site stats

Hong Kong bookseller who fled to Taiwan set to reopen in Taipei, Asia News

Lam Wing-kee, the Hong Kong bookseller who moved to Taiwan in April – three years after claiming he had been kidnapped by Chinese agents for selling books banned across the border – says he plans to reopen his store, Causeway Bay Books, in Taipei early next year.

The shop would sell books about Taiwan, Hong Kong and mainland China, and cater to “free souls” so they could understand the increasingly complex situation facing the three territories, he said.

“I’m looking for premises in downtown Ximending where many locals and tourists visit,” he said on Thursday.

“And I am planning to make it a space for everyone, because the bookstore is only able to open because of help from the public.”

Lam was referring to a crowdfunding campaign he launched on the FlyingV platform between September and November, which raised NT$5.97 million (S$266,000) from about 2,900 people.

Under the terms of the campaign – titled “Causeway Bay Books – Reopen in Taiwan – Open for Free Souls” – he has six months to open his new store.

Taiwan suspect flees Hong Kong, in echo of extradition bill crisis case

Lam said the ongoing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong had prompted him to start over in Taiwan.

“The idea of reopening Causeway Bay Books is to introduce books that will increase readers’ understanding of what exactly has happened in Taiwan, Hong Kong and the mainland,” he said.

Causeway Bay Books was located in the district of Hong Kong from which it took its name. Lam and four booksellers disappeared in late 2015 and were detained in mainland China for selling books critical of China’s leaders.

Lam was released in June 2016 and allowed to return to Hong Kong to retrieve a hard drive containing details of his customers.

But while in the city he jumped bail and went public about how mainland police had detained him as he crossed the border into Shenzhen, blindfolded him and interrogated him for months.

In late April, Lam fled to Taiwan, concerned that he would be sent to the mainland under a now-withdrawn extradition bill. The proposed legislation sparked the anti-government protests that have steadily escalated over the past five months.

“With the protests going non-stop and the two sides refusing to compromise, I can’t see an end to the unrest or a future for Hong Kong, given that Beijing is unlikely to allow the holding of general elections there,” Lam said.

Taiwan deports Chinese tourist who tore down Hong Kong posters

“My advice for the students and young protesters is to put their personal protection first … and if their safety is under threat, leave Hong Kong as soon as possible.”

Lam said he had met with several groups of Hongkongers in Taiwan, many of whom had asked him for advice on how they could remain on the self-ruled island.

Lam, who is in Taiwan on a three-month tourist visa that can be extended for a further three months, said that as Hongkongers were not classed as refugees they would not be able to seek political asylum in Taiwan, but could use alternative channels, like studying, working or investing, to help them stay.

Many human rights organisations and civic groups were also willing to help, he said.

This article was first published in South China Morning Post

Source link

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » appearance » Widgets » and move a widget into Advertise Widget Zone