Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing-kee, one of five booksellers/publishers who disappeared from the former British colony under mysterious circumstances late last year, has made a public claim that he was kidnapped by Chinese agents.
According to a Guardian report, Lam held a press conference last night (Thursday 16th June) at which he claimed he spent months in solitary confinement in a cramped call after being snatched by a group of men, blindfolded and bundled away as he entered mainland China in October last year. During his detention, Chinese agents had forced him to confess to crimes he had not committed, the bookseller said.
Four other booksellers, including British citizen Lee Bo, also went missing last year. All have since been released, with the exception of Gui Minhai, a Swedish citizen, who remains in custody in mainland China.
Amnesty International's Hong Kong director Mabel Au said Lam's statement showed Chinese authorities had mounted a "concerted operation" to silence the booksellers, who worked for Mighty Current publishing house, known for publishing books critical of the Chinese leadership. "The Chinese authorities must come clean and admit the truth," she added.
Emily Lau, chairwoman of Hong Kong’s Democratic party, told the Guardian that China’s alleged abduction of the bookseller was “barbaric and totally unacceptable”, saying the revelations showed China to be a place of "complete lawlessness".
Beijing “must respect the rule of law and respect the rights of their own people”, Lau said.