Chinese ambassador demands that the UK government stops condoning 'extreme, violent offences'

Key Points
  • Simon Cheng was detained for 15 days on a trip to mainland China in August while working for the British government in his native Hong Kong, accused of inciting unrest in the city.
  • In a lengthy blog post, Cheng has claimed he was blindfolded, shackled, hooded, beaten and forced to hold stress positions for hours at a time by Chinese secret police during his detention.

The Chinese ambassador to the U.K., Liu Xiaoming, has met with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to urge the U.K to "stop condoning extreme, violent offences," a spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in London has told CNBC.

This comes as the British government has lashed out at China over its alleged torture of a former worker at the U.K.'s Hong Kong consulate.

In an email Wednesday afternoon, the Chinese Embassy spokesperson revealed that Ambassador Liu had met with Raab on Tuesday to express "grave concern and strong opposition" to the British government's "repeated wrong remarks regarding Hong Kong."

"Ambassador Liu emphasised that the nature of the situation in Hong Kong has nothing to do with the so-called democracy or freedom claimed by some Western politicians and media," the spokesperson said via email.

The statement also claimed protesters had "severely undermined the prosperity and stability in Hong Kong, and challenged the principled bottom line of 'One Country, Two Systems'."

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"Ambassador Liu urged the U.K. side to have a clear understanding of the current situation in Hong Kong, immediately stop condoning extreme, violent offences, and immediately stop any form of interference in Hong Kong affairs, which are China's internal affairs."

Raab issued a statement on Wednesday condemning China's alleged "torture" of Simon Cheng, a former employee at the British consulate in Hong Kong, over his involvement in the city's pro-democracy movement, which has escalated into violent clashes in recent months.

The foreign secretary said he had summoned the Chinese ambassador to express "outrage at the brutal and disgraceful treatment" of Cheng, but Beijing's foreign ministry had initially claimed on Wednesday that it had rejected the summons, and would instead summon the British ambassador to express its own grievances. CNBC now understands that the meeting took place Tuesday morning.

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"In response to the case of Simon Cheng brought up by Secretary Raab during the meeting, Ambassador Liu said that Cheng had been placed under a 15-day administrative detention by police in Shenzhen last August for violating the Public Security Administration Punishments Law of the People's Republic of China," the spokesperson said.

The statement claimed that Cheng had "confessed all his offences and all his lawful rights and interests were guaranteed in accordance with law."

CNBC has contacted the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office for comment.