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Mr. Yiu, a retired engineer, forged a second career as a small publisher who issued books on subjects and by authors taboo in mainland China. One of his planned ventures before his arrest last year was a critical polemic about Mr. Xi by Yu Jie, a Chinese writer in exile in the United States.
The police in Shenzhen, the southern Chinese city adjacent to Hong Kong, detained Mr. Yiu after he crossed the border last November and alleged that he had made trips to smuggle deceptively labeled chemicals to avoid taxes and duties. Ding Xikui, a lawyer for Mr. Yiu, said his client had acknowledged some wrongdoing, but Mr. Ding and another defense lawyer had argued at the trial in March for a light sentence, claiming Mr. Yiu was not the main culprit.
[...] Mr. Yiu’s supporters have argued that the charges were selectively used against him, because of his publishing activities, even if he did acknowledge some culpability. Publishers and journalists in Hong Kong have said that increasing pressure from Chinese authorities, including indirect commercial threats, has eroded the city’s freedom of expression. Some have alleged that an attack on a prominent editor in February was intended to send a chilling message to the media. [Source]