China has condemned the move by the hosts of the British Conservative gathering as they pushed a Chinese CCTV journalist from the conference premises and demanded that they apologize to her.
"In a country that boasts freedom of speech, it is puzzling that the Chinese journalist should encounter obstruction in such a way and even assault at the fringe event when she simply raised a question and expressed her opinions," the Chinese Embassy in the UK stated, adding that the hosts’ move was totally inadmissible.
“China firmly opposes interference in Hong Kong's internal affairs by anyone or any organization in any form,” the embassy went on to say.
In a video uploaded on Facebook by the media outlet Hong Kong Watch, an unnamed journalist, with an accredited press pass, can be heard shouting “Leave me alone! You have no right to interfere […] I am a journalist!” She then slaps a volunteer, who approached asking her to leave and thereafter threatened with calling the police. Security was immediately called and she was forcefully removed from the venue.
The woman’s reaction was prompted by the speech of Benedict Rogers, deputy chair of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, who concluded by noting: “I am pro-China, not anti-China. I want China and its people to succeed […] I am pro-China as a country and people and I believe it is in both China’s and Britain’s interests for Hong Kong to succeed […]” The journalist instantly stood up and shouted at Rogers claiming he “is a liar.” “You are anti-China. You want to separate China. And you are not even Chinese. The rest are all traitors!” she screamed. A student volunteer, Enoch Lieu, approached her after MP Fiona Bruce, the chair of the event, invited the reporter to leave.
On Monday, the state television company CCTV demanded that British authorities formally apologize over the incident, confirming in a statement that the journalist, named Kong Linlin, was employed by the network.