Pro-democracy books in Hong Kong were removed from public libraries to be screened for compliance with China’s new security law, which targets subversion and secession, numerous sources reported.
At least nine books have been removed or marked as “under reviews” on the city’s online library catalog Sunday, days after the security law was put into effect. The actions have heightened concerns that authorities will censor literature, the media, and the internet, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“The book collection must comply with the law of Hong Kong,” a government spokeswoman said. “While legal advice will be sought in the process of the review, the books will not be available for borrowing and reference in libraries.”
1/ More than just punitive measures, the national security law also imposes a mainland-style censorship regime upon this international financial city. Although my books are published years before Hong Kong’s anti-extradition movement, they are now prone to book censorship. https://t.co/2fbyvtcH95
— Joshua Wong 黃之鋒 ???? (@joshuawongcf) July 4, 2020
Among the at least 9 books that have become unavailable is pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong’s book. Wong tweeted Saturday that “the national security law also imposes a mainland-style censorship regime” and that Hong Kong may soon see book banning. (RELATED: ‘I Am Afraid’: China Tightens Grip On Hong Kong With Commissio To Report Dissidents)
The security law enables Beijing to extradite suspects to mainland China for trials, doing away with Hong Kong’s legal and judicial system. The law is designed to suppress any dissent in the territory, mandating Hong Kong’s government include “national security education” in schools, media outlets, and social organizations. Anyone who enters public office is also expected to swear allegiance to Beijing.
China claims the law is necessary to stop the pro-democracy protests that have been occurring in Hong Kong since 2019, and has rejected complaints made by many western countries that accuse Beijing of breaching Hong Kong’s unique freedoms, according to the BBC.