained in a small darkened room? Extradited to mainland China and forced to confess on state television? Or disappeared forever, like certain dissidents in other embassies of autocracies?

I have to understand this week that, for dissidents in Hong Kong, Britain may not be as safe as we hope.

Last Sunday, 2,296 delegates gathered in Beijing to launch the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of China (CCP). It is the most important gathering in the country and the top leaders present the result of predetermined political orientations. Beijing saw it as a festive event, but that’s not what the rest of the world perceived.

In Manchester, a group of Hong Kong protesters gathered outside the Chinese consulate. They displayed a caricature of Xi Jinping, the leader of China who is expected to stay in power for another five years, in which he was depicted as in the emperor’s new clothes, wearing only pants and a crown. Images of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Ukraine covered in blood are held in his hand. The banners read “End the CCP.”

Protesters expected their freedom to demonstrate would be protected on British soil, but the situation became tense when consulate staff came out with motorcycle helmets and vandalized the signs.

During my years of activism, I have been imprisoned, endured mob violence by pro-CCP thugs in Hong Kong, and been put on the list with a bounty for my whereabouts in the UK to threaten my safety. But being brought into the embassy, ​​which is basically People’s Republic of China (PRC) territory and they can do anything to you without the outside world knowing, is way too risky for any of us.

Protester assaulted over Chinese consulate in Manchester – video report

After the incident, a protester known as Bob was hospitalized, having sustained head, face, neck, back and waist injuries. He was lucky that after being surrounded by several PRC consulate staff and briefly beaten, the police managed to pull him out of the scuffle and out of the consulate area. Yet this attack left a scar in the Hong Kong community.

Many in the UK have overlooked the influx of Hong Kongers and their impact on the country. There have already been over 140,000 applications in the first 18 months since the launch of the UK National (Overseas) visa in early 2021. It is estimated that there will be 300-400,000 Hong Kongers moving to the UK United during the first five years of the visa regime, mainly due to the city’s political deterioration.

They fled Hong Kong for a supposedly safe haven where they are no longer threatened by the CCP’s long arms, but now it looks like they might face the same nightmare again here.

The extraterritorial persecution carried out by the Chinese authorities here is not only a matter of diplomatic and foreign policy, but also a domestic issue that affects the sense of security of freedom-loving Hong Kongers in this country.

This issue needs to be addressed appropriately and urgently in order to ease tensions within the community. The machinery of government began to roll: Greater Manchester Police said an investigation into the incident had begun; a spokeswoman for the prime minister, Liz Truss, expressed “deep concern” over the incident.

In response, the Chinese Embassy claims that a “small group of independent Hong Kong activists…has hung an insulting portrait of the Chinese president at the main entrance.” I do not consider the publication of a satirical cartoon of a dictator an “insult”. While this bothers Chinese diplomats, it does not give them the right to destroy protesters’ private property and physically abuse them.

If the involvement of consulate staff is confirmed, they should be immediately expelled from the UK, if prosecution is not possible due to their diplomatic impunity. China’s ambassador to the UK, Zheng Zeguang, should be summoned and criticized for this barbaric behavior.

Such actions must be taken to maintain Hong Kongers’ trust in the system that should protect them from persecution by the Chinese autocracy. Otherwise, all forms of “welcome” programs and devices are empty because Hongkongers will always live in fear.

  • Nathan Law is a politician and activist in Hong Kong, and was the leader of Demosistō from 2016 to 2018

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