A Hong Kong bookseller and publisher reported missing last October appeared on Chinese state TV Sunday where he confessed to his involvement in a 2003 fatal hit-and-run case. The disappearance of Gui Minhai and four other Hong Kong booksellers caused international uproar earlier this month.
Gui, a Chinese national who also holds a Swedish passport, reportedly said that he had been on the run for 12 years after being convicted of drunk driving in August 2004. Gui, the owner of the Mighty Current publishing house in Hong Kong, was reportedly sentenced to two years in prison, which was deferred for two years, after he allegedly hit and killed a female college student in the eastern city of Ningbo, 140 miles south of Shanghai.
"I am taking my legal responsibilities, and am willing to accept any punishment," Gui told state broadcaster CCTV, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.
According to reports, activists believed Gui was abducted by Chinese agents during his holiday in Thailand in October. His supporters linked his alleged abduction to his publications that have criticized the Chinese government, CNN reported. Earlier this month, Albert Ho, a Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmaker, told CNN that Gui was working on a book for Causeway Bay Books publishing house about Chinese President Xi Jinping's “love affairs.”
On Sunday, Gui reportedly said that he went to China voluntarily to see his aging mother and get over his guilt about the 2003 hit-and-run incident.
“Going back to my country and turning myself in was voluntary. This was not related to others," he told CCTV in an interview. Gui also asked Swedish authorities not to get involved in the case.
"Even though I am a Swedish national, I truly feel that I am still Chinese and my roots are still in China. So I hope that the Swedish side would respect my personal choice, rights and privacy and let me solve my own problems," he reportedly added.
"We are aware of the information published in news media," a representative from the Swedish Embassy in Beijing told CNN. "We continue to seek clarifications from the Chinese authorities."
Last week, thousands of protesters demonstrated outside offices of Beijing's representative in Hong Kong, chanting "say no to political kidnapping."
The last bookseller to reportedly disappear was Lee Bo, in late December. Lee had raised an alarm after four of his associates went missing in October.