By John Sudworth
A former employee of the UK’s Hong Kong consulate has told the BBC that he was tortured in China and accused of inciting political unrest in the city.
Simon Cheng, a Hong Kong citizen who worked for the UK government for almost two years, was detained for 15 days on a trip to mainland China in August.
“I was shackled, blindfolded and hooded,” the 29-year-old tells me.
UK government sources say they believe his claims – of being beaten and forced to sign confessions – are credible.
Following our interview, the British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has summoned the Chinese ambassador.
“We are outraged by the disgraceful mistreatment that Mr Cheng faced when he was in detention in mainland China… and we’ve made clear that we expect the Chinese authorities to review and hold to account those responsible,” Mr Raab told the BBC.
But on Wednesday a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson told the BBC they would “definitely not accept” the summons – and would instead summon the UK ambassador to “express their indignation”.
“We hope the UK will be prudent and stop interfering in Hong Kong and in China’s domestic affairs because it will, eventually, only harm the UK’s own interests,” the spokesperson added.
Image caption: Mr Cheng says he spent his free time gathering information about Hong Kong’s protests, at the urging of the British Consulate, Image copyright SIMON CHENG
Mr Cheng’s raises questions for both the Chinese and the UK governments.
The claims he makes – including that he saw other Hongkongers in Chinese custody – are likely to fuel protesters’ fears that their city’s freedoms are being eroded under Chinese rule.
“They said they work for the secret service and that there are no human rights,” he tells me. “Tan they started the torture.”
Source: BBC News