The United States has called upon China to shed light on the mystery surrounding the five missing Hong Kong booksellers, and to allow them to return home.
In a daily press briefing on Monday, the spokesman for the State Department, John Kirby, said that the US is “deeply concerned” about the disappearances of the five men associated with the Causeway Bay bookstore.
“These cases, including two involving individuals holding European passports, raise serious questions about China’s commitment to Hong Kong’s autonomy under the ‘one country, two systems’ framework,” said Kirby.
He urged China to “clarify” the situation surrounding these missing persons and to “allow them to return to their homes”.
Daily Press Briefing – February 1, 2016U.S. Department of State Spokesman John Kirby: We remain deeply concerned by the disappearance of five Hong Kong residents associated with Mighty Current Media and the Causeway Bay bookstore. We continue to follow closely the developments of these cases. They – these cases, including two involving individuals holding European passports, raise serious questions about China’s commitment to Hong Kong’s autonomy under the “one country, two systems” framework as well as its respect for the protection of universal human rights and fundamental freedoms. We urge China to clarify the current status of all five individuals and the circumstances surrounding their disappearances and to allow them to return to their homes.
Posted by U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong and Macau on Tuesday, 2 February 2016
The case of the missing booksellers has received greater international attention due to the fact that two of them are EU citizens. Gui Minhai is a naturalised Swedish citizen, while Lee Bo is a British citizen. The European Union, the Swedish government and the British government have all asked China to disclose information about their missing citizens. HKFP reported that the Swedish police arrived in Thailand last week to investigate the disappearance of Gui Minhai.
The case of the vanishing booksellers has gripped public attention, as it raises fears that China is trying to expand its control over Hong Kong’s press freedom. The case of Lee Bo has sparked worries that the mainland has extended its law enforcement operations into Hong Kong, which contradicts the Basic Law. The Hong Kong police have launched an investigation into the disappearance of Lee Bo, but so far it has been inconclusive.