Australian police on Thursday apologized for failing to prevent a break-in of the Chinese Consulate General in Sydney a day earlier, pledging to reassess its security contingency plan for foreign diplomatic missions.
After the incident, in which some 30 Tibetan separatists stormed into the forecourt of the Chinese Consulate General in Sydney, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) also published a statement, vowing to protect foreign diplomatic and consular missions.
“The Australian Government takes very seriously its obligations to protect the safety and dignity of foreign diplomatic and consular missions and condemns all forms of violent protest,” the statement said.
On Wednesday afternoon, half of the Tibetan separatists protesting outside the Chinese consulate broke the police line and entered the compound, said Tang Ying, China’s deputy Consul General in Sydney.
They tried to crash through the glass door of the main building and some of them pelted stones, said Tang, adding that one intruder also managed to pull down the Chinese national flag.
A consulate staffer was injured while trying to stop the intrusion, the diplomat said.
“This is a very serious attack on diplomatic and consular institutions, which fully exposes the violent nature of the Tibetan separatists,” the Chinese embassy said Thursday in a statement.
A total of 10 people (five male, five female) were detained by the New South Wales police and may face charges of illegal entry, among others.
The Chinese embassy has made serious representations to the Australian government, demanding the perpetrators be penalized to the full extent of the law.
The embassy has also asked Australian authorities to “follow the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and other international conventions, take concrete and effective measures, strengthen the protection of Chinese diplomatic and consular institutions and personnel, and ensure the inviolable safety, security and dignity of Chinese institutions and personnel,” the statement said.
While pledging to protect foreign missions and diplomats, the DFAT statement also noted that police officers moved quickly to contain the situation.
The Australian authorities are investigating the incident in close consultation with the Chinese Consulate-General, the DFAT statement said.