Friday, 17 June 2016

Telling the World -- For the Record

Lam Wing-kee told the media his ordeal on the mainland as a warning
Yesterday one of the missing booksellers who came back this week, Lam Wing-kee, plucked up the courage to tell Hong Kong media -- and the world -- that what we feared all along is true.

He gave a long detailed statement about how he was going to visit his girlfriend in Shenzhen, but was detained after crossing the border, and taken to a police station where he had to forfeit his travel documents. The next morning he was given breakfast then put on a train to Ningbo.

All along, Lam kept asking those who had captured him what he had done wrong and no one would answer. He was questioned and then given papers to sign with two clauses -- promise not to contact his family and not to contact a lawyer.

He said he was questioned about his role in Causeway Bay Books and why he mailed books to the mainland. He replied that mailing books to the mainland wasn't illegal in Hong Kong.

Lam was then kept in a small padded room for several months, watched by six groups of two people 24 hours a day. While he was fed meals, he cleaned his teeth with a toothbrush that had a string tied to it that a guard held on to, to prevent him from trying to swallow it and commit suicide.

Interestingly Lee Po denies that he was kidnapped to China
At no time was he allowed to step outside or contact anyone.

Probably because he was on good behaviour, he was later taken back to Shaoguan in northern Guangdong province. Lam kept negotiating with them until finally they let him go back to Hong Kong on condition he bring back the bookstore's hard drive with the names of all the customers who bought books.

But Lam didn't return and is refusing to go back. For this decision, which he agonized over for two sleepless nights, he has sacrificed his relationship with his girlfriend to reveal to the world the Chinese government's true colours.

"This is not just about me. This is about the freedom of Hong Kong people. The Chinese government has forced Hong Kong people into a dead end," he told the media.

"I just want to pass on a message: we here, including Hong Kong journalists, we Hong Kong people are all in the same boat. [The disappearances] can happen to you too for sure. If we don't speak up, if I don't speak up being the last of the five, then there is no hope for Hong Kong."

Lam said he had to be "very courageous" and that "I also want to tell the whole world. This isn't about me, this isn't about a bookstore, this is about everyone. This is the bottom line of the Hong Kong people This is Hong Kong people's bottom line -- Hong Kong people will not bow down before brute force."

Everyone was gobsmacked by Lam's revelations, that they can detain anyone they wished for as long as they wanted, without following rule of law. Already pundits are predicting this latest news will impact pro-Beijing political parties' votes in the upcoming Legislative Council elections.

Who will have any trust in the Chinese government with such testimony?

Even more bizarre is that Lee Po denies Lam's statement that Lee told him that he was kidnapped from Hong Kong.

And now the Chinese government is very angry that Lam has told everything, and claims that he has broken mainland laws as a Chinese national.

So does that mean they're going to kidnap him from Hong Kong? Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying says "Relevant authorities in China are authorized to handle the case in accordance with the law".

Then basically "one country, two systems" does not exist according to China's eyes, that Hong Kong residents do not follow rule of law in the city, but Chinese law? Since when did that happen? We were not given any notice of that.

We were told we would follow "one country, two systems" until 2047, and yet the missing booksellers' case shows this is not true at all.

Who misled us?

The Chinese government feels it can detain anyone it likes, regardless if he or she has a foreign passport, and prevent them from having contact with loved ones and lawyers.

This extra judicial attitude is alarming and as Lam says, the world should take notice.

He was very courageous to speak out, knowing the consequences of his actions.

The Hong Kong government has been frighteningly quiet on the issue, only reiterating that it was illegal for outside authorities to operate on Hong Kong soil without permission.

But are mainland authorities considered "outside authorities"? and did they get permission from the Hong Kong government?

Acting Chief Executive John Tsang Chun-wah was mum, and stonewalled when asked questions regarding Lam's safety in the city.

His unwillingness to seem to want to demand answers from Beijing was a clear indication that Hong Kong appears complicit, or at least a silent partner in all of this.

Hopefully Lam will be safe in Hong Kong, but one never knows...

2 comments:

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  2. wow... so much for free speech laws!! gonna die laughing, I'm afraid...

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