A TV reporter with Chinese state broadcaster CCTV was convicted on Friday of slapping an activist with Britain’s governing Conservative Party during a debate over Hong Kong.
Linlin Kong, 49, was given a suspended sentence for assaulting Enoch Lieu at a fringe meeting at the Conservatives’ annual conference in Birmingham, central England, in September 2018.
She shouted at human rights activists on the panel that they were “trying to separate China” and when Lieu asked her to leave, she slapped him, the city’s magistrates court heard.
Judge Shamin Qureshi said, “It was in the heat of the moment that the defendant lost her cool professionalism as a journalist and instead became an impassioned heckler”.
He gave Kong a 12-month conditional discharge, meaning she will not be jailed unless a further offence is committed within that period.
Last week, the city’s police asked the demonstrators to leave the city’s Polytechnic University (PolyU) campus as soon as possible, citing bad and dangerous conditions inside.
The Hong Kong protests, which have been drawing massive crowds since June following a contentious proposed extradition law that has been pulled by the government, have mutated into a movement that seeks to improve the democratic mechanisms that govern the city and safeguard – or expand – the region’s partial autonomy from Beijing.
The controversial China extradition bill was withdrawn in early September but the movement has morphed into a wider campaign for greater democracy and against alleged police brutality.