Beijing official accuses bookseller of ‘destroying’ Hong Kong’s governing policy

Director Wang Guangya of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office attacked bookseller Lam Wing-kee, who had pulled out of the annual July 1 rally

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 July, 2016, 7:59pm
UPDATED : Friday, 01 July, 2016, 11:23pm

A top Beijing official overseeing Hong Kong affairs has accused bookseller Lam Wing-kee of “destroying” the city’s “one country, two systems” governing policy by publishing and selling books banned on the mainland.

Lam was in the spotlight again on Friday, as he pulled out of the annual July 1 rally, citing safety concerns that he was being followed by strangers.

Director Wang Guangya of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, speaking in Beijing, attacked Lam for “publishing books in Hong Kong attacking the mainland’s political system and then selling them on the mainland”.

Followed by strangers, bookseller Lam Wing-kee pulls out of July 1 march fearing ‘serious threat’ to personal safety

“The books they publish aren’t about Hong Kong affairs ... but about the mainland’s affairs. He publishes ... books in Hong Kong and brings them back to sell on the mainland. This is his understanding of ‘one country, two systems’ – this ‘one country, two systems’, we’d rather not have it,” Wang said.

The veteran Beijing official also denied having ever heard of the mysterious “special central investigative unit” that Lam identified as his “abductors” when he was detained after crossing into Shenzhen last October.

The man who stunned the city with his testimony about his eight-month incarceration on the mainland without due process or access to a lawyer, was supposed to lead yesterday’s pro-democracy march but decided against it at the last minute because of a “serious threat”.

Civic Party lawmaker Alan Leong Kah-kit said Lam’s actions mentioned by Wang all took place in Hong Kong and he had no idea why the bookseller had to face mainland criminal law.

“It was Wong’s remarks which destroy the principle of ‘one country, two systems’,” he said.

Democratic Party lawmaker Albert Ho Chun-yan, who has been helping Lam, said the bookseller decided not to join because he had been followed by strangers over the past few days.

July 1 march organisers claim turnout of 110,000

“This morning, I got a telephone call from Lam. He told me personally that he observed in the past few days he had been followed by strangers whom he did not know,” Ho told the media at 2.50pm in Victoria Park, ahead of the march.

“He became increasingly concerned about his personal safety, so he made a personal decision this morning not to attend.”

Ho said they had already notified police, and Lam had found a safe place to stay.

The development was a further blow to freedom of expression in the city, he said.

Ho’s colleague, James To Kun-sun, added that Lam had submitted “relevant information” to police regarding the threat.

Rally organiser Jimmy Sham Tsz-kit said the annual event had attracted extra attention after the announcement this week that Lam would head the procession.