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."


Latest Canada & World News

  • Massive fire tears through 5-storey NYC apartment [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — Fire officials say an overnight blaze that tore through a five-storey apartment building in Manhattan has left one person dead and 12 civilians and firefighters injured. The fire was reported around 3:30 a.m. Thursday in a building on East 93rd Street in the Yorkville neighbourhood on the Upper East Side. Source
  • Cops: Man accused of sex assault had black book of 'sexual desires'

    World News Toronto Sun
    MADISON, Wis. — Dozens of women have reported encounters with a University of Wisconsin student charged with sexually assaulting an acquaintance, and officers found a black book at the man’s apartment listing women he’d met and documenting his “sexual desires,” authorities said. Source
  • Weather Network: ’Eerily calm’ weather for Halloween night

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    TORONTO — Trick-or-treaters across the country are in for some “eerily calm” weather this Halloween. The Weather Network has released its forecast for Oct. 31 and says those who plan to venture out in their costumes on Monday can expect seasonally cool but relatively stable weather. Source
  • Nova Scotia pair plead guilty to gruesome murder of young mother

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    HALIFAX - WARNING: This story contains graphic details Two people have admitted to the killing and horrific dismemberment of a young Halifax mother in 2014. Jason James Johnson and Kelly Amanda MacDonald, who are both in their 30s and lived in Lawrencetown, N.S. Source
  • Halifax's noon boom: A 'startling' jolt of tradition since the 1800s

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- Almost every day, exactly at noon, Alec Stratford is jolted by a thunderous boom that reverberates through his office, the intense blast so loud it rattles the plate-glass windows. Stratford, who has worked in Halifax for six months, is still getting used to one of the city's oldest, most raucous traditions: the firing of the noon gun at the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site. Source
  • 90 migrants dead after boat disintegrates in Mediterranean

    World News CBC News
    At least 90 migrants perished when the rickety boat they were travelling in started to fall apart in the Mediterranean Sea, after leaving the Libyan coast, the Libyan navy said Thursday. The rubber boat tore and began filling with water about 42 kilometres off the Libyan coast, an area considered to be international waters, said navy spokesman, Ayoub Gassim. Source
  • Supreme Court to rule on whether residential school documents can be destroyed

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- The Supreme Court of Canada will decide whether painful, personal accounts from the survivors of residential schools should be destroyed or permanently archived for posterity. The survivors' stories were used by the independent assessment process, which handled compensation claims under the 2006 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. Source
  • Searchers scour Stanley Park for signs of baby boy's mother

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- The search for a young Metro Vancouver mother is expected to ramp up in Vancouver's Stanley Park. Thirty-two-year-old Florence Leung has been missing since Tuesday when she was last seen driving away from her New Westminster home. Source
  • Man with maggot-filled foot wounds dies, caregiver charged

    World News Toronto Sun
    HARRISBURG, Pa. — A former Pennsylvania caregiver has been charged with homicide after authorities say she failed to properly treat a man with a congenital defect who died after his foot wounds became severely infected and filled with maggots. Source
  • Oregon surfer punched shark in gills to survive [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    PORTLAND, Ore. — Joseph Tanner was resting his arms on his surf board, his lower body dangling in the water, when something grabbed his right leg and yanked him under the waves. In an instant, Tanner knew he was being attacked by a shark in the chilly waters off the northern Oregon coast and he wondered if he would die, he recalled Wednesday, nearly three weeks after the Oct. Source