Saturday, January 23, 2016

Baidu Begins Censoring "Gui Minhai" - Hong Kong Bookseller Detained in China

On January 17, 2016, the state sponsored Global Times published an article entitled “‘Missing’ HK Bookseller Turns Himself in to Mainland Police for Drunk Driving Killing of a College Girl in 2003”. Some excerpts:
One of the five missing Hong Kong booksellers has said that he returned to the Chinese mainland to turn himself in after 11 years on the run for killing a college student while driving drunk, the Xinhua News Agency reported Sunday.  

"Returning to the Chinese mainland and surrendering was my personal choice and had nothing to do with anyone else. I should shoulder my responsibility and I don't want any individual or institutions to interfere, or viciously hype up my return," Gui told Xinhua. He is currently being held in a detention center, the location of which was not mentioned.
. . . .
Mystery has been surrounding the whereabouts of Gui and 4 other booksellers. Previous reports said that Gui went missing while vacationing in Thailand in the middle of October 2015. He had sent an e-mail to his printers on October 15, asking his co-workers to get ready for a new book.
On January 19, 2016, the Hu Xijin, editor of the Global Times, published an editorial under his pen name “Shan Renping” (单仁平) entitled "Don’t Distort Publisher Case into Mainland-HK Dispute." Some excerpts:
A Xinhua News Agency investigative article on Sunday revealed the story behind Gui Minhai, one of five missing Hong Kong publishers. Gui, a China-born Swedish citizen, was involved in a fatal car accident when drunk driving, in which a female college student was killed. He was sentenced to a suspended two-year jail term, and then fled abroad. He confessed his crime to Chinese mainland authorities in October last year. He was shown on State broadcaster China Central Television on Sunday night.

His appearance soon sparked speculation that he was detained by mainland authorities because of a bookshop known for selling works that maliciously attack the mainland's political systems.

How could such a person as Gui, who was serving a suspended jail term, manage to stay in Hong Kong and conduct activities which do damage to Chinese society? After his confession, some Hongkongers intentionally exaggerated this case. But his wrongdoing, before the case was revealed,  had been intentionally ignored. Those Hongkongers deliberately pick up particular legal affairs.
. . . .
Some in the Hong Kong opposition believe that "one country, two systems" grants Hong Kong the right to confront the mainland and the central government, plus Hong Kong is the bastion of any extreme or illegal actions that would shake the mainland's political systems.

Hong Kong and the mainland should not confront each other. Anyone should not try to find a "legal space" in the Basic Law where the mainland and Hong Kong face off. The difference of judiciary systems in the two parts should not be highlighted and distorted as a crackdown on freedom in Hong Kong.
These screenshots show that on January 21, 2016, Baidu began censoring search results for two spellings of “Gui Minhai” (桂敏海 and 桂民海).

Translation: Xu Zhiyong's Statement in His Own Defense

 Source: China Digital Times: On April 10, 2023, Xu Zhiyong, a well-known human rights de...