It is not unknown that in recent years, China’s president Xi Jinping has implemented a major crackdown and crusade against those who dare speak out against his Chinese Communist Party. Last year, in what created international outrage, five Hong Kong booksellers suddenly and mysteriously disappeared.
One of those men, of whom it was later revealed had been held in detention, isn’t letting the CCP stop him from speaking the truth.
Lam Wing-kee, who was snatched by government agents and last seen in the city of Shenzhen in southeast China on October 23 of last year, publicly announced at a news conference Thursday that a confession he made for “illegal trading” was forced, according to the South China Morning Post.
Four of the five booksellers – Gui Minhai, Lui Bo, Cheung Jiping, and Lam Wing-kee – made a confession as to their “crimes” on the Chinese state-run television show Phoenix TV in February.
All of the men who appeared on the show worked at the Mighty Current publishing house in Hong Kong, which distributes books banned on the mainland that are critical of the Chinese government and its leaders.
During the broadcast, the men professed details of their alleged crimes, stating they had collaborated in selling 4,000 “unauthorized” books to 380 customers on the mainland. Lam also confessed that those books were fabricated, the contents made up.
“They were downloaded from the Internet, and were pieced together from magazines,” Lam had said in the broadcast. “They have generated lots of rumors in society and brought a bad influence.”
Public confessions are commonplace and prevalent under Chinese criminal law, but experts and human rights activists alike say many are forced.
The Hong Kong bookseller’s public confession is one such case. Lam, in his statement Thursday, said that the broadcast was scripted and coerced.
“They gave me the script. I had to follow the script. If I did not follow it strictly, they would ask for a retake.”
“It was a show, and I accepted it.” Lam Wing-kee, however, will not accept the Chinese government’s coercion, lies, and scare-tactics any longer.
He is the first of the Hong Kong booksellers to speak out against the CCP.