Monday, 25 January, 2016

'Extremely worried' European Union urges Hong Kong to investigate booksellers' disappearance

Hong Kong Bookstores Scrap Banned Books After Bookseller Disappearances 'Extremely worried' European Union urges Hong Kong to investigate booksellers' disappearance
Randall Craig | 08 January, 2016, 17:50

The EU statement read: "The continuing lack of information about the well-being and whereabouts of five Hong Kong residents (Lui Bo, Gui Minhai, Zhang Zhiping, Lin Rongji and Lee Po) associated with the publishing house Mighty Current is extremely worrying".

"We were told to take all politically sensitive books off the shelves in late November", a salesman at a Page One outlet told the Morning Post. The books came from Mighty Current, a publisher specializing in volumes that are highly critical of China's Communist Party leaders and often filled with lurid and poorly sourced gossip. Citing an unnamed Hong Kong publishing source, the British newspaper says the suspected detentions since October of the five booksellers, all of whom work for the Mighty Current publishing house, was created to prevent the publication of a book about the personal life of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Lee Bo 65 a shareholder of Causeway Bay Books and a British passport holder went missing from Hong Kong last week though his wife has withdrawn a missing persons report saying he travelled to China voluntarily. In it, Lee reportedly told her that "all is normal", and that he was on the mainland cooperating with an official investigation. A handwritten letter from Lee Bo, who was reported missing on Friday (1st January), has been met with sceptism, with English PEN expressing concern it may have been written "under duress". This is business as usual in China, but not in Hong Kong.

The disappearance of five Hong Kong booksellers has sent shivers through Hong Kong as anxiety grows that Chinese control over the city is tightening. But to numerous 7.2 million people in this former British colony, his disappearance and apparent surfacing across the border that demarcates Hong Kong from the rest of China have fueled a profound fear, by calling into question the legal guarantee that people here would be shielded until midcentury from Beijing's reach under an arrangement known as one country, two systems. "It's an essential part of the settlement in Hong Kong that it has its own judicial system and it is exclusively responsible for trying offences that occur in Hong Kong".

 Britain's Mr. Hammond raised the issue with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi on Wednesday.

Hong Kong Security Secretary Lai Tung-kwok said the territory was still awaiting a response from Chinese authorities on the fate of the men, and would ask again "if necessary". Mr. Wang told a subsequent press conference Mr. Lee is "first and foremost a Chinese citizen". He warned against "groundless speculation" but declined to give further details.

LB coach leaves 49ers, returns to role at USC
Having worked alongside him in the past, I know Coach Baxter as one of the best teachers and skill developers in football today. Helton also has hired Neil Callaway as offensive line coach and promoted receivers coach Tee Martin to offensive coordinator.