Hong Kong bookseller disappearances

Causeway Bay bookseller’s changing undershirt prompts questions online about his appearance on state television

Some claim programme was an insult to their intelligence as basic continuity error suggests interview was conducted at different times and edited later

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 January, 2016, 7:01am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 January, 2016, 6:59pm

Conspiracy theories spread immediately after the explosive appearance of missing bookseller Gui Minhai on China Central Television on Sunday night – which struck many as fishy after the mainland-born publisher appeared to have gone through a few costume changes during the interview.

CCTV’s current affairs programme Oriental Horizon carried a 10-minute piece on Gui’s case, including interviews with Gui in a “detention centre” and with the parents of the university student killed by Gui in a drink-driving crash in 2003.

READ MORE: Missing Hong Kong bookseller says he turned himself in for 2003 drunk driving death on state TV

Gui, a naturalised Swedish citizen, first appeared to be wearing a grey T-shirt under his shirt and was relatively upbeat. When he reappeared a few minutes later in the piece, the undergarment was black, his hair seemed longer and in a different style, and he looked visibly more upset.

A minute and 15 seconds later, Gui was back to wearing the grey clothing, before once again switching back to black a minute later.

The online community claimed the interview was clearly conducted at different times, and combined during a later edit.

READ MORE: Timeline: Hong Kong’s missing booksellers and what has happened so far

Some said the programme insulted their intelligence, with others even doubting whether it was the same person.

These observations meant the appearance of Gui on state media failed to clear doubts and left more questions surrounding the mysterious disappearances of the booksellers unaddressed.