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World China releases 'confession' tape of British consular worker who claimed torture

05:40  22 november  2019
05:40  22 november  2019 Source:   cnn.com

China releases video of UK consulate worker's confession

  China releases video of UK consulate worker's confession Chinese police published Thursday a video purporting to show a former employee of the British consulate in Hong Kong confessing to soliciting prostitutes, after Britain backed his allegation that he was tortured over pro-democracy protests. The case has added to tensions between Beijing and London over the demonstrations that have roiled the former British colony for months.

The British government claims that Cheng left his position voluntarily, and foreign After Cheng was released in September, he said he felt unsafe in Hong Kong because of threats from Chinese The Chinese authorities warned they could “abduct me back to mainland China in Hong Kong anytime if I

A BRITISH consulate worker has claimed he was abducted, shackled and tortured in China . Simon Cheng, a Hong Kong citizen who worked for the UK It wasn't until international media started to question Mr Cheng's disappearance that he claims his detention treatment improvedCredit: REUTERS.

Authorities in China have released what they say is a confession by detained former British consular worker Simon Cheng, who earlier this week claimed he was tortured by police in August.

a man holding a sign: Activists gather outside the British Consulate-General building in Hong Kong on August 21, 2019, following reports that Simon Cheng, a Hong Kong consulate employee had been detained by mainland Chinese authorities on his way back to the city. - An employee of Britain's consulate in Hong Kong who went missing earlier this month is being held in China, Beijing confirmed on August 21. (Photo by Anthony WALLACE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images)© ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images Activists gather outside the British Consulate-General building in Hong Kong on August 21, 2019, following reports that Simon Cheng, a Hong Kong consulate employee had been detained by mainland Chinese authorities on his way back to the city. - An employee of Britain's consulate in Hong Kong who went missing earlier this month is being held in China, Beijing confirmed on August 21. (Photo by Anthony WALLACE / AFP) (Photo credit should read ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images)

Cheng, a 28-year-old Hong Kong citizen who was detained for 15 days while on a trip to mainland China earlier this year, claimed in a Facebook statement Wednesday that he was beaten, blindfolded, deprived of sleep, chained spread-eagled and forced to hold stress positions for hours at a time.

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"The British Consulate instructed staff to collect information about the status of the protests," he says. But China had already begun to accuse the UK of meddling in Hong Kong, with British politicians becoming increasing vocal in their support for the protesters.

A former British government consulate worker said he was "handcuffed and shacked" and beaten with "sharpened batons" by the Chinese government. Simon Cheng, who went missing in August after going on a business trip to the mainland city of Shenzhen, claims he was sleep deprived, shackled

Cheng alleged Chinese secret police repeatedly interrogated him about the UK's role in Hong Kong's protests, and about his own participation and that of his friends.

In allegations that could inflame the protesters in Hong Kong and reinforce fears of many in the city, Cheng claimed that Chinese police told him "batches of Hong Kong protesters" had been "caught, delivered and detained in mainland China." CNN could not independently verify Cheng's claims.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab appeared to endorse many of Cheng's claims Wednesday, saying in a statement that his "mistreatment" while in detention "amounts to torture."

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A man who was abducted by China while working for the British consulate in Hong Kong has claimed he was tortured by police during his 15-day Mr Cheng, a Hong Kong national who worked for the UK consulate for two years, says he was mostly employed to attract Chinese investment in

China attempts to smear British consulate worker by releasing footage they claim shows him 'visiting a club to solicit prostitutes' as they deny Chinese police have released footage to prove that a former UK consulate worker , who claimed to be tortured by them, had 'regularly visited a club to

"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 said.

China hit back against the allegations, with a Foreign Ministry spokesman saying he had "made a full confession about his illegal actions" and was "guaranteed all of his rights and interests according to law."

"We express our great indignation towards the UK's recent series of mistaken remarks and actions," the spokesman added.

On Thursday, Chinese state media published a video of Cheng in detention, a tactic commonly used in China to discredit opponents of the government. It shows him wearing what appears to be prison uniform, being questioned about the case. He tells an off-camera interviewer that he feels "deeply guilty" about the incident.

CCTV footage released alongside the confession also purports to show Cheng "visit(ing) a clubhouse three times in three weeks." Cheng was held for 15 days under administrative detention, a broad category that covers many misdemeanors -- Chinese state media later said it was for soliciting prostitutes.

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China confirmed on Aug. 21 that it was holding Cheng under administrative detention, 11 days after his family reported him missing. Cheng, investment director for the Scottish International Development Agency under the aegis of the British Consulate General in Hong Kong, was reported missing after

China frequently uses taped confessions to back up its accusations against political opponents, sometimes broadcasting them on state television. The subjects, especially non- Chinese , usually claim at the first opportunity that the confessions were coerced through torture and threats to their

Cheng did not respond to the prostitution allegation in his statement this week, his family previously described it as "a joke." Speaking to the BBC Wednesday, Cheng said that he did not want "to focus on the question of whether I solicited a prostitute, because that's exactly what they want."

"So, I just want to state clearly that I did nothing regrettable to the people I cherish and love," he added.

The confession video does not mention prostitution, with Cheng only appearing to obliquely reference it with a comment that he was "too ashamed to meet my girlfriend and my family," but state media has gone hard on the allegation.

In an editorial Thursday, state-controlled tabloid the Global Times said Western media was painting a "prostitution solicitor as a political victim."

"Cheng is using fictitious tales to win sympathy and support of the Hong Kong opposition and Western public opinion in a bid to cover up the fact that he solicited prostitutes," the editorial said.

Contrary to claims by Chinese media and officials that forced confessions are rare in China, the country has a long record of using interviews taped under duress against dissidents.

"A criminal justice system, such as China's, that relies on confessions, raises the risk of torture. Many televised confessions are allegedly the result of extreme coercion or torture, according to those who have been through them and their supporters," human rights activist Michael Caster wrote for CNN last year.

Cheng could not be reached for comment Friday about the confession video.

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