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Causeway Bay Books

  • Date:2023-08-07
Causeway Bay Books

Chinese Name: 銅鑼灣書店

Location: Taipei City (Northern Taiwan)

Established: March 31, 2020

Address: 10F-2, No. 5-1, Nanjing W. Rd., Taipei City

Operating Hours: Tues.-Sun. 12:00 pm-6:00 pm

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Did You Know?

Causeway Bay Books was originally located in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. In addition to selling regular cultural, artistic, and historical books, this bookstore was also known for selling banned books that could not be published or sold in China. Many Chinese tourists visiting Hong Kong would make a special trip to this bookstore to purchase political books.

From October to December 2015, there was an incident where the shareholders and employees of Causeway Bay Books went missing. The missing individuals were Gui Minhai (桂民海) and Lui Bo (呂波), shareholders of the bookstore’s parent company, as well as business manager Cheung Chi-ping (張志平), operator Lam Wing-kee (林榮基), and store manager Lee Bo (李波). After being missing for three months, it was confirmed that all of them were in China and under the control of the authorities. The bookstore had already been emptied of its books prior to this, and it was forced to close down.


On June 14, 2016, store manager Lam Wing-kee returned to Hong Kong from China and held a press conference two days later to reveal his detention by the authorities. Lam disclosed during the press conference that China had demanded him to hand over customer information regarding the purchase of banned books, but he refused. While Hong Kong enjoys freedom of speech and publication under the Basic Law, this incident of disappearance triggered a chilling effect, causing many authors, publishers, printing houses, and bookstores to fear being pursued by the Chinese government and subsequently giving up on publishing politically sensitive books.

After the Causeway Bay Books incident, store manager Lam Wing-kee realized that Hong Kong’s democratic freedoms had been shattered. He was not the first Hong Konger to be coerced, nor would he be the last. Therefore, he resolutely decided to come to Taiwan, where freedom of publication still exists. In 2019, Lam Wing-kee launched an online crowdfunding campaign called “Restart Causeway Bay Books,” hoping to relaunch the bookstore in the Ximending area of Taipei. In the end, Lam Wing-kee successfully raised over NT$5.97 million and reopened Causeway Bay Books.

When asked why he chose to restart Causeway Bay Books in Taiwan, Lam Wing-kee emphasized that besides the shared language and a market for selling Chinese books, the most important reason was that books are being censored in Hong Kong. Any content that involves criticizing the government or exposing Chinese political secrets cannot be sold. However, Taiwan has freedom of speech and publication, and neither book content nor circulation are restricted, providing the bookstore with a great space for survival. He also believed that Taiwan’s atmosphere of freedom and democracy is an important foundation for the bookstore to convey knowledge through book sales, allowing different perspectives to exchange and greatly assisting the bookstore industry, education, and social development.

Most of the books at Causeway Bay Books focus on politics and history, supplemented by translated literature, poetry collections, and art books, clearly categorized in different sections on the bookshelves. Books related to Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China are not only placed in prominent positions but also have dedicated sections. The wide range of books provides readers with diverse perspectives for contemplation.

Lam Wing-kee has his own standards when it comes to book selection. Political books at Causeway Bay Books prioritize investigation over criticism. He believes that if the content only consists of accusations or insults without logical and systematic research, readers will still not understand the impact and relevance of the events after reading.

Lam also mentions that the person selecting books must have a deep understanding of the long-term social context. If the bookstore owner is not familiar enough with the areas dealt with by the books, the selection will lack persuasiveness. Due to Lam’s background from Hong Kong and years of experience in running a bookstore, he has a sufficient understanding of issues related to China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, making his selection of books highly trusted by readers.

Lam Wing-kee admits that many Taiwanese lack awareness of the current situation in their country, and there are few bookstores specializing in selling political books in Taiwan. He hopes that Causeway Bay Books, with its characteristic and advantageous professional book selection, can help more people understand the predicament Taiwan is facing, thereby eliminating factors that destabilize society and promoting a more stable and harmonious national development. At the same time, Lam Wing-kee also hopes that Causeway Bay Books in Taiwan can become a guardian of culture, rooted in humanity, promoting democratic values through the exchange of thoughts and culture, and playing a role in preserving Hong Kong’s culture and connecting the Hong Kong-Taiwan mutual assistance network.