The entire city of Hong Kong continues to be steeped in suspense as the 14-day deadline approaches for Chinese law enforcement to announce the possible detention of missing HK bookseller Lee Bo.
With that deadline set to expire by the end of the day, call us pessimistic, but we got a feeling it’s gonna lapse.
Under a reciprocal mechanism, China is obligated to notify Hong Kong authorities within two weeks if detaining a HK resident. However, the SCMP reports that Chief Executive CY Leung has cautioned the public against optimism altogether:
Sometimes it takes longer, and sometimes the otherwise, for mainland authorities to respond on cases like these . . . this case was reported to the Hong Kong police on January 1, and it has been 11 days since then, but there were cases in the past which took longer for mainland authorities to respond to.
I have relayed Hong Kong people’s concern to the relevant departments. We are following up and seeking help from different levels and sources.
Labour Party member Lee Cheuk-yan similarly warned that the Chinese government may take advantage of a “grey area” in the rules. As Lee Bo has previously claimed to be “assisting in an investigation” — most recently on Saturday — Chinese law enforcement may opt to play dumb on his likely detention altogether.
“And don’t forget that other booksellers have already been missing for longer than 14 days,” Democratic Party member Albert Ho Chun-yan pointed out on Monday. “The mainland has not notified Hong Kong on those cases.”
On Sunday the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China rallied 6,000 in protests against the perceived threat from the mainland to the “one country, two systems” rule. But so far, Beijing is yet to give the people what they want.
By Pinky Latt