Attacked Hong Kong bookseller opens new shop in Taiwan | News | DW | 25.04.2020
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Attacked Hong Kong bookseller opens new shop in Taiwan

Lam Wing-kee, the owner of Causeway Bay Books, had previously been detained by Chinese authorities for selling books critical of Chinese leaders. The opening of the new store came days after he was attacked in Taipei.

A pro-democracy Hong Kong bookseller previously detained by Chinese authorities opened a new store in Taiwan on Saturday, in defiance of what he called official Chinese intimidation.

Lam Wing-kee, the former owner of Hong Kong's Causeway Bay Books, which carried texts that criticized Chinese leaders, was detained in 2015 and his shop subsequently destroyed. Lam vanished, and resurfaced in custody in mainland China that year

He was allowed to return to Hong Kong in 2016, under the condition that he pick up a computer hard drive that listed bookstore customers and return to the mainland. However, he did not return.  

The opening of his new bookstore, under the same name, came just days after he was attacked in Taipei, and a year after he fled to Taiwan when Hong Kong announced a now-withdrawn proposal to allow extraditions to China. 

"The reopening is very meaningful," Lam told reporters. "Causeway Bay Books was destroyed by China through violent means. The reopening proves Taiwan is a place with freedom and democracy and we still have the right to read books," he said.

Lam was able to reopen the shop with the help of an online crowdfunding campaign, where he raised roughly $200,000 (€185,000).

Watch video 05:16

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Read more: Daniel Lee, independent bookseller in Hong Kong: 'Our future looks very grim'

Lam calls for resistance outside of Hong Kong

Police were present at the opening, where banners that said "Free Hong Kong, revolution now" and "Taiwan Independence" were displayed.

Lam also urged young people to leave Hong Kong and continue their resistance efforts from outside the city. 

"For example, my opening a bookstore in Taiwan is also a way to show resistance against China," Lam said. 

On Tuesday, a man smeared Lam with red paint while he was at a cafe. Police arrested three men on Wednesday for alleged involvement in the attack, which came just a day after he received a letter threatening legal action from a person who claimed to have already trademarked the bookstore's name. 

Read more: Opinion: Press freedom in Hong Kong under threat

Police are also investigating a death threat sent to a government agency's Facebook page against him. 

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen sent flowers to the opening, while a handful of high-profile Taiwanese politicians attended in-person. China still sees self-ruling democratic Taiwan as part of its territory and has vowed to one day seize the island nation.  

Tsai has promoted Taiwan as a place that values democracy and has encouraged organizations that are banned from China to move to Taiwan.

"I feel very proud of Taiwan's democratic system and of Taiwan valuing the rule of law and human rights," parliament speaker Yu Shyi-kun, who visited Lam's shop on Saturday, told reporters. "I am here to congratulate him for reopening his bookstore and to cheer him on," he added.

Watch video 03:00

HK bookseller who fled to Taiwan attacked with red paint

lc/sms (dpa, AFP)

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