Following Hong Kong “missing” bookseller Lam Wing Kee’s stunning account of his experiences with Ningbo’s public security bureau, the Causeway Bay Books saga has taken yet another peculiar twist with mainland media releasing footage of the protagonist’s treatment while he was detained in Ningbo.
On July 5th, state media broadcast video clips showing Lam confessing to his crimes to authorities. The video begins with an interview with Ningbo Public Security Bureau spokesman Zhu Weihong, who states that the whole detainment process respects Hong Kong’s Basic Law and did not result in any violations.
The video then promptly switches to Lam being interviewed by the authorities. Carefully edited clips show Lam claiming that the books he sold were salacious and misleading and that the authors had copied false and fictional information from the internet in order to make their “bad books” sell. The bookseller later expresses “remorse” for his crimes, hoping that the “Chinese government could be more forgiving” to him.
This generosity was backed up by clips showing Lam carelessly enjoying his time while being detained. These experiences include: reading pleasurably beside his bed, eating fruit while having his blood pressure checked and even getting a haircut. This is meant to be in stark contrast with statements that Lam produced in his press conference, in which according to SCMP, he described the whole experience as “mental torture”.
Meanwhile, Ningbo authorities had urged the bookseller to return to the mainland, citing the need to continue investigations. According to HKFP, they said that since Lam had broke China’s bail laws, they would resort to “criminal compulsory measures in accordance with the law.” Yet, this incident, along with the original case that raised the saga to a whole new level (it even got the United States concerned), has led to fears and concerns of Hong Kong’s sovereignty. To try to allay concerns, Beijing has sent Minister of Public Security Guo Shengkun to Hong Kong to review and discuss ways to improve communication and notification mechanisms.
Nevertheless, news of the video’s release was not received very warmly by people in Hong Kong. “What were they trying to show with the video?” Democratic Party lawmaker Albert Ho Chun-yan asks, “(the central government) haven’t explained why they did not notify Hong Kong that he was detained.” Some Hong Kong netizens have relished the fact that this can be used as evidence to show how “the mainland authorities disregard their own laws and regularly commits crimes,” while another stated that “in this day and age, what’s the point of broadcasting these kinds of clips?”
You can watch the video here
By Arnie Yung
[Images from Ifeng News]