Hong Kong bookseller detained again by Chinese authorities

By The Canadian Press
January 22, 2018 - 6:45pm

HONG KONG — A Hong Kong-based bookseller who was secretly detained in China has been taken away by Chinese authorities again after being released into house arrest last October, his daughter said Monday.

Angela Gui told Radio Sweden, the English-language service of national broadcaster Sveriges Radio, that her father, Gui Minhai, was on a train with two Swedish diplomats when a group of police officers seized him.

Gui, a Chinese-born Swedish national, ran a Hong Kong publishing company specializing in gossipy tales about high-level Chinese politics when he disappeared from his Thai holiday home about two years ago. He was believed to have been spirited away by Chinese security agents to mainland China, where he later turned up in police custody.

Four employees were also held, but they were released within months while Gui was not freed until October. Even then, his daughter told the station, he was put into a "police-managed flat" in the city of Ningbo, near Shanghai, and remained under surveillance.

The case reinforced rising fears that Beijing was eroding rule of law in Hong Kong, a semiautonomous Chinese city that is promised civil liberties like freedom of speech until 2047. The books the group sold at their Causeway Bay Bookshop were popular with visitors from mainland China, where such titles were banned.

Angela Gui said her father was travelling to Beijing to see a Swedish doctor after he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a neurological disease that he developed while in custody.

He had arranged the visit with the Swedish Embassy and had been on the train for about five hours when 10 police officers got on at a stop outside of Beijing.

They "said they were from the police and just grabbed him and just took him away," she said.

"It's quite clear that he has been abducted again and that he's held somewhere in a secret location," she said, adding that she was worried because of his health condition.

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom later told Sveriges Radio that the Nordic country will summon the Chinese ambassador over Gui's detention.

"The Swedish government has a thorough knowledge of what has happened," Wallstrom said, adding that the Swedish foreign ministry is working on the issue "around the clock."

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Radio Sweden: http://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=2054&artikel=6867297

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Associated Press writer Jari Tanner in Helsinki contributed to this report.

Kelvin Chan, The Associated Press

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