Lam Wing-kee, one of the five Hong Kong booksellers who went missing last year, said his abduction by mainland agents was likely related to two books about President Xi Jinping that his bookstore was selling.
Revealing more details about his eight months in detention in the mainland, Lam, 61, told the Hong Kong Economic Journal that his interrogators asked him a lot of questions about the books, particularly the source of information and materials that went into the writing of the books.
The two books are banned in the mainland, although copies are known to be circulating there.
One book is about the so-called “Seven Don’t Speaks”, a document reportedly issued by the central party leadership urging the country to guard against threats posed by ideas being advocated by the West.
These ideas are universal values, freedom of speech, civil society, civil rights, the historical errors of the Communist Party of China, official bourgeoisie and judicial independence.
Although a reliable copy of the document has not been seen publicly, its content has been widely reported in Hong Kong and confirmed by mainland media insiders, according to China Media Project of the Journalism and Media Studies Centre of the University of Hong Kong.
The other book focuses on the Chinese leader’s supposed ambition to be in power for 20 years.
Lam said his detention in a room less than 300 square feet was tantamount to physical abuse.
He said he once tried to commit suicide; he wanted to use his pants to hang himself but the ceiling was too high.
Now that he is back in Hong Kong, he said, he has dropped the idea of suicide, but he does not rule out the possibility that he will be “asked to kill myself” some day.
He also said he believes his son’s phone remains tapped.
In an interview with Singapore-based The Straits Times, Lam said mainland authorities interrogated him 30 to 40 times, and that each session lasted 30 to 40 minutes.
Lam told HKEJ he believed he was under surveillance for many years before his actual abduction.
He noted that during his interrogation by mainland authorities, he was asked about a meeting he had with Hong Kong political commentator Paul Lin back in 2012.
Lam is the manager of Causeway Bay Books, which is owned by publishing house Mighty Current Media Co. Ltd.
In his interview with HKEJ, he said that he was taken by people from the “Central Case Examination Group” last October when he tried to enter Shenzhen before heading for Dongguan to meet his girlfriend.
Upon his release, he returned to Hong Kong on June 14, and called a press conference last Thursday to reveal that he had been detained by mainland agents.
Lam said his revelations might delay the release of his colleague Gui Minhai, a naturalized Swedish citizen who is the last of the five booksellers who remain detained in the mainland, and the cases against his two other associates, Cheung Chi-ping and Lui Por, who are out on bail pending their trial but still in China.
However, Lam said he has no regrets about coming out in the open.
He also said he hopes all Hong Kong people will step forward and say “no” to the “powerful ruler”, referring to Beijing.
Following his revelations last week, his colleague Lee Bo insisted on his version of the story, saying that he had not been abducted and he went to the mainland on his own accord to cooperate with the authorities.
Lee told media on Saturday that things other people said about him were not trustworthy and denied Lam’s claim that Lee had admitted to him that he was taken to the mainland from Hong Kong on Dec. 30.
Meanwhile, in an interview with Sing Tao Daily, Lam’s girlfriend called Lam “a big liar”, citing his promise that he would divorce his wife as soon as possible so he could marry her.
She also said Lam had asked her to send books to mainland customers but did not tell her that what he was asking her to do was illegal.
Lam’s colleagues, Cheung and Lui, also sought to refute Lam’s claims and said he was being manipulated.
Asked why his colleagues were rejecting his statements, Lam said he believed they were not speaking out of their own will, but that the truth could never be changed.
[Chinese version 中文版]
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