Lam Wing-Kee, a Hong Kong bookseller who disappeared last year claims that Chinese authorities had detained him for eight months and forced a confession of illegal trading out of him.

Lam was one of five missing Hong Kong booksellers who mysteriously disappeared last year. Four out of the five who were allegedly detained have now returned to Hong Kong.

Lam returned to Hong Kong from the Chinese mainland earlier this week and told a news conference that he was arrested in Shenzhen last October. He claims that he was taken on a long train journey before being held in a small room. He was allegedly interrogated about the sales of books that were banned in the mainland.

“If we remain silent, if I, myself – being the least vulnerable among the five booksellers – remain silent, Hong Kong will become hopeless. It took lots of courage, and two sleepless nights of consideration, for me to decide to share the whole story with you, and tell the whole world that this incident is not only about me nor the bookstore. It’s about the core values that the people of Hong Kong need to safeguard. Hong Kong people should not bow down before power,” Lam Wing-kee said.

A protest was organised by the pro-democracy Demosisto party in Hong Kong on Friday. The South China Morning Post reports that Lam led an estimated 6000 Hongkongers in the protest.

“The bookstore is located in Hong Kong, a place where the freedom of speech and of publishing is protected. And the country is making use of violence to destroy it, because the country wants to tighten the freedom of Hong Kong people gradually,” Lam said.

SCMP quotes Hung Yip, a 68-year-old retired civil servant, who said, “This is the first time that I’m taking part in a march … I was very sad to hear what happened to Lam. Since I was small, Hong Kong was a very good place, but it’s been more and more divided since the handover.”

Pro-Beijing Voice of Loving Hong Kong protesters also showed up to meet the marchers in Wan Chai, with signs that read “it was right to arrest Lam, it was shameful for anti-China politicians to accuse Beijing.” SCMP reports that these protesters were shouting, “you are anti-China and messing up Hong Kong.”

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