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Chinese state TV journalist charged with assault in Britain

October 25, 2018

A Chinese state TV journalist accused of slapping an activist at the Conservative Party conference this month has been charged with assault, British police said on Thursday.

“Lin Lin Kong, a journalist from Kings Cross in London, has been charged with common assault following an incident in Birmingham city centre on September 30,” police said in a statement.

The journalist was arrested after heckling at a party conference debate on human rights in Hong Kong.

The China Central Television (CCTV) reporter was released the following day and is scheduled to appear in court on November 7.

Enoch Lieu, a party activist helping at the event, told AFP she slapped him twice after he had asked her to leave for shouting at one of the speakers and accusing him of being anti-China.

But the Chinese embassy called her ejection “completely unacceptable”, in a statement posted on its website at the time.

“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,” it said.

Contacted by AFP on Thursday, the embassy could not immediately comment on the case.

Chinese state broadcaster CGTN in a statement also at the time said the journalist “was blocked and assaulted when she raised a question and expressed her opinion”.

It quoted a CCTV spokesperson saying it was “unacceptable” and called for an apology from organisers, urging British police to “protect her legitimate rights”.

The event featured Hong Kong pro-democracy leaders Martin Lee, Nathan Law and Benny Tai, as well as British MP Fiona Bruce and campaigner Benedict Rogers.

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.