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Chinese students in UK must ‘resist twisting’ China’s Covid policies | China


A senior Chinese diplomat involved in the recent violence against pro-democracy protesters in Manchester has suggested that Chinese students in Britain should “resist misrepresenting and discrediting” China’s Covid policies.

Comments by China’s Consul General in Manchester, Zheng Xiyuan, at a symposium to discuss the work of international students were told by Lyndon Lee, 23, a second-year law student at the York Universityto look threatening.

Zheng was filmed in october pulling the hair of one protester, Bob Chan, who had been dragged into the consulate compound where he was kicked and punched to such an extent that he had to be hospitalized.

An official account of last week’s student symposium, posted on a WeChat social media account used to share information with Chinese people at the university Students and Scholars Association (CSSA), reported that Zheng championed the “remarkable advantages” of the Chinese socialist system.

“Students are urged to fully understand and believe in the great significance of every decision made by the party and government, and to consciously resist the distortion and discredit of China’s epidemic prevention and control policies, so as to win jointly this regular battle of epidemic prevention and control,” the account reports.

Lee said he viewed Zheng’s remarks as an attempt to cool the debate in the UK. He said: “It’s presented as a request, but that’s not how things work in China. It’s threatening. They shouldn’t try to influence the way international students act, their say what to do and what to say Where is the freedom of expression?

There have been protests in recent days from Chinese citizens studying in the UK who wished to show solidarity with those who took to the streets to reject Beijing’s Covid rules.

Protesters had been calling for an end to the restrictions, and their calls seem to have hit home in recent days. There has also been anger directed at the authoritarian government and its leader, Xi Jinping.

Chen Wei, a counselor at the consulate who was also on the scene when Chan was beaten, also addressed the symposium, praising the work of Chinese student societies.

The account reports that Wei “stressed that for a long time, the Consulate CSSAs have helped the Consulate General actively carry out preventive consular propaganda and consular protection, and have done a lot of work to ensure the safety of Chinese students. ”

Lee said the comments provided further evidence that the corporations were being used as tools of the Communist Party. In 2019, the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee highlighted the role of CSSAs as an instrument of political interference.

Greater Manchester Police, who were investigating the situation at the Chinese consulate, said two weeks ago they had identified a number of offenses including assaults and public order offences.

Zheng was seen grabbing a protester outside the consulate by the hair and tearing down posters. He said at the time: “I didn’t beat anyone. I didn’t let my people beat anyone. The fact is that the so-called protesters have beaten my people.

Asked about the footage of him apparently pulling Chan by the hair, Zheng added, “The man has abused my country, my leader – I think it’s my duty. I think it’s an emergency – this guy threatened my colleague’s life and we tried to control the situation. I wanted to separate him from my colleagues, this is a very critical point.

The Chinese Embassy did not respond to a request for comment.


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Post expires at 1:21am on Sunday January 8th, 2023