Washington, Feb 2: The US has expressed concerns over the disappearance of five Hong Kong residents associated with a publisher involved in production of books banned in China, saying it raises "serious questions" about Beijing's commitment to the territory's autonomy.
The five residents are associated with Mighty Current Media and the Causeway Bay Bookstore and have disappeared since October from mainland China or Thailand.
"We continue to follow closely the developments of these cases," State Department Spokesman John Kirby told reporters. "These cases, including two involving individuals holding European passports, raise serious questions about China's commitment to Hong Kong's autonomy under the 'one country, two systems' framework as well as its respect for the protection of universal human rights and fundamental freedoms," he said.
Kirby urged China to clarify the current status of all five individuals and the circumstances surrounding their disappearances and to allow them to return to their homes.