Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the four-year legal drama involving the Chinese-Swedish bookseller Gui Minhai has largely dropped out of the headlines. On February 25 he was sentenced in China to 10 years in prison for ‘illegally providing intelligence overseas’.
Gui, a 55-year-old Swedish citizen, was publisher of the Hong Kong-based Causeway Bay Books, known for their scandalous stories about China’s political elite. The publications he sold, and sometimes wrote, are legal in Hong Kong but banned on mainland China.
Along with four other booksellers, Gui went missing in 2015. He disappeared from his holiday home in Thailand only to reappear months later on Chinese state television confessing that he had turned himself in following a hit-and-run accident that had taken place 10 years earlier. For two years he was held without charge.