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The International Publishers Association (IPA) in Geneva has expressed extreme concern over media reports in the Guardian and Wall Street Journal, and other media, that books by prominent Hong Kong protester, Joshua Wong, and Hong Kong politician, Tanya Chan, have been removed from public libraries and bookshops following the implementation of the new Chinese Security Law in Hong Kong on 1 July.
Kristenn Einarsson, Chair of the IPA’s Freedom to Publish Committee said: “Banned books are a worldwide problem, but these reports suggest that the impact in Hong Kong of the new Security Law will be felt immediately. It is extremely concerning. We stand with publishing colleagues anywhere who are affected by book bans and call on governments around the world to protect the right to publish freely in their countries.”
Wong tweeted: “Less than a week after #NationalSecurityLaw has been put in place, #Hongkong‘s public libraries started to put books under review and suspend them from lending, including two of mine published in 2013 and 2015.
The IPA has previously expressed concern about the situation for publishers in Hong Kong in connection with the now-closed Causeway Bay bookshop and publishing house co-owned by Gui Minhai, the Hong Kong publisher who was named the 2018 IPA Prix Voltaire laureate. Gui is currently in jail in China and the IPA continues to call for his release.
The new Chinese Security Law punishes what the government in Beijing defines as crimes of secession, subversion and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison. Schools have been ordered to remove books that might “endanger” national security. The situation is being closely watched by freedom of speech bodies around the world.