Chinese journalist has assault charge dropped in Britain
- Prosecutors discontinue case against journalist who heckled speakers at Tory conference event and allegedly slapped a volunteer
A Chinese state journalist who allegedly slapped a delegate at this year’s Conservative party conference in Britain will not face court after the charge against her was dropped.
State broadcaster CCTV’s Kong Linlin was due to appear before Birmingham magistrates on Wednesday charged with common assault but the case was discontinued on the advice of the Crown Prosecution Service.
A CPS spokeswoman said: “This case was originally charged by the police. The CPS subsequently reviewed the available evidence and determined it was insufficient to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and therefore discontinued the case.”
Kong had been heckling speakers who criticised China’s handling of Hong Kong when Lieu asked her to leave the event, which was discussing the “erosion of freedom” of Hong Kong under Chinese rule.
Last month West Midlands police confirmed that Kong had been charged over an incident at a fringe event at the conference on September 30 when she allegedly slapped Tory party member Enoch Lieu.
Video of the incident appeared to show Lieu gently pushing Kong away as she heckled a speaker at the event. “Leave me alone,” she told Lieu before appearing to slap him. “You have no right, I am a journalist,” she was heard to say.
What makes a good journalist in China? Someone willing to go on the attack in defence of Communist Party propaganda, it seems
The incident threatened to escalate into a diplomatic spat after the Chinese embassy in London intervened. It initially said the organisers of the event, Hong Kong Watch and the Conservative party’s human rights commission, should apologise to Kong.
Later, the embassy criticised the police decision to charge Kong as “both shocking and confusing”.
In a statement the embassy called on the British judicial authorities to handle the case fairly and do justice to the journalist.
“We urge the UK side to take effective measures to protect the legitimate rights of Chinese journalists in the UK to their job.”
The embassy has yet to comment on the decision to discontinue the case. Lieu has also been contacted for comment.