Abducted Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing-kee opens Taiwan shop - The part-owner of a bookstore specialising in texts critical of China’s leaders has reopened his shop after fleeing Hong Kong

The part-owner of a Hong Kong bookstore specialising in texts critical of China’s leaders has reopened his shop in Taiwan after fleeing Hong Kong because of legal troubles.
The opening and accompanying news conference came days after a masked man threw red paint at Lam Wing-kee while he sat alone at a coffee shop in Taiwan. Lam suffered no physical injuries and showed little sign of the attack other than a red tint to his hair.
China’s leaders do not want a bookstore selling works that would “make them uncomfortable or impact on their political power”, Lam, who moved to Taiwan a year ago, told journalists.
He thanked supporters in Taiwan and Hong Kong for the opportunity to start afresh, and said doing so made China’s leaders “less than happy“. Lam raised nearly $200,000 through online fundraising to finance his new venture.
Commenting on Tuesday’s assault, Lam said the Communist party appeared to think it could stifle the shop’s business in both Hong Kong and Taiwan by using “underhanded methods of all sorts.”.
Lam was one of five shareholders and staff at the Causeway Bay book shop in Hong Kong, which sold books and magazines purporting to reveal secrets about the inside lives of Chinese leaders and the scandals surrounding them.
He was taken, along with others, across the border and put into Chinese custody in 2015, but was released on bail and allowed to return to Hong Kong in June 2016 to recover information about his customers stored on a computer.
After refusing to return to China, he went public with accusations that he had been kidnapped and brought to the mainland, where he says he was interrogated under duress about his business. Following the detentions, the shop was forced to close. Edgy political texts have largely disappeared from mainstream book retailers under pressure from Beijing.
Lam moved to Taiwan last year because of fears over proposed legislation that would have allowed suspects to be extradited to China. Concerns over the legislation, which was later withdrawn, sparked months of sometimes violent protests in Hong Kong, a former British colony that has retained its own legal, political and economic system since being handed over to the mainland in 1997.
Hong Kong police arrested 15 prominent lawyers and opposition figures last week over their alleged involvement in the protests, prompting further concerns that the city’s civil liberties are being eroded by China’s increasingly stringent political controls.
Beijing claims Taiwan as its own territory, but the self-governing island has become a safe haven for critics of the Chinese government.
Two high school students who turned out for Saturday’s event at the minuscule shop on the 10th floor of a business building in Taipei’s Zhongshan district said they saw its reopening as a sign of both hope and defiance.
“It offers Hong Kong people a safe place to develop,” said one of the students, Hsu Shih-hsun.
Taiwan’s own experience with dictatorship and martial law under its Nationalist party leader Chiang Kai-shek, who fled to the island with his government ahead of the Communist takeover of the mainland in 1949, adds special resonance to the values the bookstore represents, said the other student, Wang Tsung-fan.
“I think that this bookstore coming to Taiwan makes us Taiwanese extremely proud. We can give Hong Kong a helping hand,“ Wang said. “After all, our own freedoms were not easily won.”
Abducted Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing-kee opens Taiwan shop - The part-owner of a bookstore specialising in texts critical of China’s leaders has reopened his shop after fleeing Hong Kong Abducted Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing-kee opens Taiwan shop - The part-owner of a bookstore specialising in texts critical of China’s leaders has reopened his shop after fleeing Hong Kong Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 09:55 Rating: 5

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