Why Have 5 Booksellers Mysteriously Vanished In Hong Kong?

Photo: Vincent Yu/ AP Photo.
A woman walks past a book featuring a photo of Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, and former Politburo member and Chongqing city party leader Bo Xilai on the cover, at the entrance of the closed Causeway Bay Bookstore which is known for gossipy titles about Chinese political scandals and other sensitive issues that are popular with visiting tourists from the mainland.
Their manuscripts covered salacious tales that purported to uncover the inside lives of powerful political leaders. And then one by one, they started to disappear.

That page-turner-worthy plot has actually unfolded in Hong Kong in recent weeks, as at least five people connected to a bookstore and publisher known for works critical of China's leadership have gone missing.

The case of Lee Bo, the latest associate with ties to Causeway Bay Bookstore to disappear, sparked protests and demands for answers from China's mainland government. Some have linked the absences to a planned book on the past "love affairs" of China's President Xi Jinping.

"From the available information surrounding the disappearance of Mr. Lee Bo and his partners earlier, we have strong reason to believe that Mr. Lee Bo was probably kidnapped and then smuggled back to the mainland for political investigation," Albert Ho, a pro-Democracy lawmaker, said, according to The Associated Press.
But Hong Kong's leader said there was "no indication" that the booksellers were taken to mainland China, CNN reported. Such a move would likely constitute a breach of law under Hong Kong's "mini-constitution," according to AFP.

"I and related government departments are very concerned. The government cares very much about Hong Kong residents' rights and safety," Leung Chun-ying told reporters. "Only legal enforcement agencies in Hong Kong have the legal authority to enforce laws in Hong Kong. ... If mainland law enforcement personnel enforce the law in Hong Kong, it is unacceptable because it is against the Basic Law (the city's constitution)."

A spokeswoman for China's government said at a press briefing that she had no information to offer about the case, AFP reported.

Opener Photo: Getty Images.

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