Democracy Books Disappear From Hong Kong Libraries

Democracy Books Disappear From Hong Kong Libraries

City's activist said he believed the removal of the books was sparked by the security law. (AFP)

Hong Kong:

Books written by prominent Hong Kong democracy activists have started to disappear from the city's libraries, online records show, days after Beijing imposed a draconian national security law on the finance hub.

Among the authors whose titles are no longer available are Joshua Wong, one of the city's most prominent young activists, and Tanya Chan, a well known pro-democracy lawmaker.

Beijing's new national security law was imposed on Tuesday and is the most radical shift in how the semi-autonomous city is run since it was handed back to China by Britain in 1997.

China's authoritarian leaders say the powers will restore stability after a year of pro-democracy protests, will not stifle freedoms and will only target a "very small minority".

But it has already sent fear coursing through a city used to speaking openly, with police arresting people for possessing slogans pushing independence or greater autonomy and businesses scrambling to remove protest displays.

Wong said he believed the removal of the books was sparked by the security law.

"White terror continues to spread, the national security law is fundamentally a tool to incriminate speech," he wrote on Facebook, using a phrase that refers to political persecution.

Searches on the public library website showed at least three titles by Wong, Chan and local scholar Chin Wan are no longer available for lending at any of dozens of outlets across the city.

An AFP reporter was unable to find the titles at a public library in the district of Wong Tai Sin on Saturday afternoon.

The city's Leisure and Cultural Services Department, which runs libraries, said books had been removed while it is determined whether they violate the national security law.

"In the process of the review the books will not be available for borrowing and reference," it said.

The law targets acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and colluding with foreign forces.

China says it will have jurisdiction in some cases and empowered its security apparatus to set up shop openly in Hong Kong for the first time, ending the legal firewall between the two.

Rights groups and legal analysts say the broad wording of the law -- which was kept secret until it was enacted -- outlaws certain political views, even if expressed peacefully.

Any promotion of independence or greater autonomy appears to be banned by the legislation. Another vaguely worded provision bans inciting hatred towards the Chinese or Hong Kong government.

On the authoritarian mainland, similar national security laws are routinely used to crush dissent.

The new security law and the removal of books raises questions of whether academic freedom still exists.

Hong Kong has some of Asia's best universities and a campus culture where topics that would be taboo on the mainland are still discussed and written about.

But Beijing has made clear it wants education in the city to become more "patriotic" especially after a year of huge, often violent and largely youth-led pro-democracy protests.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Comments

Related news

«Rare» Pair Of Mahatma Gandhi's Iconic Glasses Go On Sale In UK.

A "rare and important" pair of iconic glasses worn by Indian independence hero Mahatma Gandhi look set to sell for tens of thousands of pounds after a British auction house put them up for sale on...

Mass Looting In Chicago, Shots Fired, Over 100 Arrested.

Chicago police exchanged gunfire with looters and arrested more than 100 people after crowds swarmed Chicago's luxury commercial district early Monday, looting stores, smashing windows and clashing...

Lebanon PM Announces Resignation Of Government Over Deadly Beirut Blasts.

Lebanon's prime minister Hassan Diab announced his government's resignation Monday amid popular outrage over the deadly Beirut port explosion that has reignited angry street protests.

Iran not willing to pay compensation over downed Ukrainian passenger jet.

It's European insurance firms who should be paying, Tehran stands.

Pak Court Indicts Ex-President Asif Ali Zardari, 9 Others In Graft Case.

An anti-corruption court in Pakistan on Monday indicted former President Asif Ali Zardari through video link in a graft case where he was accused of influencing authorities to release loans to front...

By continuing to browse World News (UAZMI), you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and agree to the use of cookies