Nov 20, 2019

Ex-U.K. consulate worker says Chinese police tortured him

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.

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House passes bill expressing support for Hong Kong protestors, rebuking China

Pro-democracy protesters gather for a rally in Victoria Park, Hong Kong. Photo: Isaac Lawrence/AFP/Getty Images.

The House voted 417-1 on Wednesday evening in favor of the Senate's unanimously-passed Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, sending the bill to President Trump's desk. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) was the sole "no" vote.

The big picture: The bill reaffirms the U.S.' commitment to supporting democracy and human rights in Hong Kong as it relates to city's autonomy. The legislation comes amid months of violent clashes between police and protestors in Hong Kong, and could set up a confrontation between the U.S. and China in the midst of Trump's high-stakes trade war. The White House has not yet commented on whether Trump intends to sign the bill.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Nov 20, 2019

Senate unanimously passes bill reaffirming support for Hong Kong autonomy

Thousands of people hold an unsanctioned march through the streets of Hong Kong. Photo: Mohd Rasfan/Getty Images

The Senate unanimously passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act on Tuesday to reaffirm American support for the city's autonomy.

The big picture: The bill asserts the U.S.' commitment to "democracy, human rights, and the rule of law" as it relates to Hong Kong's autonomy, according to bill sponsor Sen. Marco Rubio's description. The legislation comes amid months of violent clashes between police and protestors in Hong Kong.

Go deeperArrowNov 19, 2019

Finger-pointing over misjudging Hong Kong

Anti-government protesters shine phone lights at police as they chant slogans in Hong Kong yesterday. Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Top Chinese leaders, including Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, "have been managing their response" to the violent protests in Hong Kong from a villa in Shenzhen instead of using the formal bureaucratic system that's been in place for two decades, Reuters scoops.

Why it matters: Under normal circumstances, Beijing and Hong Kong communicate through the Liaison Office, "housed in a Hong Kong skyscraper stacked with surveillance cameras, ringed by steel barricades," Reuters writes. This change shows the central government isn't happy with how the Liaison Office has been handling the protests.

Go deeperArrowNov 26, 2019