China arrests media mogul, sentences bookseller to 10 years

Domestic News

gui

SupChina illustration by Derek Zheng

Swedish bookseller Guì Mǐnhǎi 桂敏海 was sentenced to 10 years in prison on trumped-up charges of “providing intelligence” overseas. Gui had adopted Swedish citizenship in the 1990s but the Chinese government claimed that he had renounced it, and therefore stood trial as a Chinese citizen.

Gui had run a bookstore and publishing house based in Hong Kong that sold books critical of the Chinese government and Communist Party leaders. His sentencing has deepened diplomatic tensions with Sweden, which is demanding that China release him.

Also last week, the Hong Kong government arrested a pro-democracy media mogul. The South China Morning Post reports:

  • Media mogul Jimmy Lai (黎智英 Lǐ Zhìyīng), and former lawmakers Lee Cheuk-yan (李卓人 Lǐ Zhuōrén) and Yeung Sum (楊森 Yáng Sēn) were arrested on Friday morning on charges of taking part in an illegal assembly during the anti-government protests in Hong Kong on August 31 last year. Lai was also accused of “intimidating” a reporter at an event in 2017.
  • The three were released on police bail at noon, after being detained at different police stations from around 7 a.m.

Jimmy Lai’s Apple Daily is among the most influential Chinese-language publications in the city, and frequently publishes anti-government editorials. Lai himself wrote in the Wall Street Journal just two weeks ago that “There is no cure for Chinese communism except the collapse of the Party.”

For more on Jimmy Lai’s arrest, see our Q&A with Mark Simon, Group Director of Lai’s Trust, which controls all of Jimmy Lai’s companies.