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Protesters outside the British Consulate Central in Hong Kong on Oct. 23. Photo: Vernon Yuen/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Simon Cheng, a former employee of the United Kingdom's consulate in Hong Kong, said in a statement published Wednesday, that Chinese secret police tortured him in early August to obtain information about alleged foreign interference in the protests that have engulfed the city for months.

The big picture: Cheng's accusations could further provoke the ongoing violent protests in the former British colony that started June against a bill that would allow extraditions to China. His allegations have also increased tensions between the U.K. and China over human rights abuses.

Detail: Cheng said the police beat him, deprived him of sleep and hung him in painful poses for hours over a 15-day period. After his release, the Chinese authorities said he confessed to breaking the law.

What they're saying: Dominic Raab, the British foreign secretary, said he summoned a meeting with China's London ambassador to discuss “the brutal and disgraceful treatment of Simon in violation of China’s international obligations," according to the NYT.

  • Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, criticized the U.K for summoning its ambassador and reiterated a statement by the police in the city near Hong Kong where Cheng said he was held, saying that they protected his rights.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day — U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record.
  2. Politics: States beg for Warp Speed billions.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases.
  4. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.

Technical glitch in Facebook's ad tools creates political firestorm

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: SOPA Images / Contributor

Facebook said late Thursday that a mix of "technical problems" and confusion among advertisers around its new political ad ban rules caused issues affecting ad campaigns of both parties.

Why it matters: A report out Thursday morning suggested the ad tools were causing campaign ads, even those that adhered to Facebook's new rules, to be paused. Very quickly, political campaigners began asserting the tech giant was enforcing policies in a way that was biased against their campaigns.

8 hours ago - Health

States beg for Warp Speed billions

A COVID-19 drive-thru testing center yesterday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Photo: David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP

Operation Warp Speed has an Achilles' heel: States need billions to distribute vaccines — and many say they don't have the cash.

Why it matters: The first emergency use authorization could come as soon as next month, but vaccines require funding for workers, shipping and handling, and for reserving spaces for vaccination sites.