Authorities in the U.K. have dropped assault charges against a reporter for the Chinese Communist Party's state broadcaster following an angry confrontation with organizers and volunteers at a fringe event of the ruling Conservative Party conference in September.
A video of the incident posted by the rights group Hong Kong Watch at the time showed China Central Television (CCTV) reporter Kong Linlin being escorted from the venue on Sept. 30.
West Midlands Police had charged Kong with common assault after she was accused of "slapping" a volunteer, but the U.K.'s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it had dropped the charge.
"This case was originally charged by the police," a spokeswoman for the CPS said in a statement.
"The CPS subsequently reviewed the available evidence and determined it was insufficient to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and therefore discontinued the case," she said.
The decision comes after CCTV claimed last month that charges against Kong had been dropped "due to diplomatic pressure."
A spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in London had also called for the event organizers to apologize to Kong, 48, adding that the Chinese Communist Party strongly objected to the content of the panel which was discussing democracy and eroding freedoms since the handover of Hong Kong to China in 1997.
The panel included pro-democracy politicians Nathan Law, Martin Lee, and Hong Kong University law lecturer Benny Tai, one of the founders of the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement, who has been lambasted by the pro-China press for discussing the concept of independence for the city in public.
The spokesman said the event had "boosted the arrogance of the anti-China separatists," and was "a cause for grave concern and strong objection."
Reported by RFA's Mandarin and Cantonese Services. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.