Lam Wing-kei (林榮基), the former manager of Hong Kong-based Causeway Bay Books who was detained for eight months by Chinese agents and released in June last year, was quoted by Japanese media on Friday as saying that he plans to open a bookstore in Taiwan later this year.
Lam has made several visits to Taiwan since his ordeal, most recently to attend the Taipei International Book Exhibition in February.
“In terms of protection of quaternary sectors of the economy such as medicine, science and education, Hong Kong can’t be discussed on equal terms with Taiwan,” Lam told the Nikkei newspaper in an interview.
Photo: Chen Yi-kuan, Taipei Times
He said he aims to open the bookstore in the second half of the year, with the assistance of an anonymous Hong Kong-based democracy advocacy group.
“The most important thing is finding the right people and the right location,” Lam said, adding that he would not be involved in the day-to-day operations of the store, but would act as a consultant.
“It’s more symbolic than anything else — symbolic of resistance, like what Causeway Bay Books was,” he said.
Lam said he is 90 percent sure about the plans to open a bookstore to Taiwan, adding: “Taiwan could help Hong Kong by planting the seed of independence and a new philosophy.”
“This ‘independence’ is not just referring to political independence, but also spiritual independence,” he said.
Causeway Bay Books was popular with tourists in search of books banned in China. From October to December 2015, Lam and four other people associated with the bookstore went missing.
One of the five, Gui Minhai (桂民海) — publisher and co-owner of Mighty Current (巨流), the parent company of Causeway Bay Books — remains in custody.
Lee Bo (李波), a major shareholder of the bookstore, was taken to China directly from Hong Kong on Dec. 30, prompting concerns that Beijing is tightening its grip on the semi-autonomous territory.
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