Books Are Vanishing in Hong Kong Libraries

Authorities are 'one step away from ... actual book banning,' says activist Joshua Wong
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2020 1:20 PM CDT
Books Are Vanishing in Hong Kong Libraries
Occupy Central leader Tanya Chan speaks before entering a court in Hong Kong, Wednesday, April 24, 2019.   (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

Now unavailable in Hong Kong libraries: books by leading democracy activists. At least nine titles by authors like Joshua Wong and Tanya Chan are disappearing from city libraries only days after China passed a severe national security law, the South China Morning Post reports. The agency in charge of Hong Kong's public libraries—the Leisure and Cultural Services Department—confirms it's examining some books. "A new law has come into effect ... so the Hong Kong authorities are reviewing these books to see if they stick to the new law or not, and under this situation the books cannot be checked out for readers now," says a City Hall Public Library employee. "After our review, then we will update the situation of the books to see if you can borrow it or not."

Beijing says the new law will bring back stability after a year of pro-democracy demonstrations, but the wording appears broad enough to quash certain political views—like support for greater autonomy or independence, per NDTV. "My books were published years before Hong Kong’s anti-extradition movement, and yet they are now prone to book censorship under the new law, one step away from ... actual book banning," says Wong. Meanwhile, prominent activist Nathan Law has fled Hong Kong as Reuters reports that activists are mulling a "parliament in exile" to keep the democracy movement alive. Whether dissent can exist in city libraries remains to be seen. ("It's sad that Hong Kong is dead.")

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