A former staff member of the British Consulate-General in Hong Kong issued a statement via Facebook on Wednesday describing an “illegal process” of “torture, threats, and coercion” by Chinese authorities. Simon Cheng, the consulate employee and a Hong Kong citizen, was detained for 15 days while returning from a business trip to mainland China in August. Interrogators, Cheng alleges, focused questions to him on the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, asking about “the UK role in the Hong Kong ‘riots,'” Cheng’s role in them, and Cheng’s “relations with mainlanders who joined the ‘riots.'”
Chen’s statement gives a detailed account of his arrest, detention, treatment, and release. “I was hung (handcuffed and shackled) on a steep X-Cross doing a spread-eagled pose for hours after hours. I was forced to keep my hands up, so blood cannot be pumped up my arms. It felt extremely painful,” he recalls. “Sometimes, they ordered me to do the ‘stress tests,’ which includes extreme strength exercise such as ‘squat’ and ‘chair pose’ for countless hours. They beat me every time I failed to do so using something like sharpened batons. They also poked my vulnerable and shivering body parts, such as knee joint. I was blindfolded and hooded during the whole torture and interrogations, I sweated a lot, and felt exhausted, dizzy and suffocated.”
To secure his release, Cheng says he ultimately signed and filmed a confession to the most minor offense the authorities accused him of, “soliciting prostitution.” They allegedly sought more damning testimony, however, hinting that Cheng was “suspected as a mastermind and British proxy behind the protests.”
Cheng concludes his statement with a plea for support in his return to normalcy and resettlement in a “third place” to which he has fled, in addition to reaffirming a personal commitment to fight for human rights.