HONG KONG — Freedom is under attack in Hong Kong. What other conclusion can be made when operatives from China are free to reach into Hong Kong and snatch up any citizen they want, spiriting that citizen across the border for an indefinite period of detention, all for the audacity of publishing a book the authorities don’t like?
Hong Kong returned to China in 1997 with the promise that it could govern itself with a high degree of autonomy for 50 years. With that came freedom of press and rule of law, among other guarantees. This arrangement is called “One Country, Two Systems,” and it’s under attack.
Hong Kong bookseller Lee Bo has been missing since Dec. 30. On that evening his wife expected him home for dinner. Instead, he called to say he had left for Shenzhen on urgent business to assist in an investigation. He told her this in Mandarin and not Cantonese. What’s more, Lee had managed to cross the border from Hong Kong into China, though he had left his travel documents at home.
Lee’s wife reported him missing to police but has since retracted that report. Meanwhile, pro-China politicians are contorting themselves to explain away the disappearances of Lee and four other booksellers associated with Causeway Bay Books.
These booksellers are being held against their will. At least two of them, Lee Bo and Gui Minhai, are known to have been renditioned. There can be no doubt that freedom and “One Country, Two Systems” are under attack. There can be no denying that China has grown bolder and more assertive in denying Hong Kong its promised freedoms.