James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Hong Kong has been "manipulated by totalitarianism" says first asylee in the UK
4 July 2020, 13:48
The first Hong Konger given asylum in the UK after new Chinese national security rules said that the two system policy is finished.
Simon Cheng is a a former British consulate worker from Hong Kong who this week became the first person to be granted asylum in the UK amid China's tightening grip on the state. He also alleges he was tortured in China which spurred him to start his asylum application.
Matt asked him about the fate of his home, as China's national security laws clamp down on democratic freedoms in the country. "The Hong Kong that was governed by the rule of law, do you think that Hong Kong is now finished?"
Mr Cheng told Matt that "the two-system is finished, the judicial independence is finished, the rule of law is finished because now the spirit of the rule of law has been manipulated by totalitarianism." He suggested that the Chinese laws are being put in place "as an excuse to persecute the people."
Matt told the Hong Konger that there has been a feeling in the west that as a result of Chinese intervention, a lot of people are "happy about a return to stability" after much unrest in the state in the last year. He wanted to know Mr Cheng's view of the western attitude.
The asylee told Matt that these people have "they turned a blind eye from a bigger evil" and added that in Hong Kong "we cannot see any legal way to speak for our freedom" under the two systems the state once operated under, which is why we saw scenes of violent protest coming from Hong Kong.
Matt addressed Mr Cheng's claims of torture at the hands of the Chinese, sympathising and stating that the story will resonate with many Hong Kongers who are "afraid the same thing could happen to them."
Mr Cheng told Matt that when his torture had finished, Chinese authorities warned him "they would cross the border in the future" and he was not surprised to see them do so just a matter of months later.
He went on to tell Matt that he was blindfolded, shackled, handcuffed and "brought to a secret detention place" where he was held "uncomfortable positions for countless hours" and sustained injuries to his ankles and hands as part of his torture.
The Hong Konger went on to guess that his torture was by account of his involvement in demonstrations in the city. He told Matt that the thinking behind his detention and torture was by account that the Chinese "suspect that the UK instigates the protests and I am a proxy of the UK", which would identify him to the regime as a terrorist.