Bookseller Lam Wing-kee is a Chinese national who broke mainland law and Beijing has the right to deal with him, ministry declares
Spokeswoman urges public to view matter ‘objectively and rationally’
Beijing has the right to handle the case of Causeway Bay bookseller Lam Wing-kee in accordance with the law as he is a Chinese national who breached mainland law, the foreign ministry said on Friday amid a public outcry over explosive revelations the bookseller made.
In the wake of intensifying concern that the case of the missing booksellers has shown that “one country, two systems” is under threat, ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the Chinese government is determined to implement the principle.
“Lam Wing-kee is a Chinese citizen, and he has violated China’s laws on the mainland,” Hua said at a daily press briefing in Beijing on Friday. “Relevant authorities in China are authorised to handle the case in accordance with the law.”
She addressed Lam’s claims that his associate Lee Po told him he was kidnapped from Hong Kong in December last year. The spokeswoman said Lee had already explained himself and that what he said had been reported in Hong Kong media.
She called on the public to view the incident “objectively and rationally”.
The foreign ministry delivered its remarks a day after Lam described in explosive detail how he was taken away, blindfolded and handcuffed by Chinese agents while crossing the border to Shenzhen in October last year. He said on Thursday he decided to risk his personal safety and speak out because the matter jeopardised the “one country, two systems” principle.
Responding to the foreign ministry’s remarks, Labour Party lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan said the central government had yet to confirm if it was illegal to mail banned books from Hong Kong to the mainland.
“Mailing books is not illegal in Hong Kong, regardless of the books’ contents, and Lam mailed the books in Hong Kong,” she said. “The central government should also explain if the two people who followed Lam in Hong Kong were law enforcement officers because that would be indeed illegal.”
Pro-democracy lawmakers said they planned to hold a protest on Saturday to demand the release of the other Causeway Bay booksellers. Democratic Party lawmaker Albert Ho Chun-yan, who has been helping Lam, said the recently returned bookseller would take part. A march is to start at 3pm at Causeway Bay Books, where Lam serves as manager, and proceed to the central government’s liaison office.
Between October and December last year, five associates from Mighty Current publishing house and its Causeway Bay Books business started to go missing one after the other.
Their disappearances raised fears they were kidnapped by agents of the Communist Party because their business specialised in books critical of the party’s leadership.