Mystery remains over missing Hong Kong publisher

The wife of a missing editor of a publisher specialising in books banned in mainland China has said she has been able to visit him on the mainland, Hong Kong police said.

It is the latest twist in the disappearances of British citizen Lee Bo and four of his colleagues that have intensified fears that Beijing is clamping down on Hong Kong’s freedom of speech.

Hong Kong police said Mr Lee’s wife had told them she had met him on Saturday afternoon at a guesthouse on the Chinese mainland.

She said he was healthy and in good spirits, and that he was assisting in an investigation as a witness, and handed over a letter from him addressed to Hong Kong police, who said its content was similar to his previous letters.

It is still unclear where exactly Mr Lee — and the other four men linked to Hong Kong publishing company Mighty Current and its Causeway Bay Bookshop — are. Nor is it clear what the investigation involves, and whether he is detained or there voluntarily, as he has purportedly said in letters to his wife.

Hong Kong police said they had again asked police in Guangdong province, over the mainland border, to assist in arranging a meeting with him.

The case has led many to suspect Chinese security agents crossed into Hong Kong to abduct him, in breach of the ‘one country, two systems’ principle Beijing promised to uphold after taking control of the city from Britain in 1997.

According to local news reports, he was last seen at his company’s warehouse on December 30 and did not have his mainland travel permit, but days after he went missing he called his wife to say he was in Guangdong.

The other four men have disappeared since October from mainland China or Thailand.


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