Hong Kong bookseller defiantly opens new store in Taiwan – five years after China arrest

The bookstore sold books banned in mainland China and all five booksellers were revealed to be in custody in China without the legal means to travel across the border. The case shocked the international community and the city, with many viewing the case as a clear violation of Hong Kong’s democratic freedoms and legal autonomy but now one of the men, Lam Wing-hee has reopened a second store in Taiwan. Mr Lam told reporters in Taipei: “The reopening is very meaningful.

“Causeway Bay Books was destroyed by China through violent means.

“The reopening proves Taiwan is a place with freedom and democracy and we still have the right to read books.”

As per Hong Kong Free Press, Mr Lam was allowed to return to Hong Kong in 2016 on the condition he return with a computer hard drive containing details of bookstore customers.

Mr Lam chose to skip bail and told the public he was blindfolded by mainland police and interrogated for months.

He fled Hong Kong after the government introduced a bill that potentially allowed extraditions to the mainland which kickstarted months of protests, which later evolved to focus on democratic freedoms in the city.

On Tuesday, Mr Lam was pelted by red paint from an attacker at a cafe who said the opening of the second store had “damaged cross-Strait relations between Taiwan and China”.

Taiwanese police are also investigating a death threat made against him.

Tsai Ing-wen’s Taiwan President sent a bouquet of flowers to mark the opening of the new store.

China regards self-governing Taiwan as a part of its’ territory and has vowed to gain control of the island.

Taiwan, official name, Republic of China (ROC), was formed after the nationalist forces fled the mainland after losing the Chinese Civil War.

The official position in Taiwan is that the ROC and not People’s Republic of China (PRC) is the legitimate government of China.

Taiwanese politics is split into two loose camps, the pan-blue coalition favours eventual reunification with the PRC though disagreements exist regarding alignment and the pan-green coalition which favours independence.


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Ms Tsai’s party is pan-green but she herself views a unilateral declaration of independence, which would cross a line for the PRC, as unnecessary due to Taiwan’s de facto independence.

Yu Shyi-kun, President of Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan told reporters: “I feel very proud of Taiwan’s democratic system and of Taiwan valuing the rule of law and human rights.

“I am here to congratulate him (Lam) for reopening his bookstore and to cheer him on.”

A seventeen-year-old customer told AFP: “I support Hong Kong young people’s democracy movement.

“And I am worried that Hong Kong today could be Taiwan tomorrow.”

Lee Bo, a British citizen, was one of the five who disappeared.

Then foreign secretary Philip Hammond urged Wang Yi, his opposite number in Beijing to locate the missing persons so parties could “know what has happened and who is responsible for it”.

Protests were held outside the Chinese Embassy in London in January 2016.

When Mr Lee returned to Hong Kong in March, he vowed to never again to sell banned books.

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