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"Hong Kongers Will Not Bow Down to Brute Force"



(p. A1) HONG KONG -- Blindfolded and handcuffed, the bookseller was abducted from Hong Kong's border with mainland China and taken to a cell, where he would spend five months in solitary confinement, watched 24 hours a day by a battery of Chinese guards.

Even the simple act of brushing his teeth was monitored by minders, who tied a string to his toothbrush for fear he might try to use it to harm himself. They wanted him to identify anonymous authors and turn over data on customers.

"I couldn't call my family," the man, Lam Wing-kee, said on Thursday. "I could only look up to the sky, all alone."

Months after he and four other booksellers disappeared from Hong Kong and Thailand, prompting international concern over what critics called a brazen act of extralegal abduction, Mr. Lam stood before a bank of television cameras in Hong Kong and revealed the harrowing details of his time in detention.

"It can happen to you, too," said Mr. Lam, 61, who was the manager of Causeway Bay Books, a store that sold juicy potboilers about the mainland's Communist Party leadership. "I want to tell the whole world: Hong Kongers will not bow down to brute force."


. . .


(p. A14) In the months since Mr. Lam and his colleagues disappeared, the industry has fallen on hard times. Causeway Bay Books has closed, and many Hong Kong bookstores have pulled titles about Chinese politics from their shelves.

The disappearances shocked people in Hong Kong and reverberated internationally. Many saw the episode as an expansion of China's authoritarian legal system beyond its borders, in clear violation of the "one country, two systems" framework that allows Hong Kong to maintain a high degree of autonomy from Beijing.

Thousands of people took to the streets of Hong Kong to demand the booksellers' release. Diplomats from Britain, the European Union and the United States also registered concern.



For the full story, see:

ALAN WONG, MICHAEL FORSYTHE and ANDREW JACOBS. "Defying China, Hong Kong Bookseller Describes Detention." The New York Times (Fri., JUNE 17, 2016): A1 & A14.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date JUNE 16, 2016, and has the title "Defying China, Hong Kong Bookseller Describes Detention.")






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