Former British Consulate Worker Claims Chinese Authorities Tortured Him Over ‘Unrest in HK’

Simon Cheng

Simon Cheng, the former employee of the British consulate who was arrested and held in China, has claimed that he was also tortured and accused of inciting the Hong Kong protests during his incarceration.

In a Facebook statement, the 28-year-old Hong Kong citizen alleged that during a trip to mainland China in August, he was arrested by Chinese authorities and detained for 15 days.

According to Cheng, he was subjected to a series of interrogations in which he was blindfolded, chained, deprived of sleep, beaten and forced to stay in stress poses.

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“They beat me every time I failed to do so using something like sharpened batons,” Cheng wrote.

“I was hung (handcuffed and shackled) on a steep X-Cross doing a spread-eagled pose for hours after hours. I was forced to keep my hands up, so blood cannot be pumped up my arms. It felt extremely painful,” he added.

He was asked repeatedly about his and the U.K.’s role in the ongoing Hong Kong protests. He was also told to write down the names of anyone he knew and their role in the protests.

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Cheng further claimed that Chinese police bragged about having “batches of Hong Kong protesters… caught, delivered and detained in mainland China.” 

Following his post on Wednesday, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab released a statement supporting Cheng’s claims, noting the “mistreatment” that he received while in detention is equivalent to torture, CNN reports.

“Simon Cheng was a valued member of our team. We were shocked and appalled by the mistreatment he suffered while in Chinese detention, which amounts to torture,” Raab was quoted as saying. He also said that he summoned the Chinese ambassador to complain about the alleged mistreatment.

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Meanwhile, China’s Foreign Minister spokesman Geng Shuang asserted at a press briefing that the Chinese authorities “guaranteed all of his rights and interests according to law.”

Geng also commented that Cheng “made a full confession about his illegal actions.”

“I think China would firmly oppose relevant remarks from the British side. We express our great indignation towards the UK’s recent series of mistaken remarks and actions,” he added.

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Cheng was traveling to Shenzhen city on Aug. 8 when he was arrested by Chinese authorities. It was later confirmed by the Chinese government that Cheng was held in administrative detention for violating China’s Security Administration Punishment Law. 

The law, which covers a range of very minor offenses, is often used by Chinese police as a preliminary measure that allows them to investigate a suspect before a case is considered. State-owned media then reported that Cheng had been detained forsolicitation of prostitution.”

Cheng would later explain in his Facebook post that he was told he would “face a less hard treatment” if he accepted the prostitution charge. He was allegedly released after 15 days and sent back to Hong Kong under a threat that he can be supposedly be abducted by the Chinese authorities again.

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“They clearly stated that if I receive media interviews and speak out anything other than ‘soliciting prostitution’ publicly, I will be taken back to mainland China from Hong Kong,” he said.

Cheng said he is currently seeking asylum in an undisclosed third country “for security reasons.” 

“Now my future is still uncertain and insecure. I won’t give up the fight for human rights, peace, freedom, and democracy for the rest of my life, no matter the danger, discrimination and retaliation I will face.”

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According to Cheng, he was asked to resign from his position at the consulate and had “started negotiations on the solution and severance package with the U.K. Government.”

Feature Image via Cheng Man Kit

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