Date
22 January 2017
Yu Jie (inside) has not been able to find a publisher in Hong Kong after bookseller Lee Bo and four colleagues went missing. Photos: Wikipedia, Reuters
Yu Jie (inside) has not been able to find a publisher in Hong Kong after bookseller Lee Bo and four colleagues went missing. Photos: Wikipedia, Reuters

China chill blamed as HK publishers turn away political book

Yu Jie (余杰), a renowned mainland Chinese dissident writer and human rights critic who was allowed to leave the country in 2012, said the freedom of publishing in Hong Kong has been eroded.

He said the publisher of Open Magazine refused to publish his new book, titled The Nightmares of Xi Jinping, Ming Pao Daily reported Thursday.

Yu, who is living in exile in the United States, said several other publishers have also turned him down.

Jin Zhong (金鐘), chief editor of Open Magazine, admitted that he decided against publishing Yu’s new book, because of the mysterious disappearance of five booksellers from a Hong Kong firm that publishes books banned in the mainland.

Jin said he made the decision under the advice of his friends and his wife.

Yu said he completed his book on the president in November but has been unable to find a firm willing to publish it.

Jin was quoted as saying in an email reply to Yu that “publishers of political books in Hong Kong are under enormous fear that they might become the next one to vanish”.

Yu said the publishers’ fears are understandable. He said he will switch to Taiwan and North America to publish his works in future.

Jin admitted that he initially agreed to publish Yu’s latest book on Xi after he read it and found that the content wasn’t exaggerated.

However, after the disappearance of Lee Bo and four of his colleagues, Jin had to rethink his decision.

He said the case of the missing booksellers “absolutely and unarguably” showed that the freedom of publishing in Hong Kong has diminished.

While Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying was delivering his fourth Policy Address at the Legislative Council on Wednesday, legislator Lee Cheuk-yan from the Labour Party interrupted Leung, asking him about the disappearance of Lee Bo.

When Legco president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing ordered the lawmaker to leave the chamber, other legislators from the Labour Party walked out in protest.

Leung did not respond to lawmakers’ questions whether he would write to Wang Guangya, director of Beijing’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, or even Xi to follow up with Lee Bo’s case.

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