[UPDATE: 4 am] Kong Linlin has been released without charges.
Chinese state media reporter has been arrested in the United Kingdom after flipping out during an event on Hong Kong autonomy in which she called the panelists “puppets” and slapped one volunteer.
Titled, “The Erosion of Freedom, the Rule of Law and Autonomy in Hong Kong,” the event was co-hosted by the UK’s Conservative Party Human Rights Commission and the London-based NGO Hong Kong Watch and took place on the sidelines of the Conservative Party’s annual conference in Birmingham. In attendance were various party members, as well as lobbyists, human rights activists, and Hong Kong pro-democracy figures.
Also there was London-based CCTV reporter Kong Linlin who was filmed making a scene and being restrained while shouting out things like: “You are a puppet!” “Shame on you!” “Leave me alone!” “You have no right!” ”Oh, how democratic UK!”
The woman was being restrained because she had slapped a volunteer, Enoch Lieu, a Hong Kong-born graduate of Keele University. On Twitter, Lieu gave his account of the events, accusing Kong of slapping him twice.
Kong reportedly started to raise a ruckus as Benedict Rogers, founder of Hong Kong Watch, was speaking. “You are a liar. You are anti-China. You want to separate China. And you are not even Chinese,” Kong shouted. “The rest are all traitors.”
Lieu then says that he attempted to escort Kong out of the event only to be slapped in the face by her.
Following the slap, more people stepped up to help remove Kong from the event. Lieu says that during the ensuing struggle he was slapped once again by Kong.
First day of #CPC18, managed to get slapped in the face twice, literally. I was helping in @CPHumanRights and @hk_watch fringe event on Hong Kong, a reporter from Chinese state-owned #CCTV shouted from her seat. When I asked her to leave, she refused and assaulted me pic.twitter.com/8BWi4hDfgU
— Enoch Lieu (@enochcafe) September 30, 2018
According to Lieu, Kong was eventually removed from the event by police and arrested for assault. She was released on Monday afternoon without charges.
“I always know events on Hong Kong will attract hostile attention from China, however, I wasn’t expecting I [would] be assaulted by a CCTV reporter right at the party conference,” Lieu told the Hong Kong Free Press. “Her action was an insult to British democracy and it shows that some people have no regard to common decency and the value of free speech at all.”
Despite video evidence of Kong’s behavior, CCTV is standing by its reporter, claiming that Kong was “blocked and assaulted when she raised a question and expressed her opinion” and demanding an apology from the event’s organizer.
CCTV added that the treatment of Kong was “unacceptable,” expressing its shock that “such an infringement took place in a country that boasts about freedom of speech.”
Meanwhile, the Chinese Embassy in London has issued a similar statement, also calling for an apology:
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. This is completely unacceptable.
The Human Rights Committee of UK Conservative Party should stop interfering in China’s internal affairs and stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs. The organizer of fringe event should apologize to the Chinese journalist.
Kong Linlin last caught the attention of international journalists in 2016 when she accused BBC correspondent John Sudworth of creating “fake news” with a video piece showing how he was blocked by a group of thugs from visiting a woman who was running as an independent candidate in a local Beijing election.