The ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) aired a Belizean citizen’s “confession” on television after arresting him for his support of the protest movement in Hong Kong last month. November 11, 2019.
Henley Lee was found guilty on April 24, 2020 for “funding criminal activities that harm national security,” said the overseas-based human rights group Safeguard Defenders.
He was paraded in a forced televised confession on state television CCTV on April 14, 2021, in which he is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence for “charges”.
“This makes Lee the fifth (known) to appear on national television confessing to a national security crime, some pre-trial, all on the same news show, Focus Report, on CCTV-13, in recent months, ”said Safeguard Defenders.
Four others, all citizens of democratic Taiwan, have been charged against national security, some of whom have even been charged with ‘inciting’ protests in Hong Kong.
Lee appeared in front of the camera, in what the former victims said was a scripted, coercive and pitched production process, in a prison uniform, his head shaved and looking down as he I say.
“All of this happened at the height of China’s efforts to paint the unrest in Hong Kong due to the agitation of foreign countries, especially the UK and the US,” said Safeguard Defenders. know in a statement on its website.
Lee’s case also underscores the fact that China is currently hunting for “suspects” anywhere in the world that it considers harming its national security, the group said.
A dangerous precedent
According to changes to China’s Criminal Law that went into effect on March 1, “assisting” someone deemed a threat to China’s national security is now a crime. worldwide and for citizens of any country, it says.
It said Lee was accused of providing financial assistance to people deemed “anti-China” in the United States.
“This is a dangerous precedent that cannot be underestimated and reflects completely new provisions in China’s Criminal Law that echo the extraterrestrial aspects of Hong Kong’s National Security Law”, Said Safeguard Defenders.
The group said Lee’s “confession” came when more than a dozen victims were forced to confess by CCTV urging broadcasters around the world not to broadcast them.
Overthrown opposition lawmaker Nathan Law, who received political asylum in the UK, and Alex Chow, a former student leader in the 2014 Umbrella movement, both said via social media that they had not. has never heard of Lee, as well as any donations he has. perform.
Law writes on his Facebook page that the claim Lee has acted as a “middleman” for Hong Kong activists is an illusion based on how China works, citing Hong Kongers. is capable of lobbying on their behalf in America.
“This logic is very similar to the CCP, imagining that we are a group of people with no connections, networks or abilities,” Law wrote.
Hong Kong current affairs commentator Johnny Lau said Lee’s “confession” was another move in the CCP’s ongoing propaganda campaign to draw the protests in Hong Kong. Foreign powers incited, rather than as a result of the city’s widespread, widespread support for the city’s promised freedom of expression. , association and political participation.
He said it is possible that suspects under Hong Kong’s national security law may appear on CCTV to make similar recordings in the future.
“Will they cross that line and start sending Hong Kongers to mainland China to face the trial?” Lau said, referring to a nightmare scenario that launched the 2019 anti-extradition movement in the first place.
“Of course we don’t want that to happen and we don’t know if it will happen, but I won’t rule it out based on what’s happening right now,” he said.
Reports by Gigi Lee and Lu Xi for RFA’s Mandarin and Cantonese Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.