China has removed six officials from Britain who police wanted to question over the treatment of a man who said he was kicked and punched while protesting outside the Chinese consulate in Manchester, British foreign minister James Cleverly has said.
Mr Cleverly said the removal of the officials, including the consul general in Manchester, came after a police request to interview them over the incident.
“I am disappointed that these individuals will not be interviewed or face justice,” Mr Cleverly said.
“Nonetheless, it is right that those responsible for the disgraceful scenes in Manchester are no longer – or will shortly cease to be – consular staff accredited to the UK.”
The Chinese embassy hit back, saying Britain had failed to protect its staff, adding it launched its own representations with Britain over the incident.
It said the consul general had returned to China under a “normal rotation of Chinese consular officials”.
Police had been investigating the alleged assault on a protester who was beaten by several men after being dragged inside the grounds of the consulate in northwest England during a demonstration against President Xi Jinping.
“Images carried on social media showed what appeared to be completely unacceptable behaviour by a number of individuals near the entrance to the consular premises,” Mr Cleverly said.