A UK court has issued an arrest warrant for a Chinese state TV reporter for failing to attend a hearing relating to an incident at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham last year, where she allegedly slapped an attendee in a fit of patriotic fervor during a session on Hong Kong.
CCTV reporter Kong Linlin had been issued a summons to appear at the Birmingham Magistrates’ Court over a charge of common assault for slapping conference-goer Enoch Lieu, the BBC reports. The charges had initially been dropped in November over a lack of evidence, but were later reinstated, and the arrest warrant for Kong was issued when she failed to respond to the summons.
Alleged slap-ee Lieu told HKFP today that he welcomed the warrant.
“I believe this sent a clear message that no one is above the law,” he said. “Failure to attend the hearing shows that she has no respect for the rule of law, a principle that is fundamental to our British way of life.”
The alleged assault took place during a session on “China’s continued suppression of Hong Kong’s human rights” featuring several Hong Kong-based academics and activists.
In Lieu’s telling, as the event finished, Kong began to shout at Benedict Rogers, chairman of the NGO Hong Kong Watch and a rights campaigner who has been outspoken about the suppression of political freedom in Hong Kong.
She accused him of “trying to separate China,” while also saying the rest of the panel were “puppets and fake Chinese”.
“The reporter continued her shouting and whilst I was trying to escort her out, she accused me of trying to silence her. Then I said no miss you have to go. All of a sudden, she slapped me in my face,” Lieu tweeted at the time. As more people attempted to escort her out, he added, “she continued her shouting and refused to leave, then out of the blue again, slapped me again.”
A video of part of the incident appears to capture at least one of the slaps.
In a turn of events that can only be described as pretty fucking rich, Kong pivots from haranguing panelists for defending rights and democracy in Hong Kong to haranguing the people trying to escort her out, and the UK itself, for failing to be sufficiently democratic or respect her rights.
“Ohh, how democratic, UK!” she screams at one point “Leave me alone! I’m here! I have right to protest!…I’d prefer UK had democratic [sic]!”
At the time, the Chinese embassy in London leapt to Kong’s defense, demanding an apology for how she was treated. State broadcaster CGTN, meanwhile, claimed she had been “blocked and assaulted when she raised a question and expressed her opinion.”