Britain’s broadcasting watchdog on Thursday said it was looking into a complaint about a programme on Chinese television on the arrest of a former UK consular staffer in Hong Kong.
“We have received a complaint about a programme broadcast on CGTN which we are assessing as a priority,” Ofcom said in a brief statement.
The regulator’s investigation came after a human rights group, Safeguard Defenders, said Simon Cheng had lodged a complaint against the China Global Television Network, which hold a licence to broadcast in Britain.
The group said state-run CGTN, the global arm of China Central Television, aired an item including “direct lies, violations of his privacy and unproven allegations reported as facts”.
Cheng is a Hong Kong citizen who worked at the UK consulate in the city.
He alleged last week that Chinese secret police tortured and interrogated him on the mainland for 15 days about London’s role in months of protests that have rocked Hong Kong.
Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab summoned China’s ambassador to London to demand an explanation.
Raab said the “disgraceful” and “outrageous behaviour from the authorities in China” had violated international law.
Chinese police then published a video on the Twitter-like platform Weibo purporting to show Cheng confessing to soliciting prostitutes.
He has denied the claim and said he was forced into making a statement.
The apparent confession was then published by a state-owned newspaper and later on CGTN, Cheng said in the complaint to Ofcom, published on Safeguard Defenders’ website.
China threatened Simon Cheng to kidnap him again if he went public with how they detained & tortured him. Simon's a brave man, not only did he go public but 2day he filed a complaint against @CGTNOfficial for airing his forced confession.This is his story. https://t.co/ZIrVgB4PN3
— Safeguard Defenders (@SafeguardDefend) November 28, 2019
“The broadcast was issued in direct response to my interviews with UK media and other international media, with the intention of painting the process of my mistreatment as legal,” he added.
“The broadcast not only violates numerous regulations under the Broadcasting Code, but also includes direct and easily proven lies.”
Hong Kong Free Press relies on direct reader support. Help safeguard independent journalism and press freedom as we invest more in freelancers, overtime, safety gear & insurance during this summer’s protests. 10 ways to support us.