A Taiwanese LGBTQ book publisher has criticised the Hong Kong Book Fair for its ban on “indecent” titles after it ordered several of the publisher’s books to be removed.
The fair’s regulations prohibit the sale of Class II “indecent” books under the the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance. Only Class I books – “neither obscene nor indecent” – can be sold.
Taiwan’s G Books told HKFP it is selling a total of 15 titles at a stall set up by the Taiwan Indie Publishers Alliance. It said that none of the titles contained images of nudity.
G Books wrote on Facebook on Saturday that the fair’s organisers ordered a total of nine Class II titles to be removed from the stall, despite the fact that they were packaged in plastic covers featuring warning labels in accordance with Hong Kong laws. The banned titles included A Gentleman’s Wedding, Gay Soldier’s Diary, and Crying Girls.
“We’ve never been faced with this kind of order in previous exhibitions,” wrote the publisher. “We felt extremely stunned.”
“An annual cultural publishing fair in the ‘Pearl of the Orient’… does not permit diversity of speech. Publishers cannot reach their readers in a proud way, without twisting or disguising themselves.”
“The Book Fair suddenly gave its order on the third day of the fair – we managed to sell the books on the first two days,” a G Books spokesperson told HKFP. “This is really unreasonable. Some say that a Christian stall nearby filed a complaint against us, but we can’t prove it.”
G Books added that readers who cannot find the books they are looking for should speak to staff at the Taiwan Indie Publishers Alliance stall.
“Please continue to help minorities make their voices heard,” wrote Hong Kong Democratic Party legislator Roy Kwong in a comment on G Books’ Facebook page.
A spokesperson for the Hong Kong Book Fair declined to comment on the case of G Books. “Exhibitors should submit articles concerned to the Obscene Articles Tribunal for classification if necessary,” he told HKFP.
Located at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wanchai, the Hong Kong Book Fair runs until Tuesday evening.