By Steve Pomper
British Police Officer rescues a pro-democracy protester from violent Chinese Consulate officials (Screenshot via Hong Kong Indigenous Defense Force)
So, today, I thought we might wander a bit off the beaten path. In this case, across the pond to see what’s up with our fellow travelers in the United Kingdom where an officer’s uncommon and courageous actions caught my attention.
Before Americans ever take for granted our tradition of the rule of law (which is teetering in some places, today), we may need to pay attention to countries that don’t have such a sociocultural tradition, so it doesn’t happen here. And we should be aware of any nefarious nations that gain prominence (or God-forbid, preeminence) in the world. Especially when they take advantage of Western democratic freedoms.
Even though this incident took place in the U.K., there are lessons for U.S. cops. After all, British and U.S. laws and police traditions are kin, derived from the same sources. English Common Law, and the development of the modern police force, including in America, by Englishman Sir Robert Peel, connect American cops with their British brother and sister cops.
This story is about continued and increasing lawlessness and disrespect by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for the U.K. and by extension the U.S. through the two nations’ common commitment to the rule of law.
I’d also like to recognize a Brit cop for not just standing by as Chinese Consulate bullies dragged an anti-communist, pro-democracy protester from British soil (public sidewalk) onto Chinese soil (consulate grounds) where, as video footage shows men, police reported came out of the consulate, assaulting him. Police later said the victim is originally from Hong Kong but now resides in England.
Last year the NPA covered the CCP establishing covert police stations abroad, including in the U.S. I wrote, “I was at my local coffee shop, chatting with a local cop buddy, when I mentioned a story I’d read about China setting up local police stations in foreign countries—including the United States. His look of disbelief told me I should at least get this on cop’s and supporters’ radar screens.”
The previous article and this one demonstrates the CCP’s astounding lack of respect for other nations’ sovereignty, laws, and law enforcers. I also wrote, “According to FOX News, China operates some ‘54 [police] stations in 30 different countries.’ An international human rights group is concerned about ‘the potential human rights abuses associated with the stations, including using harassment and intimidation methods, such as threatening the family members of the overseas citizens.’”
Regarding the British police officer’s actions, I mentioned up top, I thought it could be valuable for American cops to be aware. Back when I was still on the job, I used to go through various scenarios in my mind. Most cops do this. When I was an FTO, I encouraged my student officers to do the same. No cop will face every scenario, so developing what I called a Rolodex in my head of possible incidents made it so at least some response would be available rather than a blank, which can cause hesitation.
According to The Epoch Times, Last October, the Bobbies were monitoring a Hong Kong pro-democracy protest at the gates of the Chinese Consulate in Manchester, England. At one point, consulate officials outside the gates, on British soil, snatched a protester and dragged him inside consulate grounds (technically Chinese soil) obviously in violation of international and diplomatic norms.
In witness’s video, you can see a British cop grab onto the person, trying to prevent the officials from dragging him through the gate into the consulate grounds. Several other officers joined him to assist. However, a few moments later, the camera angle changes, and shows the Chinese Consulate officials had dragged the man onto the premises where several men were beating him.
This is when that British cop likely tweaked all kinds of international protocols. He followed his police instincts after the Chinese officials had apparently pulled the man from his grip, and ran further onto the consulate grounds. He ventured at least 10 feet inside the gate to rescue the man it appeared the Chinese officials were still beating. The video ends as the officer is still attempting to pull the victim away from the CCP officials.
However, the officer, with the assistance of fellow cops, reportedly managed to rescue the victim who was transported to the hospital for medical treatment.
The Guardian reported, “The UK foreign secretary, James Cleverly, is facing demands to act against the Chinese government as police confirmed that a man was assaulted after being dragged into the grounds of the country’s consulate in Manchester.
“Labour and senior Tories have called for the Chinese ambassador to explain what happened after footage appeared to show a pro-democracy demonstrator being beaten and kicked by several men. Police said the assailants had emerged from the consular building.”
The Guardian also said, “The alleged victim, known as Bob, said he had hair pulled from his scalp during the attack. Police said he spent the night in hospital. A photograph published by VOA Cantonese showed some of his injuries, just below his eyes, which left him bleeding and bruised.”
“‘They shouldn’t have done that. We are supposed to have freedom to say whatever we want here [in the UK],’ Bob, originally from Hong Kong, told the BBC.”
The police explained, “Shortly before 4pm a small group of men came out of the building and a man was dragged into the consulate grounds and assaulted,” GMP said. “Due to our fears for the safety of the man, officers intervened and removed the victim from the consulate grounds.”
They added, “Police are not supposed to enter consular grounds without permission.”
I don’t know the ramifications of the officer’s actions. Things are different when actions are a part of a diplomatic incident. But his example is useful for any Western democratic nations’ cops, including in the U.S., who work in areas with embassies, consulates, or consular residences.
I was interested in this story because my precinct had two consular-related residences within its boundaries. One French, the other Russian. We didn’t worry about the French consul’s residence, but the Russian Consulate, which was usually no problem, could have raised similar concerns to that of China. That’s especially true now with the Russian-Ukraine war.
But I must admit, something inside me was proud of my profession when I saw that Brit cop act to rescue a helpless Hong Kong protester so violently accosted by official representatives of a brutal Chinese Communist regime.
Apparently, the “diplomats” were initially upset with protesters because they posted a banner outside with unflattering caricatures of Chinese Dictator Xi Jinping. It’s not likely the Brits will obtain any satisfaction, as the CCP recalled to China the officials involved, ignoring police requests for interviews and to waive diplomatic immunity.
Instead, China launched its own offensive accusing the Brits of failing to protect the consulate—from Hong Kong hooligans, I guess. In fact, the diplomat accused of assaulting “Bob” mounted a unique defense of his blurring of diplomacy and violence when “he told Sky News, ‘Yeah … he’s abused my country, my leader. I think it’s my duty [to assault protesters?].”
Here’s to cops both in America and Britain who risk their safety and lives to protect their countries’ and peoples’ freedom and liberty.