Two Hong Kong Booksellers Released

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Two of the five Hong Kong booksellers who were taken into custody last year by Chinese authorities have returned home, according to Hong Kong police. Cheung Chi-ping and Lui Por told police to cancel the missing persons cases that were filed when they disappeared and said they need no further assistance from police. Chinese officials had earlier indicated that they would be released. It is not clear whether they are expected to return to the mainland for further legal proceedings.

Cheung and Lui are employees of Mighty Current, a publisher and bookseller that has distributed books critical of the Chinese government. Three other men, including the co-owners of Mighty Current, remain in custody. One of them, Lee Bo, recently met with Hong Kong police and assured them that he had voluntarily returned to the mainland to assist police in their investigation.

Several of the men appeared on Chinese television recently and said they had been detained for “illegal book trading,” supposedly admitting to having delivered books to China without a license.

The American Booksellers Association has joined PEN American Center and other groups in protesting the arrest of the Mighty Current booksellers as a threat to freedom of expression in Hong Kong.