Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for November 22, 2022

Newsline: UK police identify offences committed in Chinese consulate incident

British police said they had identified a number of offences committed during an incident at a Chinese consulate in northern England last month, in which a man protesting outside said he was dragged into the grounds and assaulted. Bob Chan, who is originally from Hong Kong, says he was with a group demonstrating against Chinese President Xi Jinping outside the consulate in Manchester, northern England, when masked men pulled him inside and kicked and punched him. Consul-General Zheng Xiyuan said his staff, including himself, had been defending themselves after protesters had stormed the grounds in an unprovoked attack. Greater Manchester Police said they had been gathering evidence from mobile phone footage and witnesses to establish the full circumstances of what had happened. There have been no arrests so far, but they had “identified a number of offences including assaults and public order offences”. “We’re continuing to gain a clearer understanding of the timeline of events that led to an initially peaceful protest escalating in the way it did, and this has seen us identify a number of offences and potential suspects and victims,” Assistant Chief Constable Chris Sykes said. (https://news.yahoo.com/uk-police-identify-offences-committed-172514130.html) Chan, aged in his 30s, said he suffered bruising to his eye, head, neck and all over his back. The incident sparked another diplomatic spat between Britain and China, whose relationship has soured in recent years.

Newsline: China Eyes to Back-Channel Diplomacy to Improve U.S. Ties

China is turning to an old friend in corporate America to bolster communications with the U.S., as President Xi Jinping tries to stabilize the bilateral relationship while gearing up for greater competition between the two powers. A few days before Mr. Xi’s summit last week with President Biden, according to people with knowledge of the matter, Beijing dispatched a delegation of senior policy advisers and business executives to New York to meet with a U.S. counterpart group set up by insurance executive Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, one of the most successful American businessmen in China. (https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-turns-to-back-channel-diplomacy-to-shore-up-u-s-ties-11669042014) Wall Street executives have long held a special place in Beijing’s corridors of power. Beijing has viewed Mr. Greenberg, 97 years old, as what Chinese leaders call an “old friend of China.” Mr. Greenberg, a decorated World War II veteran and a major Republican donor, is the chief executive of insurance and investment firm C.V. Starr & Co. and former CEO of insurance giant American International Group Inc. Such a high-level group as the one Mr. Greenberg hosted hasn’t come to the U.S. since the Covid-19 pandemic started nearly three years ago. In that time, relations have plunged to what both sides see as the lowest point in decades, with Beijing and Washington sparring over issues ranging from the origins of the pandemic to China’s human-rights record and its military and economic pressure on Taiwan.

Newsline: French Embassy Asks Burkina Faso for Increased Protection

The French embassy in Burkina Faso has asked the West African state for more protection after violent protests targeted the property last week, a letter to the government and a diplomatic source said. In a letter to Burkina Faso’s foreign ministry seen by Reuters, the French embassy said Burkina Faso’s military police did nothing on Nov. 18 as hundreds of protesters violently attacked the embassy, throwing stones and other projectiles at its walls. (https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2022-11-21/french-embassy-asks-burkina-faso-for-more-protection-after-protests) Some of the officers charged with protecting the embassy were captured on video playing cards as the protest unfolded, the letter said. Anti-French sentiment and protests have surged this year in Burkina Faso, a former French colony where France maintains strong ties and has special forces stationed in the country.