Asia Pacific

U.K. ‘slap’ case against Chinese state TV reporter dropped

AFP-JIJI

A Chinese state TV journalist charged with slapping a delegate at the annual conference of Britain’s governing Conservative Party had the case against her dropped on Wednesday.

Proceedings against China Central Television (CCTV) reporter Kong Linlin, 48, were due to begin at Birmingham Crown Court in central England.

But the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), England’s state prosecutors, said that after reviewing the available evidence, there was insufficient material to secure a conviction.

The alleged incident happened at the Conservative conference in Birmingham on September 30, during a fringe event about Hong Kong. The journalist was charged with common assault.

“This case was originally charged by the police,” a CPS spokeswoman said.

“The CPS subsequently reviewed the available evidence and determined it was insufficient to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and therefore discontinued the case.”

A video showed Kong heckling at the fringe event, organized by the Conservative Party’s human rights committee.

The clip then showed her apparently slapping a party activist helping at the event.

In the aftermath, the Chinese embassy posted on its website in English, saying her ejection was “completely unacceptable.”

“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.

An embassy spokesperson also said that the original decision to charge Kong was “shocking and confusing.”