Pan-democratic parties will march on Saturday from Causeway Bay to the China Liaison Office in Sai Wan, in support of returned bookseller Lam Wing-kee.

Lam claimed he was kidnapped by a “central special unit” from Shenzhen last October and put into solitary confinement. Mainland authorities were investigating the operation of Causeway Bay Books “banned” bookstore, which he founded. He was accused of sending politically sensitive books to customers in China.

Lam said the unit ordered him to return to the mainland on Thursday and surrender a hard drive containing customer information, but he ultimately decided to hold a press conference at the Legislative Council instead.

China Liaison Office in Hong Kong.
China Liaison Office in Hong Kong.

Demonstrators will gather at East Point Road in Causeway Bay, where the bookstore is located, at 2:30pm on Saturday. They will start marching at 3pm.

The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China will also join the march. They urged Hong Kong people to join them.

‘Touched’ by protests

Lam had said at the press conference that he was touched by the 6,000 Hong Kong people who marched for the missing booksellers’ freedom in January. He therefore decided not to go back to the mainland again.

missing booksellers
The disappearances of the booksellers triggered protests in Hong Kong in January. File photo: Todd Darling/HKFP.

Lam’s four other colleagues at the bookstore also disappeared last year. Namely Gui Minhai – who disappeared from Pattaya in Thailand, Lui Por and Cheung Chi-ping – who disappeared from Shenzhen and Dongguan in China, and Lee Bo – who went missing from Hong Kong.

Lee’s disappearance sparked concerns of cross-border law enforcement by mainland authorities, which the marchers say they will address. At the press conference on Thursday, Lam quoted Lee as saying that he was kidnapped.

paul lee bo
Photo: Facebook.

On Friday, Lee once again denied claims that he was kidnapped. He also denied other claims that he provided a customer list to mainland authorities, and that the case was handled by a central special unit.

Democratic Party lawmaker Albert Ho Chun-yan, a friend of Lam who accompanied him at the press conference, told reporters that Hong Kong people could judge Lee’s rebuttal based on common sense.

The pan-democratic parties will also launch a petition campaign next Monday to urge the government to follow up on the incident. They called for a special session at the House Committee of the Legislative Council next week.

Causeway Bay Books.
Causeway Bay Books. Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

Labour Party lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan urged Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok, and the police commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung to attend the session to answer their questions.

In his first response to Lam’s claims, Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung said the government will do its best to protect the One Country, Two Systems principle, which guarantees Hong Kong’s autonomy. But he said that the implementation of One Country, Two Systems principle requires mutual understanding and respect.

rimsky yuen kwok-keung
Rimsky Yuen. File photo: RTHK screen cap.

“If someone broke the Chinese law on the mainland, it should be handled by the judiciary system on the mainland,” he said. “On the other hand, Hong Kong people’s rights – all rights regarding criminal judiciary procedures – should be respected as well.”

The Democratic Party has sent a letter to the Chinese president Xi Jinping, demanding he explain the missing booksellers incident, and apologise on behalf of the country.

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.