The recent arrest of a Chinese state TV journalist on suspicion of assault on the fringes of a U.K. political event highlights Beijing's expectation that its journalists act as a "shining sword" for the ruling Chinese Communist Party, analysts said on Tuesday.
British police released a journalist with the Chinese state broadcaster CCTV without charge late on Monday after she was accused of slapping a volunteer during a fringe event of the ruling Conservative Party conference in Birmingham.
A video of the incident posted by the rights group Hong Kong Watch showed CCTV reporter Kong Linlin hitting the hand of party member and conference volunteer Enoch Lieu as he repeatedly put his hand on her upper arm, prodding her and ordering her to leave.
Lieu and Benedict Rogers, who chairs the Conservative Party human rights committee and Hong Kong Watch, which hosted the discussion of human rights and the erosion of freedom of speech in Hong Kong, said Kong had also slapped Lieu in the face before the video began.
Kong was then restrained by another volunteer before being arrested on suspicion of assault by Birmingham police, prompting a diplomatic protest from China. She was later released without charge "after diplomatic pressure," CCTV said in a statement.
The incident began when Kong stood up towards the end of the panel discussion and shouted at Rogers, who was refused entry to Hong Kong last year, likely at Beijing's behest, calling him a liar for claiming to be "pro-China."
"You are a liar. You are anti-China. You want to separate China. And you are not even Chinese. The rest are all traitors!" Kong, who had an accredited press pass for the event, shouted, according to an account posted on the Hong Kong Watch website.
A spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in London called on the event organizers to apologize to Kong, adding that the Chinese Communist Party strongly objected to the content of the panel, which included pro-democracy politicians Nathan Law, Martin Lee, and Hong Kong University law lecturer Benny Tai, one of the founders of the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement, who has been lambasted by the pro-China press for discussing the concept of independence for the city in public.
"The fringe event of the Human Rights Committee of UK Conservative Party during the Party's annual conference boosted the arrogance of the anti-China separatists," the Chinese Embassy spokesman said. "It was a cause for grave concern and strong objection."
"China firmly opposes interference in Hong Kong's internal affairs by anyone or any organization in any form," he said.
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