Photo credit: Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images
By Anthony Kuhn
Five Hong Kong booksellers disappeared and later turned up in police custody on mainland China, and nearly two months later, Chinese authorities have yet to explain how they got there.
Foreign governments and the United Nations have expressed concern about the disappearances. The British government went so far as to assert that one bookseller had been “involuntarily removed” — basically kidnapped — from Hong Kong.
In Hong Kong, the chilling effect of the disappearance cases has been most clearly felt in the publishing industry, which normally enjoys freedom of the press not found on the mainland.
Some publishers and authors have lost confidence in Hong Kong’s autonomy and left the territory. Others, like Bao Pu, the founder of the New Century Press, had little confidence to lose.
“I didn’t have the faith that the Hong Kong government or Hong Kong police would protect me,” Bao says. “So I knew the risk and, as far as the risk is concerned, that hasn’t changed.”
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