Around 50 Hongkongers and Londoners gathered at the Chinese embassy in the British capital on Sunday demanding the release of Hong Kong’s missing booksellers.

Lee Bo, 65, a shareholder of Causeway Bay Books and a British passport holder, went missing from Hong Kong on December 30. In a fax allegedly written by him and received by his wife last week, Lee said that he had travelled to China voluntarily and that “everything is fine.”

Photo: Wikicommons via Chris McKenna.

Four other members of staff from the store, which specialises in political gossip titles banned in the mainland, remain missing. They include Gui Minhai, a Swedish national, Lui Bo, Cheung Ji-ping and Lam Wing-kei.

Photo: Wikicommons via Chris McKenna.

The suspicious circumstances have led some to speculate that Lee may have been abducted and sent to mainland China through secret channels. On Saturday, a second letter and a video reportedly from Lee, urged the public not to make a “big fuss” out of his disappearance.

Photo: Wikicommons via Chris McKenna.

Protesters in London condemned the apparent abduction and demanded the release of the missing booksellers.

Deryck Chan, an engineer originally from Hong Kong, told HKFP that the protest “focused on the fact that Lee Bo is British” and that “Lee and Gui Minhai were abducted from outside the jurisdiction of China.”

“The Chinese embassy is cowardly as normal – doors shut, two London policemen stand outside the door to usher demonstrators across the road,” he said.

Photo: Wikicommons via Chris McKenna.

He described the London police officers as “diplomatic and humorous” about the protest, as they allowed demonstrators to move nearer to the Chinese embassy later on.

Chan said that a policeman at the protest told him: “Nobody is safe anymore [in China]. But you’re safe with us. We aren’t the Beijing police.”

Photo: Wikicommons via Chris McKenna.

Desmond Sham, a protester at the scene, told HKFP that they also demanded Chinese authorities protect the freedom to publish and to uphold judicial independence in Hong Kong.

Photo: Wikicommons via Chris McKenna.

Earlier in Hong Kong, 6,000 people joined a rally in response to the disappearance of the booksellers.

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Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.