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US consular officer in Hong Kong disappears while returning from mainland China



The British government said on Tuesday it was "extremely concerned" by the disappearance of an employee at its consulate in Hong Kong who was detained by Chinese authorities while returning from a trip to mainland China in the event of that it threatens to exacerbate the tense relations between Beijing and the West.

Simon Cheng, a 28-year-old Commerce and Investment officer at the Consulate, plans to attend a technology conference in the border city of Shenzhen on August 8 and return to Hong Kong the same day on a high-speed train,

Cheng fell out of contact. while trying to cross immigration from China tonight and has since been detained in the mainland for administrative reasons for unknown reasons, Cheng's girlfriend told HK01

.com, citing information she received from Hong Kong immigration officials.

The disappearance of the official adds another irritant to the difficult relations between China and the West, which have been worsening of late due to numerous disputes.

Beijing, locked in an increasingly fierce trade spat with the United States, accused Washington and London of fomenting protests that confused Hong Kong, a former British colony, in the summer. Canada criticizes China for holding two of its citizens, including a former diplomat, as political hostages for revenge for Meng Wenzhou's Vancouver arrest, executive director of Chinese technology giant Huawei wanted in the United States over alleged sanctions in Iran

There is no indication that Cheng, a Hong Kong resident, was traveling under a British diplomatic passport when he disappeared. Cheng's public social media profiles show that he began working at the consulate in December 2017 after earning a master's degree from the London School of Economics.


A woman flags a British flag during a demonstration at the Hong Kong airport on August 9 (Vincent Thian / AP)

British officials on Tuesday confirmed Cheng's disappearance. But Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Gen Shuang denied knowing the incident.

"We are extremely concerned by reports that a member of our team has been detained who is returning to Hong Kong from Shenzhen," said a spokesman for the British Foreign Office. "We support his family and seek further information from the authorities in Guangdong and Hong Kong."

Cheng writes "Going Through" and "Pray for Me" to his Girlfriend as He Approached Chinese Immigration in the High West Kowloon – Hong Kong express train, according to HK01, citing screenshots provided by his girlfriend. According to an agreement between Hong Kong authorities and the mainland, cross-border travelers are being flown through immigration at the Western Kowloon Terminal; Chinese police officers are also on duty in parts of the station that are under the jurisdiction of the mainland.

The Hong Kong Immigration Department said on Tuesday it had provided the missing man's family with advice and assistance and had provided advice and assistance. in relation to Hong Kong Mainland officials on the case.

Details of Cheng's disappearance have emerged as political tensions continue to simmer in Hong Kong following another huge, albeit peaceful, street march over the weekend.

Proposal to allow some suspects to be extradited from Hong Kong to stand trial in courts controlled by the Communist Party of mainland China sparked weeks of demonstrations in a city where many saw a plan that had already been postponed a conspiracy by local leaders, working with Beijing to destroy Hong Kong's autonomy and comparative freedoms.

Hong Kong is governed by a single country, two systems ”within China, under which the territory must enjoy a high degree of autonomy for 50 years after its return to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.

Carrie Lam promised to negotiate with people across the political spectrum on Tuesday, but does not appear to be in line with the key demands of the protesters.

For weeks, the Chinese government has outlined protests in Hong Kong as a "colorful revolution" caused by the US and Britain to destabilize China.

China has released the personal details and a photo of a US diplomat based in Hong Kong this month in an apparent effort to portray it as a hostile intelligence officer, saying a serious rebuke by the State Department.

The tension was particularly high on the busy southern border, where the river divides Shenzhen from Hong Kong.

In recent weeks, Chinese immigration authorities have asked travelers to unlock their smartphones to display their message records and photo albums for verification. Foreign journalists are also subject to increased scrutiny.

In an apparent demonstration of force against Hong Kong protesters, thousands of Chinese armed forces are gathering and conducting exercises near the Shenzhen Border Stadium.


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