Books and ideas can be the ultimate threat

Book publishers are an endangered species. Amazon.com may be the most immediate worry for anyone in the book publishing business, where fear of the internet retail giant’s power over content and distribution is pervasive. As a former publisher, I understand the economic challenges of today’s marketplace.

Global publishing industry fears, however, go beyond the mere concern surrounding profit margins and shelf placement. In Hong Kong, publishers and booksellers have a deeper, more immediate worry. They get kidnapped.

Freed bookseller Lam Wing-kee speaks to pro-democracy protesters in front of his book store in Hong Kong on June 18. He says he spent months in detention by mainland Chinese authorities for books critical of China’s Communist leadership. Kin Cheung The Associated Press

Freed bookseller Lam Wing-kee speaks to pro-democracy protesters in front of his book store in Hong Kong on June 18. He says he spent months in detention by mainland Chinese authorities for books critical of China’s Communist leadership. Kin Cheung The Associated Press

Mighty Current book publishers in Hong Kong put out juicy books that likely provoked mainland China’s leadership. Kidnapping the messenger has become an effective way to stop the presses and kill the message. Such brazen actions are a clear warning to regime critics – the Chinese state’s long arm can easily reach across borders.  Read more.