Friday, June 17, 2016

Saluting a courageous Hong Konger brave enough to say 'No' to the authoritarian regime

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.

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. 


Anonymous said...

A quick Google search, resulted in this: "Freedom-of-speech-laws" are BALANCED by "Defamation-of-character laws". Sounds reasonable? Should Law Courts decide this one?

YTSL said...

Hi Anonymous (Wumao?) --

Here's my question: if this idea of yours is reasonable, why has it not been implemented? Is it because the Chinese authorities are too arrogant or think they wouldn't have a case against the booksellers?

Also, after the abduction and detention (without trial, etc.) of at least one man -- and, let's face it, probably all five of these Hong Kong booksellers concerned -- legal arguments like what you suggest are kind of besides the point. Instead, I think the main things for most people now is to see that the safety of Lam Wing Kee and co is ensured, and also that "One Country, Two Systems" is indeed upheld.

Anonymous said...

1. Please tell me: WHERE can I collect my wumao? Would be nice.
2. "Legal arguments" are IMHO,the whole point of rule-of-law & civilized people: Therefore, why not ask the question publicly? HK SAR courts? HK legislators? HK public? Let's hear an educated discussion (instead of just rabble).
3, Seems to me, this present puzzle, is a natural opportunity for public education,much needed it seems.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, forgot this: One-Country-Two-Systems = PRC agents stay out of HK, PLUS, HK trashy defamatory books stay out of PRC? Seems reasonable?

YTSL said...

Hi again --

Well, you're anonymous, so I don't know if you could be a wumao -- note the question mark. Also, like I wrote before, I think right now, the chief imperative has become to ensure the safety of actual human beings and a greater (as in more general, not just pertaining to an individual case) ruling. But sure, feel free to go ask the HK SAR courts, etc. No one's stopping you!

Re "trashy defamatory" books: one man's poison is another man's meat. And in any case, selling it (including to people from outside Hong Kong) is NOT illegal in Hong Kong.