(TibetanReview.net, Jul26’22) – Police in London have arrested and detained for 23 hours on Jul 23 Drew Pavlou, a 23-year-old Australian activist, as he was staging a protest outside the Chinese Embassy to defend the rights of Uygur, Tibetan and Taiwanese people. He has not formally been charged with anything yet and officers eventually returned his passport, but not his cell phone, reported abc.net.au Jul 23. However, he cannot leave the country while the investigation continues.
Officers have said the embassy had reported him as a terror threat, citing a false bomb threat it claimed to have received from an email in his name.
Pavlou has expressed shock, saying he has always been a peaceful protester.
Denying any connection to the email, the activist has said in a video following his release: “The UK police arrested me. They said the Chinese embassy had reported me as a terrorist, as a bomb threat. I was so shocked, I’ve always been a peaceful protester.
“They’ve made up this email claiming that I sent in the bomb threat. It’s just absolute insanity. Why would I throw away my life like that? I’m a peaceful protester. It’s just so, so shocking.”
Also, speaking to Sky News Australia on Jul 25, Pavlou has said, “[Police] had produced an email with my name all over it that said I was going to bomb the Chinese embassy.
“I was absolutely shocked, it’s absurd.
“This email is insane, it basically reads something along the lines of ‘This is Drew Pavlou. This is a bomb threat, regards Drew’.
“Basically the CCP have called in a nuclear SWAT raid on me, they can do this to any activist, they can create a fake email and do this to any activist anywhere in the world if they like, this is the precedent it’s set.”
Mr Pavlou believes the fake bomb threat was either sent by the Chinese government or Chinese government supporters.
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Pavlou has pointed to a reporting last year in The Australian newspaper which said Chinese hackers had broken into his email account, compromising the identity of the mother of an Australia-based Uyghur he had previously interviewed.
“The Australian confirmed last year my emails were hacked by the Chinese government as part of sophisticated cyber operation. Now the Chinese government have produced fake emails to frame me with bomb threat in London. I face seven years in prison, my entire future hangs in balance,” the breitbart.com Jul 23 quoted him as saying.
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The activist and former Australian senatorial candidate has seen a rush of supporters in his defence.
In particular, prominent dissident Chinese-Australian artist Badiucao has said: “From my understanding of Drew, there is absolutely no way he would send that threat. This is clearly Beijing‘s manipulation and frame to silence protest.
“The disgraceful action from UK police could… encourage [the] CCP’s toxic campaigns.”
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The embassy was not the only recipient of emails appearing to be sent by Mr Pavlou, said the abc.net.au report.
Caoilfhionn Gallagher, a prominent human rights lawyer in the UK, received an email purporting to be from Mr Pavlou, as did two of her colleagues.
Australian Senator James Patterson also received an email, as did UK human rights campaigner Luke de Pulford, from a sender pretending to be Mr Pavlou asking for help with an arrest and assault charge.
A spokesperson from Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has told the ABC that it had offered consular assistance to Mr Pavlou, and that officials from Australia’s High Commission in London would raise Mr Pavlou’s claim that he was denied consular access before being released with UK authorities.