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World News

Christian human rights campaigner accused of jeopardising China's security

by Kelly Valencia

A Christian Human Rights campaigner has been accused by police in Hong Kong of putting China's national security at risk.

Benedict Rogers, co-founder of Hong Kong Watch, a charity campaigning for human rights in Hong Kong, has been accused of “collusion with foreign forces".

“This is the first time that I've ever been accused of an actual crime under Hong Kong's National Security Law,” Rogers told Premier.

“It's rather odd, because we are a foreign based organisation, we are UK based so the charge of collusion with foreign forces… are we guilty of collusion by talking to our own governments and members of Parliament? It’s a very strange challenge.”

Hong Kong police sent a letter to inform Rogers of his offences as well as warning him that he could face up to three years in prison or pay a HK$100,000 (£9,800) fine if he returned to the country.

“The specific requests or demand from the Hong Kong Police and the Hong Kong government's National Security Bureau, was that we should take down our website within 72 hours of receiving the letter. And clearly that's an attempt to silence us. It's an assault on freedom of expression. We're certainly not going to comply,” Rogers said.

He continued: “But I think it shows that the Chinese Communist Party regime is not only repressive towards its own people and has dismantled Hong Kong's freedoms, but it is also increasingly a threat to our own freedoms around the world.”

It is thought to be the first time Hong Kong Police have tried to apply legislation outside the territory.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the actions taken by Hong Kong authorities were “clearly an attempt to those who stand up for human rights in Hong Kong”.

“Attempting to silence voices globally that speak up for freedom and democracy is unacceptable and will never succeed,” she continued.

When asked about a verse in the Scripture that inspires him to continue his work, Rogers said: “Proverbs 31: 8-9 says ‘speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves’. We have the freedom to speak, people in Hong Kong don’t. It's extremely dangerous for them to speak out. And so all the more reason why people like me should be speaking out.”

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