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

  • Illicit drug deaths reaches record high 914 in B.C. last year

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    VICTORIA — British Columbia reached a new peak of 914 illicit drug overdose deaths last year with the arrival of the deadly opioid fentanyl. The figure is almost 80 per cent higher than the 510 overdose deaths due to illicit drugs in 2015. Source
  • Harambe's matriarch grandmother dies at Zoo Miami

    World News CTV News
    MIAMI -- Zoo Miami's matriarch gorilla, Josephine, who was grandmother to the internet-famous Harambe, has died. The zoo announced on social media that the 49-year-old ape was euthanized Wednesday morning, saying she had been suffering from several health issues that slowly incapacitated her. Source
  • Holy McSausage! Naked man walks into Thai McDonald’s

    World News Toronto Sun
    A hungover tourist stunned early risers at a Thai McDonald’s over the weekend when he rolled in completely naked. Witnesses said the middle-aged, pot-bellied man seemed a tad bewildered. “He spoke English but he seemed a bit confused,” Ao Sayachak, a nearby street vendor, told the Daily Star. Source
  • Indigenous leaders to press federal government on services in northern community

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- Indigenous leaders are set to press the federal government on Thursday over services available in Wapekeka First Nation -- a tiny community in northern Ontario mourning the suicides of two 12-year-old girls. Community leaders say the reserve school remains closed while crisis teams work on the ground following the deaths of Jolynn Winter and Chantel Fox earlier this month. Source
  • Former Expo Tim Raines elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

    Canada News CBC News
    Former Montreal star Tim Raines along with Jeff Bagwell, and Ivan Rodriguez have been elected to baseball's Hall of Fame, earning the honour as Trevor Hoffman and another Expos great, Vladimir Guerrero, fell just short. Source
  • Obama's biggest advice for Trump: listen

    World News CTV News
    In his final press conference as U.S. president, Barack Obama offered some personal advice for President-elect Donald Trump: listen to everyone, even if you disagree with them. “If you find yourself isolated because the process breaks down, or if you’re only hearing from people who agree with you on everything, and if you don’t create a process that is fact-checking and probing and asking hard questions… that’s when you start making mistakes,” Obama said Wednesday. Source
  • Woman who sought kidney on Craigslist gets it from mother

    World News Toronto Sun
    BARRINGTON, N.J. — A New Jersey woman who found a kidney donor on Craigslist in 2015 but later was told the organ transplant couldn’t happen because of complications has now received a kidney. Egg Harbor City resident Nina Saria, 34, said Tuesday she got a kidney last month from her mother, who lives in the Republic of Georgia. Source
  • Ontario premier vows more hydro relief before spring budget

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Premier Kathleen Wynne says more hydro relief will be announced before the spring budget. Wynne met today with an Amherstburg, Ont., woman who wrote a Facebook post that was shared more than 21,000 times complaining about hydro rates. Source
  • ISIS driven from eastern Mosul in brutal bloodbath

    World News Toronto Sun
    Coalition forces are in complete control of eastern Mosul after driving Islamic State militants from that part of the city. Describing the bloody battle as a “big victory”, Iraqi Army Lt. Gen. Talib Shaghati hailed the win over the terrorists as “unprecedented. Source
  • Woman, 85, whose corpse was left in bags had been strangled

    World News Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — An investigation has determined that an 85-year-old New York City woman was strangled before her corpse was placed in plastic bags and left inside her home for five months. The medical examiner’s office says Erika Kraus-Breslin died of “homicidal asphyxia, including neck compression. Source