Daughter of Missing Hong Kong Bookseller To Testify in Washington

The daughter of one of the missing Hong Kong booksellers will testify before a United States committee Tuesday.  Angela Gui, daughter of Chinese publisher Gui Minhai, will speak before the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China as a witness in the hearing with the theme “The Long Arm of China: Global Efforts to Silence Critics from Tiananmen to Today,” a statement by the commission read.

“This hearing will examine the Chinese government’s reach beyond its borders to stifle critical discussion of its human rights record and repressive policies,” it said.

The commission was created in 2000 by Congress with the purpose of monitoring human rights violations as well as the development of the rule of law in China. The commission submits yearly reports to both Congress and the President.

The hearing brings the case of the ‘Missing Five Hong Kong Booksellers’ back in the international limelight.

Since last October, five publishers and booksellers, including Gui Minhai, mysteriously – and suspiciously – went missing. The five men, all associated with the Mighty Current publishing house and Causeway Bay Books, disappeared one after the other.

Mr. Gui vanished from Pattaya, Thailand, in October, and Lam Wing-kee, Cheung Chi-ping, and Lui Por disappeared from mainland China that same month. Lee Po went missing in Hong Kong in late December.

The startling disappearances of these men led to fears that they had been kidnapped by government agents; their companies specialized in books critical of the Chinese Communist Party, the South China Morning Post reports. China has historically not taken lightly to criticism against the Party.

Mr. Gui, who had been detained, was accused by Chinese authorities of ordering his associates to deliver an estimated 4,000 banned books across the Chinese border since October 2014. He remains imprisoned.

As news of Ms. Gui’s upcoming testimony became widespread, long-time friend of Gui Minhai, Bei Ling, told the Post that Angela received a message that her father was considering giving up his Swedish citizenship.

“The Swedish government has told Angela that they received a message one or two months ago that Gui is considering giving up his Swedish citizenship,” the dissident poet recalled.

However Bei, who said he did not know how the message came to the Swedish authorities, doubted if Gui said so out of his own free will.

Author Woo Chih-wai, who worked at Causeway Bay Books for two months before Lee Po disappeared, said that Angela Gui’s witness testimony in the U.S. would be “a positive move against a regime that yielded to pressure.”

“It is a regime that succumbs to pressure more than to a pat on the back, so Angela’s move will produce positive results,” he added.

Bei Ling, however, had a more grim outlook. He said that he doubted if her action would be effective in helping her father’s case, though he is still supportive of her desire to testify before the commission.

Ms. Gui will be among other witnesses testifying, including exiled human rights lawyer Teng Biao.