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World News

'I've been speaking out on China for 10 years, so I'm glad the UK gov’t is finally waking up,' says Christian activist

by Donna Birrell

A prominent Christian human rights activist has told Premier he has received threatening letters and attempts to sabotage his social media for speaking out against China and its clampdown on free speech.

Benedict Rogers, who advises the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), shared his experience on Monday as the UK government was set to announce sanctions against China for a cyber-attack which saw 40 million British voters' personal details accessed.

The hack on the Electoral Commission began in August 2021 and lasted more than a year, but it's the first time anyone has been implicated.

Rogers, who also co-founded Hong Kong Watch, told Premier: “I've been warning of China's appalling human rights record and its threats to the free world for about ten years, so I'm glad the British government is finally showing signs of waking up”.

Several MPs and peers who have been critical of Beijing are thought to have also been targeted in the cyber-attacks.

Rogers said he believes the aim is to “take out electorally its critics from our parliament and try to put in place those who are a bit more friendly towards Beijing.”

As a high-profile critic of China, Rogers said that while he hasn’t seen any evidence of his own emails being hacked, fake X (formerly Twitter) accounts have been set up in his name, with his photograph and biography being used to comment in ways that would be alien to him.

He said he has also had threatening letters sent to his home as well as that of his mother and some of his neighbours.   

Rogers has also recently received telephone messages appearing to be from China, which he has blocked.

“I think Xi Jinping [China’s President] has ambitions for China to completely dominate the world and wants to build a world based on authoritarianism,” he said.

“They can manipulate the data they get, they can try to influence people, they can send their propaganda in various subtle, sophisticated ways to try to change mind-sets.”

China has consistently denied accusations of espionage and wrong-doing.



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