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Exiled bookseller: 'If they can take Hong Kong back, the next place is Taiwan'

After fleeing Hong Kong for Taiwan, Lam Wing-kee speaks of the danger the island faces and the ordeal of his detention in China.  

Taipei, Nov29.– Lam Wing-kee leans forward in his chair, answering quickly and sharply to issue a warning to the people of his new home, Taiwan. “Be ready now,” he says.

“We should be more alert as citizens, we should get ready,” says the 64-year-old Hongkonger. “If they can take Hong Kong back, the next place, I feel, is Taiwan.”

It’s late in central Taipei at Causeway Bay Books mark II (the previous one in Hong Kong having had to be abandoned). On the 10th floor of a nondescript building, Lam, a wiry, grey-haired bookseller, sits at his desk with a bemused gaze behind thin oval glasses. The desk is neat but crowded with books and a cash register, with revolutionary banners pinned to the front and mementoes entombed under its glass top. Behind him is the single bunk bed where he sleeps.

The shop is crammed with shelves of books on history, culture, economics and politics – primarily Chinese, but there are also books on the Romanovs, Vladimir Putin and Edward Snowden, and books by Hannah Arendt. Near the front door are children’s books, including several Winnie-the-Pooh stories ...

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