One of the five booksellers who had mysteriously disappeared in recent months appeared in an interview on state media on Sunday night, saying he had surrendered to the mainland authorities after being on the run for more than 12 years.
Gui Minhai – a China-born Swedish national and co-owner of Mighty Current publishing company, which specialises in books banned on the mainland – appeared on China Central Television (CCTV), admitting he had been fleeing from a suspended two-year jail term since causing the death of a 20-year-old university student while drink-driving in Ningbo, Zhejiang, in 2004.
One of the conditions of the sentence was that he stay on the mainland.
“I was afraid of going to jail, and there was no way I could develop on the mainland, so I thought I better run,” Gui said.
He surrendered to mainland police in October. He had been on holiday in
“I have to shoulder my own liability, and I’m willing to be punished,” Gui said, sobbing.
During the recorded interview, which the state broadcaster said was filmed in a detention centre, Gui also asked the Swedish authorities to stay away.
“Even though I am a Swedish national, I truly feel that I am still Chinese, and my roots are still in
CCTV also reported that Gui had been involved in other criminal activities, and the related persons were also being investigated.
【銅鑼灣書店東主現身央視】【稱為撞死女子案回內地自首】銅鑼灣書店東主桂民海失蹤多時後，周日晚上在中央電視台現身。他強調，向公安自首是要「自己解決自己問題」，不希望外界惡意炒作。桂民海在訪問強調，自首是個人自願選擇，與任何人無關，不希望有人和機構介入或干預，甚至進行惡意炒作。他指要承擔自己的法律責任，願意接受任何處罰，又特別提到自己雖然有瑞典國籍，但希望瑞典能夠尊重他的個人選擇。新華社晚上亦發出桂民海的專訪，指他返回內地，是為了 2003 年醉駕撞死一名女子，期後潛逃的案件向公安自首。新華社指桂民海除了潛逃，還涉嫌干犯其他罪行，接受調查期間寫了多份悔過書。＃銅鑼灣書店 ＃桂民海 ＃李波Posted by 有線新聞 i-Cable News on Sunday, 17 January 2016
Xinhua also carried the report at about the same time last night.
Almost two weeks ago the Swedish ministry for foreign affairs announced it was taking a “serious view” of Gui’s disappearance, summoning the Thai ambassador and launching an investigation both in
“Our embassy in
Mighty Current has published about 80 books on
The bookstore was established in 1994 and was said to be popular among mainland tourists as they could buy political books banned at home.
But Gui’s explanation for his detention was immediately met with scepticism by his own daughter, rights groups and
Gui’s daughter, known only as Angela, said it was not possible he had surrendered voluntarily when quoted by Apple Daily.
The newspaper reported Gui’s daughter had released a statement saying she had no way to confirm the authenticity of the reported drink-driving case, and she had never heard of such a case from her parents.
Further, nativist group Hong Kong Indigenous points out in a post on Facebook that there are discrepancies throughout the video, including change in hair length on Gui, different lighting throughout the clip. Perhaps the most noticeable inconsistency is that Gui's shirt beneath his jacket changes back and forth between a light grey one and a black one.
Within an hour of the CCTV broadcast of Gui’s interview, the online publication Headline Daily announced the wife of fellow missing bookseller Lee Bo had received another letter from her husband.
The report claimed she had received a two-page handwritten letter from Lee, stating he was fine and healthy and the investigation by the mainland authorities had made “good progress”.
The report went on to say Lee had claimed in the letter he had found out Gui had a “complicated personal history”, was “involved in other crimes” and was a “morally unacceptable person”. He said he had become involved as a result of Gui’s behaviour.
Lee has been contacted by the Post but has not replied to calls.
The other missing employees include the publishing company’s general manager Lui Bo, staff member Cheung Jiping, and bookstore manager Lam Wing-kei, all of whom disappeared in southern
Lee Bo, 65, last seen in
Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s