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Families of Targeted Hong Kong Activists Questioned by Authorities

Darren Maung
Darren is an aspiring writer who wishes to share or create stories to the world and bring humanity together as one. A massive Star Wars nerd and history buff, he finds enjoyable, heart-warming or interesting subjects in any written media.
Published: January 16, 2024
Simon Cheng is one of five wanted persons listed by Hong Kong authorities on display at a press conference in Hong Kong, China, on Dec. 14, 2023. (Image: Facebook)

In recent days, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has heightened their hunt for several overseas activists by questioning their relatives. Last week saw the questioning of relatives of two particular activists, Simon Cheng and Frances Hui.

According to a statement by London-based rights group, Hong Kong Watch, on Jan. 10, national security police took the parents and sisters of Simon Cheng, a former consular employee who has been given political asylum in the UK.

Taken from the family home in Tuen Mun, Cheng’s father reportedly left the Castle Peak Police Station sometime midday, Hong Kong Free Press reported. Cheng himself has not been in touch with him for four years, and though he “appears to be ‘okay’,” watching him being taken away on television broke Cheng’s heart.

“Seeing my long-lost father dodging the camera on the TV screen, my heart is filled with mixed emotions,” Cheng said.

Cheng also shared how his father fled the terrors of the Cultural Revolution, swimming to Hong Kong in his youth before living in Kowloon, working extra hard to sustain his family.

“He witnessed Hong Kong’s economic takeoff and transformation, contributing much of his sweat, tears and even blood (he got hurt sometimes) behind the glittering neon lights of towering buildings,” Cheng wrote on X.

“We are at different places now — struggling to survive in this harsh world… Though the broken mirror once reunited, the cracks persist, and now it shatters again,” he added.

“My only hope is that my parents can enjoy a dignified, peaceful, and serene old age — until our next life when and where we may finally meet,” Cheng wrote.

In another post on X, Cheng also gave his blessing to his family to sever ties with him.

“If needed, criticize me and cut me off. My hope is that parents can enjoy a dignified, peaceful, and serene old age — until our next life.”

Cheng is accused of “incitement to secession” and “collusion with foreign forces.” 

Previously, he founded “Hongkongers in Britain,” a group that supports people from the communist-ruled city who have also fled to the UK.

Cheng has also been added to a bounty list of other Hong Kong activists issued by the city’s authorities. The price on each of their heads is currently one million Hong Kong dollars ($128,000).


Others in questioning

Elsewhere, the mother of fellow activist Frances Hui was also questioned by Hong Kong police after warrants were issued for her daughter’s arrest, a person familiar with the case told Radio Free Asia (RFA).

Hui said online on Jan. 11 that she has not commented on her family, affirming that she was financially independent. After being added to the same list of targets as Cheng, she voiced her criticisms to the international community for allowing the CCP’s “long-arm” law to reach throughout the world, calling for action against this problem.

The family of Agnes Chow, another targeted activist, was also brought in for questioning in December last year. She had recently skipped bail, fleeing to Canada after she had taken a “study tour” in mainland China to retrieve her passport from authorities.

Chow had also been accused of failing to report to a police station; one of her conditions for bail. Police declared that they will hunt her for the rest of her life.

According to the Hong Kong Standard, citing sources, Chow’s parents were “invited to Tai Po Police Station to aid in the investigation” on Dec. 29.

Benedict Rogers, co-founder and Chief Executive of Hong Kong Watch, fears that Hong Kong is “becoming increasingly like mainland China” as national security continues to take families in.

“The Hong Kong authorities have no business questioning the family members of a brave Hong Kong activist who fled from Hong Kong to the UK more than three years ago,” Rogers said.

“From the questioning of Simon Cheng’s family to the outrageous show trial of Jimmy Lai, the Hong Kong authorities’ actions which openly threaten activists in Hong Kong and abroad are completely unacceptable,” Rogers added. 

Despite reports from other media outlets in Hong Kong, the city’s authorities have yet to make any public statements on the matter of Cheng’s family.