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Press release on 11.29 "We Could All Be Simon" Petition

For immediate release

“We Could All Be Simon” - Petition in British Consulate-General Hong Kong on 29 November

On the ninth day after the BBC broadcast of their interview with Simon Cheng, a former employee of the British Consulate-General, a group of British National (Overseas)(“BNO”) passport holders and Hong Kong people gathered again in the evening of 29 Nov 2019 outside the British Consulate-General Hong Kong to show the groups’ solidarity support for Simon.

The BBC interview with Simon revealed that Simon had been tortured by Chinese secret police when he was unreasonably detained in China out of political reason. He also provided witness to Hong Kong protesters being secretly detained by China, insulted and tortured for their political stances. This episode is undoubtedly a clear violation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration (“the Joint Declaration”), in which Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, rule of law and independent judiciary have been entrenched and guaranteed. As a co-signatory of the Joint Declaration, Britain, in preserving her own dignity, should take up its moral and legal obligation to oversee the implementation of the Joint Declaration, an international treaty, as well as to take prompt actions whenever it is in breach.

In addition to his former employment at the British Consulate-General, Mr Simon Cheng’s another key connection with the UK lies in his identity as a British National (given he is BNO). These are all valid reasons to hold the UK Government responsible, that Simon should have been protected via various British diplomatic means from being illegally and unfairly imprisoned in China. However, British intervention is not possible as BNO is not a recognised nationality by China, rendering the British support for BNO in China and Hong Kong ineffective, where the possibility of them being prosecuted being the highest. The event has brought Simon trauma.

Aside from Mr Cheng, other HongKongers being placed into unreasonable detention/custody in China may also be British Nationals who may also have suffered from traumatic torture. According to the Joint Declaration, Hong Kong people are entitled to be given fair trials in Hong Kong, but Simon has told us a totally different story that there were Hong Kong protesters being interrogated by the Chinese secret police in mainland facilities, which is evidence that the Joint Declaration in not being respected by China, not to mention if that has been upheld by China. The same applies to Ms Alexandra Wong, a peaceful elderly protester who was often seen on the frontline of the protest carrying and raising a Union Jack, has been arrested and detained in Shenzhen.

By holding a peaceful protest on 29 Nov 2019 in the British Consulate-General Hong Kong, the group made an urgent call to His Majesty’s Government to pay heed to the following requests:

1) Support and protect Mr Simon Cheng as a British National;

2) investigate and intervene in Mr Cheng’s unreasonable arrest; Investigate whether

HongKongers are being unreasonably detained in China for political reasons;

3) Grant protection to British Nationals in Hong Kong; Review the current policy regarding BNO to ensure their rights and security

Lastly, the group of British Nationals express their heartfelt gratitude towards all Hong Kong people who joined in the petition. Further, the support from the attending press and the voluntary helpers including the first aiders are much appreciated.

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