Hong Kong Christian politician allegedly tortured

11 Aug 2017

Howard Lam, a Christian and member of Hong Kong's Democratic Party, says that he was abducted and tortured by men believed to be Chinese Mainland security agents on 10 August.

Lam says he was abducted, beaten and rendered unconscious by Mandarin-speaking men after receiving a phone call warning him not to send a signed photo of footballer Lionel Messi to Liu Xia, the widow of Nobel Laureate and activist Liu Xiaobo, who died in Chinese custody on 13 July.

During Lam's abduction the perpetrators stapled the skin on his legs in the shape of crosses, telling him it was because he was a Christian. There were 21 staples in total.

Liu Xia was last seen at her husband's funeral on 15 July, and her whereabouts are currently unknown.

At a press conference on 11 August, Lam said he believed the incident was a warning to him not to send anything to Liu Xia, and also a warning to others.

Benedict Rogers, CSW's East Asia Team Leader, said, "This shocking incident is a grave violation of Mr Lam's rights under international law and, if the perpetrators were indeed agents of the Chinese Communist Party in mainland China, it is also an extremely worrying sign of the increasing boldness of mainland law enforcement operating in Hong Kong. There appears to have been no legal basis for this abduction. As such, it is a severe violation of the principles of One Country, Two Systems and Hong Kong's Basic Law. Furthermore, the symbolic use of Mr Lam's religion in his alleged torture poses an alarming threat to freedom of religion or belief. We urge the Hong Kong authorities to launch a full and impartial investigation into the incident, and to guarantee the rights of all citizens, including the right to freedom from torture and freedom of religion or belief." 

Notes to Editors:

1. One Country, Two Systems is the policy promised by the Chinese government after the handover of Hong Kong by the British government in 1997. It allows Hong Kong to have its own laws and pledges that its way of life will remain unchanged for at least 50 years.

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