Recently-returned bookseller Lam Wing-kee provided no evidence that his colleague Lee Bo was taken from Hong Kong, and Lam did not provide much actual information in his statements to the media, a Global Times editorial posted Friday morning said. It has since been taken down.

The piece published in the Chinese government-backed media outlet carried the headline: “Editorial: Causeway Bay store owner’s ‘testimony’ does not contain much actual content.” HKFP accessed it around 9am Friday morning – it had been removed by 10am.

lam wing kee global times
404 error on Global Times’ site following the original link. Photo: Screenshot.

Causeway Bay Books owner Lam held a press conference Thursday night to disclose how he was taken by a “special unit” and detained on the mainland since October. During the press conference, he said that Lee had told him that he had been taken away from Hong Kong.

See also: Bookseller Lee Bo denies he was kidnapped, hits back at claims from colleague Lam Wing-kee.

“Lam said Lee Bo was taken away from Hong Kong by ‘cross-border law enforcement’, but he did not provide any evidence… So far, Lee Bo says he went to the mainland willingly to cooperate with the investigation,” Sing Tao quoted the editorial as saying.

Within the ‘rule of law’

It emphasised the significance of the fact that Lam said he had already crossed the border when he was caught, according to Sing Tao.

“Because if Lam’s actions were in violation of mainland laws, mainland police acting within their jurisdiction, acting according to laws to take action meet the principle of the rule of law.”

Lam Wing-kee
Lam Wing-kee. Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

“Lam’s press conference at least proves that he was not abused or tortured into a confession. This is very different from how some people think mainland law enforcers would treat prisoners like Lam.”

The editorial said Lam’s press conference indirectly proves that Hong Kong is safe, and said Hong Kong media should be careful when saying that One Country, Two Systems does not exist, according to Sing Tao.

See also: Pro-democracy figures call for bookseller to be protected, claim One Country Two Systems has been violated

“All kinds of powers in Hong Kong should respect the political system in the mainland, and not take actions that would destroy the country’s security and political stability in the mainland. The mainland should more strictly respect Hong Kong’s judicial independence, and understand the high sensitivity of public opinion in Hong Kong in these respects,” it reportedly said.

Catherine is a Canadian journalist and photographer who lived in Beijing for almost two years, working in TV and online media. Aside from Hong Kong and mainland affairs, she is also interested in urban spaces, art and feminism. She holds a BA in Literature and Art History from the University of British Columbia.