Press Release — China: HRF Applauds Hong Kong Bookseller’s Defiance of Dictatorship


Human Rights Foundation (HRF) commends previously detained Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing Kee’s courage to give a public account of his detention in China. At the end of last year, five employees and owners of a bookstore that published books critical of the Chinese regime were disappeared. Lam, founder of the bookstore, was abducted on October 24, 2015 when he crossed the border into mainland China and was taken to a detention compound in Ningbo. On June 14, the “central special unit,” the operative unit responsible for Lam’s abduction, asked him to return to Hong Kong and bring back a list of the bookstore’s customers. Instead, he defied the unit’s orders and held a press conference. Lam gave a harrowing account of his 18-month experience in detention.

“Lam Wing Kee’s courage to speak out should be applauded by the international community, especially when his previously detained colleagues would not say a single word about their own extrajudicial detention, presumably due to fear of the Chinese regime,” said Thor Halvorssen, president of HRF. “The dictatorial Communist Party must come clean about the despicable abductions it has conducted to suppress dissent, and the international community must be persistent in calling on the regime to answer for its wrongdoings,” added Halvorssen.

Lam spent five months in solitary confinement in a 200 to 300-square-feet room, and guards monitored him 24 hours a day. He was not allowed to contact his family or a lawyer. He also stated that his televised “confession,” which aired this past February on a Chinese channel, was fake and scripted.

Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies.

Read this release in Chinese here.