Chinese authorities have disclosed new information about one of the five missing Hong Kong booksellers who disappeared earlier this month. Lee Bo, a British citizen, is “understood” to be in mainland China. This confirms some information from a letter to Lee’s wife, but it doesn’t do much to ease concerns about the Chinese government’s role in the booksellers’ disappearance.
The confirmation was sent to Hong Kong police from Chinese authorities in response to a request for information related to Lee. Lee’s wife had previously received a letter, said to be from Lee, that indicated that he had returned to the mainland freely to help authorities with some kind of investigation. However, the letter’s explanation doesn’t mesh with the fact that Lee left his travel permit behind.
The missing booksellers have been at the center of a growing international controversy, and Lee’s case is particularly fraught with political concerns. If Lee was abducted by Chinese authorities in Hong Kong, it would be a major breach of Hong Kong’s autonomy from mainland China.
Lee Bo is the second bookseller to turn up in mainland China. Gui Minhai, a Swedish citizen who was last seen in Thailand, appeared on a state-run television network and confessed to a hit-and-run incident on the mainland. He also claimed to have voluntarily come to the mainland and turned himself in. Many have questioned the government’s role in the confession, and Gui’s daughter rejected the idea that he went to the mainland voluntarily.
h/t the Guardian
Main image: Getty Images