Kidnapped from a five-star hotel in Hongkong and appearing in a mainland China prison thereafter. This happened to a number of billionaires and publishers knwon to be critical to the China government. Suspicion of China was worsened on Sunday when many citizens said they no longer trust the Hong Kong government to stick to promises that critics would never be sent to the mainland.
As a consequence, Hong Kong witnessed its largest street protest in at least 15 years on Sunday as crowds massed against plans to allow extraditions to China, a proposal that has sparked a major backlash against the city’s pro-Beijing leadership.
At least 150,000 people marched in blazing summer heat through the cramped streets of the financial hub’s main island in a noisy, colorful demonstration calling on the government to scrap its planned extradition law. The city’s pro-Beijing leaders are pushing a bill through the legislature that would allow extraditions to any jurisdiction with which it does not already have a treaty — including mainland China for the first time.
In a growing number of cases over the past few years, China has used state-sponsored kidnapping as a means of delivering rough justice to individuals abroad. Both Chinese citizens and foreign nationals have been forcibly repatriated back to China, many to disappear into long-term incommunicado detention for months or even years at a time. Prominent examples include the Hong Kong-based publisher Gui Minhai, who was kidnapped from his home in Thailand in October 2015 and held for roughly two years without charge or trial. He was released into a form of modified house arrest in October 2017. As far as is known, Gui was denied access to an attorney for the entire time he was in detention.
At times, Chinese authorities have even snatched individuals from Hong Kong, even though mainland security officials are legally barred from operating in Hong Kong without permission. Billionaire businessman Xiao Jianhua was nabbed from Hong Kong’s Four Seasons Hotel on January 2017, for example, and spirited across the border into China. More than two years later, it is unclear when or even whether he will face a criminal trial.