According to Hong Kong democracy activist Howard Lam, a group of men he believes are mainland Chinese agents interrogated and beat him, and stapled his skin in cross formations after asking him if he is Christian. Badiucao responds to reports of the brutal attack by depicting Lam as an umbrella-wielding “Tank Man” confronting a giant stapler, in a nod to both the 2014 Hong Kong pro-democracy protests and those in Beijing in 1989:
“Stapler Tank” by Badiucao for CDT:
Lam is a member of Hong Kong’s Democratic Party and a supporter of late Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo. After learning that Liu was a fan of soccer and in particular Argentinian superstar Lionel Messi, Lam had written to Messi’s soccer club F.C. Barcelona to ask for his signed photo to give to Liu who was ailing from liver cancer in a Shenyang hospital. The photo did not arrive until after Liu passed on July 13. After that, Lam says he received a phone call warning him against sending the photo to Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, whose whereabouts have been unknown since her husband’s funeral.
At a press conference on Friday, Lam recounted the incident which left him with staples in his legs. Austin Ramzy and Alan Wong report for The New York Times:
Mr. Lam said he was shopping Thursday for a trip to the United States in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong when two men approached him. “We’d like to have a chat,” they said in Mandarin before forcing him into a van, he said.
The men hit him, took his phone and forced him to inhale something that made him faint, Mr. Lam said. When he awoke, he had been stripped to his underwear and tied up, he said. The men began to question him about Ms. Liu and warned him not to “cause trouble.”
Mr. Lam said the men asked him whether he was Christian, then one said he would “give you some crosses” and drove staples into his legs in a cross pattern. He said he lost consciousness after again being forced to inhale something and woke early Friday on a remote beach. [Source]
Hong Kong police have said they are investigating the incident. From Tony Cheung and Christy Leung of the South China Morning Post:
Police commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung said detectives were already on the case, and while they were still establishing the facts, he would not tolerate other law enforcement agencies carrying out duties beyond their jurisdiction.
The allegations are serious, and the force attaches great importance to the case,” Lo said, appealing to the public to report crimes promptly, as delays would allow culprits time to flee or destroy evidence.
Shortly after 4pm on Friday, police officers were seen looking for evidence in Yau Ma Tei. They entered the shop where Lam bought the soccer jersey. Officers also went to Sai Kung to collect evidence.
“There is no footage that captured where Lam went after he left the shop,” a police source told the Post. “ None of the footage that we have screened so far showed any suspicious person around that area. But we are still investigating the case on the basis of unlawful detention and trying to get hold of more CCTV footage.” [Source]
Several recent incidents involving detention of or attacks on Hong Kong residents who are critical of Beijing’s leadership have raised concerns in the territory over China’s encroaching control. Five Hong Kong booksellers and publishers were detained in 2016 and brought to the mainland, while journalists in Hong Kong have also been threatened and attacked.
You can send support Badiucao by buying “Watching Big Brother: Political Cartoons by Badiucao,” available in EPUB and PDF formats. The book covers the early years of Xi’s presidency, from December 2013 to January 2016. No contribution is required, but all donations will go to Badiucao to support his artwork. CDT is also selling merchandise featuring Badiucao’s work in our Zazzle store. See also a Q&A with Badiucao in which he discusses his artistic and personal influences, and his earlier cartoons for CDT.