27 Nov 2019

Simon Cheng files complaint against CGTN with UK TV-regulator OFCOM

As of today, 2019-11-28, a complaint by Simon (Man-kit) Cheng has been filed against CGTN (China Global Television Network) with the TV-regulator of the United Kingdom, Ofcom. 

This complaint follows the broadcast by CGTN of a news story that included direct lies, violations of his privacy, and unproven allegations reported as facts.

You can find the full complaint here:


This complaints follows two similar complaints, about four different broadcasts, currently under official investigation by Ofcom, related to UK citizen Peter Humphrey and Swedish citizen Gui Minhai.

Below is the full press release behind the complaint filed. You may download the press release as a PDF file here:


The broadcast of these are nothing new, but under growing scrutiny, all the while the Chinese Communist Party has taken tighter control of CCTV and CGTN from what was earlier State-control. For a complete overview of (known) forced TV confessions broadcast by CCTV and CGTN, see this excel database:



Simon Cheng files complaint with OFCOM against CGTN


Madrid, Spain, 2019-11-28: Simon Cheng, Hong Kong resident and former employee at the United Kingdom’s Consulate in Hong Kong, on November 27, 2019 filed an official complaint with Ofcom against CGTN – China Global Television Network - for broadcasting his forced TV confession, extracted while Simon was tortured, held incommunicado, at a secret location, in solitary confinement. The complaint highlights a long list of sections of the UK Broadcasting code that the broadcast violates.

“They dragged me into the private van, then instructed me to lay on the rear bench seat. It felt like a kidnapping.” - Simon


The complaint by Simon, about a broadcast aired by CGTN on November 21, follows multiple similar complaints earlier. One year ago, UK citizen Peter Humphrey, also with support from Safeguard Defenders, filed a complaint against multiple similar broadcasts of himself and his American wife. Shortly thereafter, Angela Gui, daughter of missing Swedish bookseller Gui Minhai, with support from Safeguard Defenders, filed a complaint against several more broadcasts by CGTN. All these complaints are against broadcasts of forced TV confessions aired before trial, sometimes even before arrest.

“I will confess whatever you want, torture is not necessary. They said it is not torture, but ‘training’.” - Simon


The broadcast by CGTN comes just one day after Simon Cheng’s explosive interview with BBC and several other news media. The broadcast, which presents accusations as facts, is intended to smear Simon, reduce his credibility, and released almost 3 months after it was actually made, is of little news value. It also includes direct lies, stating, for example, that Simon had been ‘tried’ in August, which is not only not true, but not even Chinese police have made such a  claim.

Simon is filing this complaint from an unknown location. He has been threatened with being kidnapped by the Ministry of State Security if he speaks about his experience. With intelligence agent Wang Liqiang now defecting from China to Australia, and having exposed the kidnapping of UK citizen Lee Bo in Hong Kong back in 2015, those threats are very real.

You can read details about how the many different video sessions, spanning several days, unfolded, and get behind the scenes by reading our new story on it here (available Wednesday, 20.00 (8 pm), Beijing time (GMT+8)).

I was hung (handcuffed and shackled) on a steep X-Cross doing a spread-eagled pose for hours after hours. I was forced to keep my hands up, so blood cannot be pumped up my arms. It felt extremely painful.” – Simon


For more information about these forced TV confessions as a phenomenon since the rise of Xi Jinping, see our groundbreaking report Scripted and Staged, or read our book on the subject, Trial By Media, available on Amazon worldwide.

Ofcom has now spent almost one year investigating CGTN for broadcasts of several “confessions” by Peter Humphrey and Gui Minhai. Last time a TV station broadcast such a TV confession was by Iran’s Press TV, which lost its license to broadcast. Ofcom is now also investigating CGTN for biased reporting on the Hong Kong protests.

One source inside CGTN, who was at the CCTV headquarters in Beijing at the time, informed us CCTV reacted in panic to the complaint and press conference held in London. Despite it being Friday evening, a flurry of urgent messages went around CCTV’s headquarters in Beijing. The recipients were being called in that very evening for a crisis meeting that would go on for the entire weekend.

After a debriefing with the Foreign and Commonwealth office (FCO), UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has publicly stated they deem Simon’s testimony credible, which has also been echoed by Amnesty International. Safeguard Defenders, whose extensive work with forced TV confessions goes beyond any other institution, likewise considers the testimony credible, and in line with vast troves of testimony collected from many other victims of forced TV confessions over the last few years.