UK watchdog to probe China state media over role in 'confession'

[LONDON] A British fraud investigator has asked the country's media regulator to revoke Chinese state media's broadcast license for helping to stage his allegedly forced confession and subsequent jailing in China.

Peter Humphrey, who was sentenced to over two years in prison by a Shanghai court in 2014 but released seven months early and deported, wants the British watchdog Ofcom to punish China Central Television (CCTV) for its alleged role in the episode.

"CCTV journalists cooperated with police to extract, record, make post-production and then broadcast his confession," the letter of complaint states.

Humphrey accuses Chinese authorities of drugging him and locking him in a chair inside a small metal cage to conduct the confession.

"China Central Television (CCTV) journalists then aimed their cameras at me and recorded me reading out the answers already prepared for me by the police," his complaint added.

It added the images were then released worldwide through its international channels.

Humphrey told AFP this was the first legal action he has launched against any of the Chinese entities involved in his incarceration.

"It will not be the last," he added.

A spokesman for Ofcom confirmed it had "received a complaint which we are assessing as a priority".

"If, following investigation, we find our rules have been broken we would take the necessary enforcement action," he added.

Ofcom has the power to fine broadcasters for breaching British rules, and can revoke their licenses in the most serious cases.

Humphrey's complaint notes Ofcom previously revoked the license of Iranian state media after ruling it had collaborated with police to record and then broadcast the forced confession a Canadian-Iranian journalist.

Humphrey and his wife Yu Yingzeng, a naturalised US citizen, were linked to a corruption case in China involving pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

The couple ran an investigative firm which was hired by GSK to probe a sex tape of the company's then China boss and other issues shortly before the British pharmaceutical company itself became the target of a Chinese government investigation.


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