Thinkers & Advocates

Gui Minhai

A small Swedish bookseller’s detention keeps Chinese human rights in the spotlight.

Co-Owner, Mighty Current Media

“Who will remember my father?” asked Gui Minhai’s daughter, Angela, in an Oct. 17 editorial in the Washington Post. It marked the one-year anniversary of Gui’s abduction; security camera footage showed him being kidnapped while staying at his vacation home in Thailand on Oct. 17, 2015, but he later reappeared on Chinese Central Television to confess — under seeming duress — to drunk driving in the Chinese city of Ningbo. His daughter has been unable to contact him.

In reality, it’s evident that Gui, a Swedish citizen, was detained by Chinese authorities because he co-founded a Hong Kong-based book publisher that specialized in gossip about Chinese leaders; other Hong Kong booksellers have been jailed too, but later released. Despite the fact that Hong Kong law vouchsafes freedom of speech, Gui was one of several Hong Kong-based booksellers detained by Beijing authorities in 2015 for selling books distasteful to Communist authorities. The United States has said it is “deeply concerned” over the still-imprisoned Gui, and in May 2016, his daughter testified before a U.S. Congressional commission about China’s wide-ranging attempts to silence dissent, which includes the kidnapping of foreign citizens outside of Chinese borders. Beijing wants discussion of its poor human rights record out of the U.S.-China relationship, but figures like Gui keep it on the tip of Americans’ tongues.

(Photo Credit: CNTV)

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