Beijing urges swift British response to burning of Chinese flag, Hong Kong pro-independence chants outside its London embassy
Beijing’s diplomatic mission in London has urged the British authorities to deliver swift justice against a group of protesters who burned the Chinese flag, chanted for Hong Kong independence and were accused of vandalism outside its embassy in the English capital.
Envoys also called for Britain to improve protections for the embassy in Marylebone, where about 10 black-clad and masked protesters gathered on Thursday afternoon, China’s National Day, according to Hong Kong media reports.
The protesters were said to have trampled on and burned several five-starred red flags, while some threw unknown liquid on, and attached anti-China posters to, the embassy’s metal gate, which was allegedly kicked and beaten with wooden sticks.
They also reportedly chanted slogans such as “Hong Kong independence, the only way” and “Liberate Hong Kong; revolution of our times”, while singing Glory to Hong Kong, the de facto anthem of last year’s anti-government protests in the city.
Three police officers arrived at the embassy only after the protesters left.
In a statement, the embassy said the demonstration had violated China’s national flag legislation and Hong Kong’s national security law, which criminalises acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces, and was drafted to cover offences committed outside the Asian financial hub.
“A dozen ‘Hong Kong independence’ rioters set fire to the national flag of China, assaulted the main gate of the embassy building and put up ‘Hong Kong independence’ slogans on the gate,” a spokesman said, describing the demonstration as “blatant, flagrant and abominable acts of vandalising and insult”.
“Their actions amounted to grave desecration of the dignity of the country and the nation, and … challenge to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China and threat to the security and safety of the premises and staff of the Chinese embassy,” he said.
The spokesman added: “These acts fully reveal the ugly nature of ‘Hong Kong independence’ elements as violent perpetrators and their true agenda of disrupting China and destabilising Hong Kong.”
The Chinese embassy said it had lodged solemn representation to the British police and its foreign office, urging the authorities there to investigate and “bring the perpetrators to justice at an early date”.
“The Chinese embassy in the UK also urges the UK side to take concrete measures to fulfil its responsibilities … as the receiving state [and] safeguard the inviolability of diplomatic and consular missions.”
The diplomatic mission further urged the British government to ensure the security, safety and dignity at its consulates in Manchester, Edinburgh and Belfast, as well as the embassy in west London.
The Post has approached the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, as well as London’s Metropolitan Police, for comment.