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Dear President Xi: You owe Hong Kong an apology

Reuters/Bobby Yip
Bookseller Lam Wing-kee—not totally silenced yet.
  • Quartz
By Quartz

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

“Missing” Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing-kee’s explosive press conference last week alleging he had been abducted by mainland Chinese police has appalled many and sparked protests in the city this past weekend.

On Monday (June 20) chief executive CY Leung pledged to “write immediately to the central authorities to express the concerns of Hong Kong people.” Lam worked at a bookshop publishing political tomes that are often critical of Chinese Communist Party leaders, which is not a crime in Hong Kong under the “Basic Law” agreed when Hong Kong was handed over from the British.

Emily Lau, chairperson of the Democratic Party, is a step ahead of Leung. She penned a letter directly to Chinese president Xi Jinping on 17 June and posted it to the party’s Facebook page, where it has attracted over 1,000 reactions so far. Here’s a translation:

President Xi:

Mr. Lam Wing-kee, the manager of Causeway Bay Books, showed incredible courage today, by revealing to the outside world what he went through when he was detained by mainland authorities for as long as eight months.

The Democratic Party are shocked and enraged about what happened to Mr. Lam, and think that the incident reflects how mainland authorities have seriously violated the “One Country Two Systems” principles, and infringed the personal safety of Hong Kong citizens.

Mr. Lam said the incident was related to the “Central Special Unit.” As the head of state, Mr. President must be very familiar with the way it works. Therefore, regarding the story of Mr. Lam, the Democratic Party urge Mr. President to publicly account for the following issues, so as to let Hong Kong people know if mainland authorities did comply with the laws, including:

  1. Why and how did the Central Special Unit detain Mr. Lam?
  2. Whether or not those who detained Mr. Lam asked him to sign a paper which said he would “promise to give up the rights to contact family members” and “to not hire a lawyer”, and if so, why was this method chosen and what is its legal basis?
  3. Whether or not the mainland authorities had a solid law in support of their accusation that Mr. Lam ran a bookstore illegally?
  4. The status of other Causeway Bay Books personnel who are still detained in the mainland.

When NPC Chairman Mr. Zhang Dejiang held a meeting with several LegCo members in Hong Kong on 18 May, I had already pointed to him that the Lee Bo incident had shocked the world and made many Hong Kong people worried and frightened, as the mainland authorities had violated the Basic Law and the policy of “One Country Two Systems”.

Mr. Lam was not afraid of power and authority, and told the truth—his actions are widely respected and admired by Hong Kong citizens. The Democratic Party have to point out once again that Hong Kong citizens and the international society are enraged and chilled by how mainland authorities ignored laws, crossed the border to enforce law in Hong Kong and detained Causeway Bay Books personnel groundlessly.

Article 27 of the Basic Law stipulates that “Hong Kong residents shall have freedom of speech, of the press and of publication.” In the past, Mr. Deng Xiaoping said China must take Hong Kong back in 1997, but told Hong Kong people not to worry, as the Communist Party will not send anyone to rule Hong Kong; and under “One Country Two Systems,” Hong Kong people can continue to enjoy our liberal lifestyle which will remain in effect for 50 years. However, the Causeway Bay Books incident reflects that the mainland authorities are abusing the core values of Hong Kong people seriously, by enforcing their law across the border on their own will, sending somebody to take Hong Kong people back to the mainland, and even making groundless allegations of running a bookstore illegally of somebody who is just running a cultural business in Hong Kong. The way they acted completely violated the Basic Law and seriously damaged “One Country Two Systems”.

What happened to the owners and staff of the Causeway Bay Books was extremely chilling to Hong Kong citizens, as they fear that they might face such frightening treatment as well. The incident has shocked the world, because the governments of many countries as well as many international organizations considered that Beijing was not observing “One Country Two Systems” and the Basic Law. The Democratic Party seriously urges Mr. President to apologize for this on behalf of the state; to issue a declaration about securing the safety of Mr. Lam; to immediately release Mr. Gui Minhai and Mr. Lui Bo who are still under detention; to treat the relatives of any Hong Kong people that are related to the incident, and to promise that such incidents will not happen anymore.

Translation by Tom Tsui

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