Torture reports of UK consulate worker denied

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China's UK embassy has rejected claims by a former employee of Britain's Consulate in Hong Kong that he was tortured by the Chinese police.
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China’s UK embassy has rejected claims by a former employee of Britain’s Consulate in Hong Kong that he was tortured by the Chinese police.

In a statement, the embassy said that Simon Cheng had been legally detained and his rights had been observed.

Cheng, who said he had been gathering information on the Hong Kong protests as part of his job, was held after visiting the mainland in August. He says that he was accused of soliciting a prostitute, but refused in a BBC interview to address the issue, claiming that would play into the Chinese authorities’ hands.

Meanwhile, Chinese police yesterday released a video showing Cheng confessing to soliciting prostitutes.

Shenzhen police yesterday posted a video on the Twitter-like Weibo platform showing Cheng entering and leaving a room in a “clubhouse” multiple times. The video also contained separate footage in which Cheng is asked why he does not want police to tell his family about his detention.

Cheng says this is because it is a “shameful incident,” adding that he feels “too ashamed to meet my girlfriend and my family.” “I am determined to mend my ways and I will never make the same mistake again,” he says.

The video, initially published on Weibo and Twitter by the People’s Daily, was accompanied by a description that said Cheng had confessed to hiring sex workers three times in half a month.

A report with the videos said “From the information provided by Luohu police, this was an ordinary case of patronising prostitution and this was supported by clear facts and conclusive evidence,” the report said. “In this case, police have handled the investigation and interrogation in accordance with the law and did not extract evidence through torture.”

On his Facebook page and an interview with BBC, Cheng says that he was beaten and subjected to other ill-treatment while being questioned about the activists behind the protests against Chinese influence and policies.

He also said he “did not harm and did nothing I regret to anyone and all the people I love and cherish.”

In a tweet the Chinese Embassy said: “Simon Cheng was placed under a 15-day administrative detention by police in Shenzhen last August for violating the Public Security Administration Punishments Law of P. R. China. He confessed all his offences. All his lawful rights & interests were guaranteed in accordance with law.”

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said he raised the issue directly with China’s ambassador Liu Xiaoming.

The statement from China’s embassy said that during the meeting, in addition to denying Cheng’s accusations, Liu Xiaoming criticized Britain’s involvement in condoning the violent acts of protesters in Hong Kong who have attacked police with petrol bombs, rocks and arrows. He urged the government in London to stop interfering in China’s internal affairs.

Cheng, who has said he was asked to resign from the consulate, could not be immediately reached for comment on the video.

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