The European Union, the Swedish government and the British government have called upon China to disclose information about two detained Hong Kong publishers who are also European citizens.
The Swedish foreign ministry told HKFP in an email that Stockholm “takes a very serious view” that the Chinese government has not given any clarification as to what happened to Gui Minhai. Gui is a mainland-born Swedish publisher who went missing in Thailand three months ago and appeared on Chinese TV confessing to a decade-old crime over the weekend.
Gui is one of five people at the Hong Kong Mighty Current publishing house to have gone missing since October. The company specialises in politically sensitive titles banned in mainland China. Gui’s colleague Lee Bo disappeared in Hong Kong just before the New Year and is now confirmed to be in Guangdong province. Lee is a UK citizen.
A British Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s spokesperson said: “We remain deeply concerned by the disappearance and possible detention on the mainland of five individuals associated with the Causeway Bay Books bookstore in Hong Kong. We have urgently requested both the Hong Kong and mainland authorities’ assistance in ascertaining the welfare and whereabouts of a British citizen involved in the case. The Foreign Secretary raised concerns in a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing on 5 January. We will continue to raise this case at the highest levels. We stand ready to provide consular assistance to the individual and their family.”
The European Union Office to Hong Kong and Macao told HKFP: “The EU supports the requests made by the Swedish and the UK Foreign Ministries for information and clarification about the disappearances of two of their nationals among five missing Hong Kong publishers. The mainland authorities should ensure consular access to the disappeared persons, provide information about the circumstances of their re-appearance in the mainland, and address the growing concerns about whether China is respecting the ‘one country two systems’ principle.”
Both Gui and Lee have re-appeared in mainland China after going missing outside of China’s borders, stoking concerns about the long arms of the Chinese security forces. Their exact whereabouts are unknown.