Remember the five missing Hong Kong booksellers?
at China's liason office in Hong Kong today at the treatment of
the booksellers by Chinese authorities, and the threat being posed
One wet, wintry day this past January, I was one of thousands of concerned folks who took part in a rally for five Hong Kong booksellers who went missing under suspicious circumstances. In the months since then, we've been given proof that the quintet had been abducted and detained by the Chinese authorities, not least after they were paraded on Chinese TV as criminals. We've also seen three of them return to Hong Kong to give assurances that they're fine before returning to the mainland after a few hours, supposedly -- but very doubtfully -- voluntarily.
Like those three of his colleagues before him, Lam Wing Kee (aka Lam Wing Kei) was allowed to return to Hong Kong recently. But after taking the now familiar steps of meeting with the Hong Kong police and requesting them to cancel his missing person case, he bravely called a press conference during which he proceeded to give a detailed account of his illegal capture, detention and mistreatment at the hands of the Chinese authorities over the past eight months. In so doing, he confirmed what many people, including the daughter of one of the quintet of booksellers -- Gui Minhai, who in addition to having gone missing while living in Thailand, is a Swedish citizen -- believe: that these men were illegally abducted and being held in China on dubious charges.
After Mr. Lam made his damning revelations, Paul Lee Bo (whose name is also written as Lee Po) was trotted out to deny his -- and presumably his colleagues too -- not having been abducted by the Chinese authorities. For anyone in doubt as to who's telling the truth here, consider this: who has close relatives over in Mainland China and who doesn't, and thus feels more able to "say 'no' to the authoritarian regime"?
At the same time, there is little doubt that Lam Wing Kee has put himself at no small amount of risk and danger after defying the might of the Chinese authorities; this even though he stated that he intends to remain outside Mainland China, over here in Hong Kong (where the Basic Law is supposed to prevail). So I truly admire and respect this 60-year-old Hong Konger for his courage; as I do the likes of Gao Zhisheng and still detained Nobel prize winner Liu Xiaobo, people who most countries would be proud to have as their citizens but seemingly not China.