The United States called on China to clarify the status of five missing Hong Kong booksellers, saying the case raised serious questions about China’s commitment to Hong Kong’s autonomy under the one country, two systems framework.
However, China’s foreign ministry said its law enforcement officials would never do anything illegal.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Hong Kong’s autonomy was fully respected, and that as the territory was China’s, no foreign officials had the right to interfere or offer “not really appropriate” comments about the place..
The booksellers, including Lee Bo, 65, a dual British and Chinese national and owner of a publisher and bookstore specializing in books critical of China’s Communist Party leaders, are believed by many to have been abducted by mainland agents.
The British government is still waiting for responses to its diplomatic requests for information and access to Lee, who disappeared from Hong Kong on Dec. 30.
Lee’s wife visited him in a mainland guesthouse on Jan. 23 and issued a statement saying he was healthy and in good spirits, and that he was a witness in an investigation.
Four other booksellers are believed to be still in mainland detention, including Swedish national Gui Min-hai, who disappeared from the Thai resort town of Pattaya last October.
The disappearances have prompted fears that mainland Chinese authorities may be using shadowy tactics that erode the one country, two systems formula under which Hong Kong has been governed since its return to China from British rule in 1997. Read More