Hong Kong bookseller 'removed' in breach of China treaty

HONG KONG -- Britain says a missing Hong Kong bookseller was likely abducted to mainland China, calling it a "serious breach" of the treaty under which Beijing took control of the city.

See Full Article

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said in a twice-yearly report on Hong Kong affairs released Thursday that Lee Bo was "involuntarily removed" to the mainland.

Britain's Foreign Office said it was the first time that Britain has accused China of a "serious breach" of the 1984 treaty, although it has previously raised concerns about Chinese compliance.

Lee, a British citizen, is one of five men linked to Hong Kong publishing company Mighty Current Media and its Causeway Bay Bookshop who have gone missing in recent months only to turn up later in mainland China. Their disappearances have raised international concern,

Lee is chief editor of Mighty Current, which specialized in books critical of China's communist leadership that were banned in the mainland but popular with visiting Chinese tourists.

Hammond said while visiting Beijing last month that he made urgent inquiries with Chinese authorities about Lee's whereabouts.

Lee's disappearance at the end of December sparked international concern because he was last seen at his company's Hong Kong warehouse and didn't have his mainland China travel permit with him, raising suspicions he was snatched by Chinese security agents who crossed over from the mainland. He later sent letters to his wife saying he was helping with an investigation on the mainland, though some believe he was coerced.

"The full facts of the case remain unclear, but our current information indicates that Mr. Lee was involuntarily removed to the mainland without any due process under Hong Kong SAR law," the report said.

"This constitutes a serious breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration on Hong Kong and undermines the principle of 'one country, two systems' which assures Hong Kong residents of the protection of the Hong Kong legal system," the report added.

The Joint Declaration is the treaty signed in 1984 between Britain and China safeguarding Hong Kong's rights and freedoms after Beijing took power in 1997. Under the "one country, two systems" principle, Hong Kong retains a high degree of control over its own affairs, including law enforcement.

The Hong Kong government said in a statement Friday that while its police are continuing to investigate and have sought assistance from mainland authorities, "Any suggestion that 'Mr. Lee was involuntarily removed to the mainland' remains speculative."

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not respond to a faxed request for comment. Beijing has previously said Hong Kong enjoys sufficient autonomy.

Lee's colleague, Swedish citizen Gui Minhai, disappeared from Thailand in October and turned up last month on Chinese state TV to confess to a decade-old fatal drunk driving accident. Hong Kong police said last week the three other men are being held on the mainland for an investigation into unspecified "illegal activities."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Bautista leads Jays past Yankees in likely final home game

    Canada News CBC News
    Jose Bautista had two hits, drove in one run and scored another to help lift the Blue Jays to a 9-5 win over the New York Yankees on Sunday in what was likely his final home game in a Toronto uniform. Source
  • 1 dead, 7 hurt in Tennessee church shooting

    World News Toronto Sun
    NASHVILLE — A masked gunman entered a church in Tennessee on Sunday and opened fire, killing at least one person and injuring seven others before apparently shooting himself, an official said. Don Aaron, spokesman for the Metro Nashville Police Department, said the gunman arrived at the parking lot in a blue vehicle as services were ending at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in the neighbourhood of Antioch. Source
  • Mass exodus of Rohingya slowing down but many still trying to flee Myanmar

    World News CBC News
    The massive exodus of Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar to escape brutal persecution appears to have slowed down, but several recent refugees say tens of thousands more are huddled near beaches or in forests waiting to escape. Source
  • Airstrikes hit Syria's Aleppo despite ceasefire

    World News CTV News
    BEIRUT -- Airstrikes have targeted rural Aleppo in northern Syria Sunday for the first time in months since a cease-fire took hold in the province, killing one, activists and a war monitoring group said. Also Sunday, the Central Military Media, affiliated with the Syrian government, reported that Iranian drones successfully struck vehicles of the Islamic State group along the Syria-Iraq border in the south. Source
  • Toronto trust-funder Blake Leibel accused of torture killing

    World News Toronto Sun
    — “People come to Los Angeles to be someone else. And when you have that little self-esteem, terrible things are bound to happen.”— Black Dahlia author James Ellroy ••• Toronto trust-funder Blake Leibel’s bleak existence consists of hours of nothingness in the Los Angeles County Jail. Source
  • UN council to discuss report calling on Canada to address anti-black racism

    Canada News CTV News
    NEW YORK, United Nations -- The UN Human Rights Council is set to discuss a report on issues affecting African-Canadians that makes recommendations to the federal government, including that it apologize for slavery and consider providing reparations for historical injustices. Source
  • Hurricane Maria set Puerto Rico back decades: official

    World News CTV News
    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Puerto Rico's nonvoting representative in the U.S. Congress said Sunday that Hurricane Maria's destruction has set the island back decades, even as authorities worked to assess the extent of the damage. Source
  • Baghdad orders Kurdistan region to hand over borders, ports

    World News CTV News
    BAGHDAD -- Iraq's central government in Baghdad ordered the country's Kurdish region to hand over all border crossings and airports to federal government control late Sunday night, hours before the region is set to carry out a controversial referendum on support for independence. Source
  • Engineers inspecting Puerto Rico's cracked dam that could 'collapse at any minute'

    World News CBC News
    Puerto Rico's government says engineers will inspect the Guajataca Dam on Sunday to determine the extent of damage inflicted by Hurricane Maria last week. The dam in the northwest corner of the island was cracked, but had not burst by late Saturday. Source
  • Merkel wins 4th term but nationalists surge in German vote

    World News Toronto Sun
    BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel was widely expected to win a fourth term in office as Germans went to the polls on Sunday in an election that is also likely to see the farthest right-wing party in 60 years, the anti-migrant Alternative for Germany, win seats in parliament. Source