Last bookshop in HK selling titles banned by China’s communist party shuts down
INQUIRER.net / 03:23 PM October 31, 2018
People’s Bookshop, the last bookshop in Hong Kong that sells books banned under the Communist Party of China, was recently shut down, a move that leaves people pondering over the apparent uncertain future of Hong Kong’s heaving independent publishing industry.
The bookshop, located in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay district, is known as the city’s last and only source of “literary contraband,” according to The Guardian on Oct. 31. Many locals believe that the bookshop was closed by bookseller Paul Tang following government pressure.
“[Hong Kong] was once the place where mainland readers came looking for the truth,” a frequent visitor of the bookshop, unidentified, was quoted as saying. “But today, you’re afraid to even mention these forbidden topics.”
It was back in 2015 when five booksellers who published books critical of China’s censorship went missing. The booksellers were associated with publisher Mighty Current, which was known for its gossipy titles that targeted political scandals in China. Mighty Current books are banned in mainland China, but are available in Hong Kong, where customers can go and freely read about unspeakable topics such as politics, religion and sex.
“This is a very worrying situation,” Agnes Chow Ting, social activist and member of the pro-democracy party Demosisto, said in the report. “A lot of chained bookstores and book publishers in Hong Kong are controlled by liaison office of the Chinese government.”
The closure of bookshops and disappearances of booksellers left, right and center pose unanswered questions, with many wringing hands over just what else could happen next, now that dissenting avenues and voices that challenged the censorship in China are no more. Cody Cepeda/JB