UK court ruling against Chinese journalist a weapon to intervene in HK affairs: experts

CGTN reporter Kong Linlin is held back after her altercation at a Conservative Party fringe meeting on September 30, 2018. Photo: screenshot of online video

Chinese experts on Sunday slammed a UK court ruling against Chinese Global Television Network (CGTN) TV journalist Kong Linlin as an attempt to use the law as a weapon to intervene in Hong Kong affairs and provoke China.

The court in Birmingham on Friday gave Kong a 12-month suspended sentence for allegedly assaulting Enoch Lieu, a Hong Kong activist at a Conservative Party fringe meeting. 

Kong was ordered to pay Lieu a surcharge, 100 pounds (RMB 909) compensation, and other charges, totaling 2,115 pounds.

Lieu sued Kong in October 2018 for slapping him in a conflict fueled by a debate held by the UK‘s ruling Conservative Party over Hong Kong on September 30, 2018. Hong Kong secessionists and organizers of the 2014 illegal were also invited. 

Kong expressed her views while raising questions at the scene after which she said she was obstructed and physically harassed by Lieu, CGTN reported on October 25. 

The Chinese Embassy in the UK on Saturday expressed shock and indignation toward the UK court ruling, asking the UK to fairly handle the case of Kong in accordance with the law. The ruling raises doubts about UK‘s judicial credibility and its claimed advocacy about speech and press freedom, the embassy said.

A spokesperson for China Media Group (CMG), which administers CGTN, responded to the judgment on Friday, saying “We feel sorry about the British court‘s decision in Kong Linlin‘s case.” “CMG respects the laws of the UK, but we hope that the UK courts could fairly judge the case based on the facts without other people‘s interference, and protect the legitimate rights and interests of journalists,” the CMG spokesperson said.

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The Chinese Embassy said on Saturday that Kong has filed an appeal. 

Kong was arrested on suspicion of common assault in October 2018. UK prosecutors later decided to drop the case for lack of evidence. The British courts resumed proceedings later “in the absence of any new evidence,” the embassy said, pointing out the shifting attitudes and fluctuating decisions of the British authorities. 

Some Chinese experts expressed concern that the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese journalists were being undermined in the UK, considering that its judicial integrity seems to be affected by international politics.

“Announcing the decision amid the current chaos in Hong Kong is an indication that British court system has been affected by politics,” Zhang Shengjun, an international politics professor at Beijing Normal University, told the Global Times.

“The British court is using the judicial tool to carry out their political intervention,” Shen Yi, a professor at the Shanghai-based Fudan University, told the Global Times. 

“In the conflicted scenario, the UK again plays the role of a supporter on issues in Hong Kong. The judgment is irrational and emotional, which shows the fragility of British justice,” he said. 

Shen suggested China respond strongly. For example, the Chinese government could take some countermeasures like restricting the activities of British journalists.

Such countermeasures were intended to dampen the inappropriate British illusion about their support for ers and to prevent further miscalculations in future decisions, Shen said, . 

It was “necessary for maintaining long-term friendship and development between China and the UK,” he said.

Newspaper headline: Chinese journalist to appeal


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