A Hong Kong protester in the United Kingdom was pulled into the Chinese Consulate grounds in Manchester on Sunday and beaten by the people inside, causing controversy and prompting the British government to ask the Chinese Consulate to respect the right to protest.

The pro-democracy protester, who was among many who were protesting outside the Chinese Consulate, was dragged into the Consulate by unidentified men and beaten up until he was able to escape with the help of the other protesters and the U.K. police, according to BBC.

The people in the Consulate also reportedly went out of their way to destroy the posters and signs that the demonstrations were using that day. This did not dissuade the protesters, who angrily yelled at the British police in the area for not doing more to stop the incident.

“As we tried to stop them, they dragged me inside, they beat me up,” the protester said. “It's ridiculous. They [the attackers] shouldn't have done that. We are supposed to have freedom to say whatever we want here.

“They are like gangsters, you know, doing things like gangsters. It shouldn't be like that. It's not in China you know. This is the UK.”

Britain’s Foreign Office said that they were deeply disturbed by the incident, and has summoned the Chinese representative Charge D'Affaires Yang Xiaoguang to their office to speak about the event, since the Chinese Ambassador to the U.K. was not available, Reuters reported.

“Today we have made our view clear to the Chinese authorities: the right to peaceful protest in the UK must be respected,” Minister at State Zac Goldsmith said.

Many activists and politicians have commented at the disturbing implications of the incident, despite the fact that the Chinese Foreign Ministry themselves have claimed that the protester had entered the Consulate grounds illegally, Al Jazeera reported.

“Disturbing elements illegally entered the Chinese Consulate General in Manchester and endangered the security of Chinese diplomatic premises,” spokesperson Wang Wenbin said. “Diplomatic institutions of any country have the right to take the necessary measures to safeguard the peace and dignity of their premises.

“The CCP will not import their beating of protestors and denial of free speech to British streets,” British Member of Parliament Alicia Kearns said. “Chinese ambassador must be summoned & if any official has beaten protesters, they must be expelled or prosecuted.”

Hong Kong Protest Rep. Picture
A pro-democracy protester in the U.K. was dragged into the Chinese Consulate and beaten up on Sunday, causing anger in the U.K. and prompting the British government to ask for respect for the right to protest. This is a representational image. Vincent Chan/Unsplash.

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