Sat, 21 Sep 2019

China has confirmed it has detained an employee of Hong Kong's British consulate.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the employee has been placed "in administrative detention for 15 days as punishment" for violating a law on public order. He didn't provide further details but said the man was a Hong Kong resident and not a British citizen.

Hong Kong's local news website HK01 said the employee, identified as Simon Cheng, failed to return to the former British colony from the neighboring southern city of Shenzhen on Aug. 9, where he had gone to attend a business meeting.

Britain's Foreign Office said it was "extremely concerned" by reports that he had been detained.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued a statement Tuesday saying it is providing support to Cheng's family and is "seeking further information from authorities in Guangdong province and Hong Kong."

Hong Kong has been gripped by nearly two months of heated and often violent anti-government protests. Beijing was angered when British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab had a telephone conversation Friday with Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam about the demonstrations earlier this month.

China's foreign ministry issued a statement saying it "solemnly demands" that the British "immediately stop all actions that meddle in Hong Kong affairs and interfere in China's internal affairs."

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