Prominent citizens demand answers on missing booksellers

January 11, 2016 13:12
Martin Lee, Joshua Wong and Margaret Ng were among the public figures that have called on Beijing to explain the case of missing Hong Kong booksellers. Photos: YouTube

Several prominent citizens, including lawyers, student activists, former civil servants and performing artists, have appeared in a video to express concern over missing booksellers and demand answers from Beijing.

In the video, which was produced by a local filmmaker before Sunday's protest march in support of the missing booksellers, Democratic Party founder Martin Lee, Occupy Central co-founder Benny Tai, barrister Margaret Ng and former chief secretary Anson Chan were among those that lashed out at the suspected abduction and detention of five Hongkongers.

Lee Bo, the co-owner of a Causeway Bay publishing house that has specialized in titles critical of China's top leaders, went missing at the end of 2015, while four of his associates vanished separately a few months earlier.  

Many people in Hong Kong believe that the five were taken away by mainland authorities in an extrajudicial manner.

Margaret Ng, barrister and former Legislative Council member, said in the video message that the booksellers case is a "matter of grave concern for Hong Kong people".

"Hong Kong can be deemed to be no longer safe unless we have a clear resolution of the problem," she said.

"We would call upon the world: Do not let this happen to Hong Kong. Not only because it's our home but because it's your world city," Ng said.

Joshua Wong, convenor of student group Scholarism, said booksellers began disappearing from October last year, but the issue gained public attention only now due to the publicity surrounding Lee.

It is difficult to understand how Lee could be in mainland China when his travel documents are still in Hong Kong, he said.

Martin Lee, a lawyer and former member of the Basic Law drafting committee, said that "according to all the evidence that has been reported, I believe that Mr. Lee had been taken against his will by certain law enforcement agents from across the border through illegal means."

The book publisher was taken away although he had done nothing illegal under Hong Kong law, the Democratic Party founding chairman said.

He described the disappearance of the booksellers as the "most worrying thing that has happened in Hong Kong since the handover in 1997".

Hong Kong returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.

Occupy Central co-founder Benny Tai and former chief secretary Anson Chan also said the case underlines the threat to the "One Country, Two Systems" principle.

Tai called for punishment of the Chinese officials that were behind the disappearance of the booksellers.

Chan, apart from appearing in the video, had also released a statement urging China to honor the "One Country, Two Systems" pledge.

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