Student activist detained over Beijing-related bomb threat receives consular assistance

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The Australian government has confirmed it is providing consular assistance to human rights activist Drew Pavlou after he was arrested in the UK on July 21 for allegedly issuing a false bomb threat at the Chinese Embassy in London .

The 23-year-old was a vocal critic of the Chinese Communist Party in Australia after he was expelled from his university for staging a peaceful campus protest calling for the suppression of its Confucius Institute.

Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed to The Epoch Times in an email that it was helping Pavlou.

“The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is providing consular assistance to Drew Pavlou, an Australian who was arrested and subsequently released in the UK,” a spokesperson said, noting that due to confidentiality concerns, he would not could not provide more details.

Pavlou was arrested during a small protest outside the Chinese embassy in London and claimed he had been framed by Beijing.

“They said the Chinese Embassy reported me as a terrorist, as a bomb threat. I was so shocked,” Pavlou said in a Publish on Twitter.

Pavlou also alleged that he was held in an incommunicado cell for 23 hours by London Underground police who allegedly denied him access to Australian consular authorities.

“They pushed me to hold [an] interview without the presence of lawyers, I was allowed only one monitored phone call of 5 minutes after 8 p.m. They grabbed my phone and said I can’t leave the country, I face SEVEN YEARS IN JAIL,” he wrote in a Twitter thread.

Additionally, Pavlou said British police pressured him into giving up his phone password by threatening to charge him “with crimes relating to obstructing the investigation which relate [sic] a new sentence of 5 years in prison.

However, the Metropolitan Police Service denies this allegation. In an email to The Epoch Times on July 23, they said that after Pavlou was booked into Charing Cross Police Station, he was “offered legal advice and duty counsel was called at 8:22 p.m. July 21”.

A common tactic used to silence dissent

In response to Pavlou’s arrest, Amnesty International wrote to Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong saying he was the victim of a common tactic deployed by Beijing against criticism.

“Framing peaceful protests as threats to national security and sending fake emails are common tactics used by the Chinese government against Uyghurs, Tibetans and Hong Kongers,” Amnesty International said in a statement.

“Mr. Pavlou believes that the fake email address was designed to accuse him of his activism. According to his lawyer, circumstantial evidence suggests that his client is the victim of a set-up by the Chinese state.

Amnesty said it was also concerned about Pavlou, who has received numerous death threats and threatening messages since news of his arrest and alleged bomb threat became public.

“We urge the Australian Government to provide Mr Pavlou with all necessary assistance for his safe return to Australia as soon as possible and to ensure that his fundamental rights are protected, particularly in view of the allegations regarding the manner in which he was treated during arrest and detention,” they said. .

Pavlou alleged in a Publish on Twitter that he reported the identity of those who threatened him with death to the police.

“We have uncovered the identity of the guy who sent me the voice recordings of the death threats – a young Brit who studied Chinese at university, now works at a Beijing think tank with close ties to many senior CCP officials as well as the Ministry of State Security. The police are named after him,” Pavlou wrote.

Arrest Galvanizes Anti-CCP Activists

Meanwhile, Pavlou’s arrest has galvanized human rights activists around the world, British lawyer Benedict Rogers, chief executive of Hong Kong Watch and co-founder of the Conservative Party’s Human Rights Commission , taking for Twitter to call Pavlou’s arrest a “totally absurd and outrageous injustice”.

Rogers hailed Pavlou as a “totally peaceful young man who heroically devotes his energies to bringing to light” the human rights atrocities in Xinjiang and Tibet, the dismantling of freedoms in Hong Kong and the crackdown on the CCP.

“He should be applauded, not stopped,” Rogers wrote.

British politicians have also taken up Pavlou’s case, with British MP Edward Lucas calling for a full investigation into the Metropolitan Police’s handling of the situation.

Lucas, in his complaint, notes that London police should not have pressured the activist to hand over his phone password by threatening him with jail.

“People who live in China, who are in contact with activists abroad, are at mortal risk if their identity is known,” Lucas said. “The Metropolitan Police should protect him rather than be complicit in his harassment.”

Lily Zhou contributed to this article.

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Victoria Kelly-Clark is an Australia-based journalist who focuses on national politics and the geopolitical environment in the Asia-Pacific region, the Middle East and Central Asia.

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