Monday, 18 January 2016

Reality Stranger than Fiction

Gui on state media apparently admitting guilt to a fatal drunk driving incident
The case of the missing booksellers has taken a bizarre twist, as one of them, Gui Minhai, who holds a Swedish passport, suddenly emerged on Sunday on Chinese state television.

The co-owner of Mighty Current publishing company looked pained as he seemed to read from a statement admitting he fled the mainland to flee from a suspended two-year sentence for killing a 23-year-old woman while driving drunk in Ningbo, Zhejiang province in 2004.

One of the conditions of the sentence was that he had to stay in China.

"I was afraid of going to jail, and there was no way I could develop on the mainland, so I thought I better run," Gui said.

Causeway Bay book store is behind Sogo department store
He apparently surrendered to mainland Chinese police in October last year, though he has been missing since November.

"I have to shoulder my own liability, and I'm willing to be punished," he added, while sobbing.

However, while it is confirmed by his friend that Gui was involved in a drunk driving fatal accident, it is not clear exactly which year it was. While Gui said it was 2004, state media said it was 2003, though CCTV carried reports of the crash in April 2005 when Gui was 46 at the time.

But Gui was born in 1964 so he would have been 40 when the incident happened.

Some basic fact-checking was not done properly on this report.

Nevertheless, his daughter Angela has never heard about this drunk driving case before, and questions the authenticity of his supposed confession.

Gui's friend Bei Ling, co-founder and president of the Independent Chinese Pen Center, says it is highly unlikely Gui returned to the mainland to face charges.

Gui's Pattaya apartment where four men tried to take computers
"What has happened to him is abduction conducted by a country," Bei, a dissident poet said from Boston. "the Chinese government needs to come out and offer an explanation."

He also doubts the video-taped confession, saying it looked like Gui was reading from a "scripted speech".

Bei adds some men tried to go into Gui's apartment in Pattaya, Thailand and seize his computers, but the management office refused to let them in.

Reality seems stranger than fiction here. Meanwhile people in Hong Kong continue to be gripped by this case and wonder what this all means for the rest of us...


  1. Surely only the most gullible and trusting would believe that Gui's "explanation" for his currently being in Mainland China is completely sincere and not co-erced!

    1. He's not the only one to give a "confession"...