China agrees to talks with Hong Kong over bookseller case

HONG KONG: China agreed on Monday to talks with Hong Kong within the wake of explosive revelations by a metropolis bookseller who stated he was detained for eight months on the mainland, as fears develop that Beijing is tightening its grip.

Lam Wing-kee was considered one of 5 staff of a Hong Kong agency — which printed gossipy books about main Chinese language politicians — to go mysteriously lacking final yr. All later emerged in mainland China.

Lam, 61, has stated he was seized after crossing the border into the southern Chinese language metropolis of Shenzhen, taken away blindfolded after which stored in a cell, beneath interrogation and with out entry to his household or a lawyer, for alleged involvement in bringing banned books into the mainland.

Hong Kong’s Beijing-backed chief government Leung Chun-ying, who has been accused of dragging his ft over the case, stated final week he had written to Beijing relaying native issues, amid rising anxiousness that the semi-autonomous metropolis’s freedoms are disappearing.

In a brief assertion Monday, Leung stated he had acquired a reply from Beijing “to start out dialogue on the present notification mechanism between the 2 locations”.

Underneath that system, authorities on the mainland are required to provide clear particulars about arrests and detentions of Hong Kong residents over the border, a process critics say went disastrously fallacious within the booksellers’ case.

Beijing’s public safety ministry confirmed the discussions ought to happen as quickly as potential. “The prevailing notification mechanism has been in operation for greater than a decade and it’s essential to be improved,” the ministry stated in a press release, inviting the Hong Kong authorities to ship a delegation to Beijing.

In the course of the talks, authorities within the mainland would additionally temporary Hong Kong about Lam’s case, the assertion stated.

Leung expressed gratitude for what he described as a “optimistic response”.  He stated final week that he had requested Beijing to make clear how related mainland departments deal with instances during which Hong Kong individuals have damaged mainland legal guidelines, and whether or not or not mainland personnel had carried out cross-border regulation enforcement within the metropolis.

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