Pro-democracy figures have said that Causeway Bay bookseller Lam Wing-kee’s account of his experience in China, if true, would constitute a violation of One Country, Two systems.  In a surprise press conference on Thursday night, Lam detailed what he described as imprisonment and coercion on the mainland, prompting the pro-democracy camp to recommend that moves be taken to keep Lam safe now that he is back in Hong Kong.

Lam is one of the five booksellers who disappeared at the end of last year, only to resurface on the mainland between February and March this year. Lam, who founded the Causeway Bay Books bookstore, claims he was accosted in Shenzhen in October last year, detained and ill-treated by a “special unit” separate from official mainland police.

Lam Wing-kee. Photo: Gene Lin/HKFP.

“If what he is saying is the truth, then I think it definitely has violated ‘One Country, Two Systems’,” said pro-democracy Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun on RTHK radio this morning. “… His action is sending [the books]. If the recipient is in the wrong over there and has violated the law, then you should block the one who is receiving [the books]. I don’t think that there is a reason to detain him when he is crossing the border,” he added.

See also: ‘An absurd place’: Returned bookseller says he underwent 20-30 forced interrogations without lawyer

He added that Lam should not be in danger in the short term, but he said that the police should evaluate the situation.

The Civic Party said in a press release that the incident was the most severe political kidnapping incident since the handover, and that “forcing Lam to sign a statement to ‘voluntarily’ give up contacting his family or hiring a lawyer is extremely shameful.”

Lam Wing-kee. Photo: Gene Lin/HKFP.

The party said that the Hong Kong government must request that the Chinese government guarantee that Lam and others related to the bookstore will not be harmed. It also requested that the Hong Kong government negotiate with the Chinese government and ask it to hand over names of the Chinese police involved in the case, so that the Department of Justice could prosecute them. It further suggested that the government set up an independent committee to investigate the matter.

Veteran pro-democracy commentator Johnny Lau Yui-siu told RTHK said that the incident clearly violated “One Country, Two Systems” and that some officials are willing to ignore the law when executing their duties.

Lau said that the “central special unit” had always existed and is a non-public unit that is utilised according to the needs of the Chinese leadership.

Chantal Yuen

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.