China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has confirmed that missing British Consulate-General Hong Kong employee Simon Cheng is being held under administrative detention in Shenzhen for 15 days. It also said this issue is a matter of China's internal affairs.
People have gathered outside the British Consulate-General Hong Kong to show their support for missing consulate-general employee Simon Cheng. He has been missing for nearly two weeks. They urged the British government to launch a rescue mission.
I'm here standing in front of the consulate-general. Today, we want to urge the UK government to step up and act now. Save Simon now.
I think China is tightening its grip on basically… on Hong Kong and is using these diplomatic… like using these detentions to send a message to the world that they are in control.
Cheng's supporters said they feared if they didn't take a stand now, China would take a harder line in the future and further curtail the freedom of the Hong Kong people. China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs previously said it did not know of Cheng's case. However, on Aug. 21, it said Cheng is being held under administrative detention for 15 days.
Frankly speaking, this is not a foreign affairs issue. However, since everyone is so concerned, we did spend a lot of effort to contact the relevant authorities to learn more about the situation. The person you mentioned is being held under administrative detention for 15 days by the Shenzhen police for violating the Public Security Administration Punishment Law of the People's Republic of China.
Under Chinese law, local public security bureaus can decide to detain a person under administrative detention, and the detention is not contingent on a court hearing. However, the detention cannot exceed 15 days. The ministry also said Cheng is a Hong Kong citizen, not a British citizen, and therefore this is entirely a matter of China's internal affairs and other countries should not intervene. The Hong Kong police previously inquired at a local public security bureau, but did not receive a response.
Maybe because this gentleman is under administrative detention, the Hong Kong Police Force do not receive any information from the mainland counterpart about him in the mainland.
Cheng attended National Taiwan University and is employed by the British Consulate-General Hong Kong. The UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office is therefore paying close attention to developments in this case. This detention occurred at a sensitive time, as Hong Kong residents are continuing to protest a proposed extradition bill. It remains unknown at this point whether Cheng's detention will have a chilling effect or further enrage Hong Kong residents.