Home 5 Articles and Reports 5 Freedom of Speech in Hong Kong. The IPA is “very concerned”

Freedom of Speech in Hong Kong. The IPA is “very concerned”

by | Sep 20, 2022 | Articles and Reports, News

Concern Ove Freedom of Speech in Hong Kong

The International Publishers Association (IPA) says it is “very concerned” over the freedom of speech situation in Hong Kong after five speech therapists-turned authors and publishers, were sentenced to 19 months in prison.

The individuals, who published a series of children’s picture books, were found guilty of ‘conspiracy to print, publish, distribute, display and/or reproduce seditious publications’ by a Hong Kong District Court. Their case has been widely reported in the Guardian, New York Times and CNN.

According to the Guardian, judge Kwok Wai-kin, who is on a panel of national security judges selected by the city’s leader, wrote that the books were written in a way to guide the mind of readers and that the publishers did not recognise Beijing’s sovereignty over Hong Kong.

One of the books, 12 Warriors of Sheep Village, appears to make reference to 12 Hong Kong protesters who tried to flee on speedboats to Taiwan but were intercepted by Chinese law enforcement in August 2020. The book depicts 12 sheep having to flee their village by boat after fighting against invading wolves, only to be captured at sea and put into prison.

The judge wrote: “The seditious intention stems not merely from the words, but from the words with the proscribed effects intended to result in the mind of children,” Kwok wrote. “Children will be led into belief that the PRC [People’s Republic of China] government is coming to Hong Kong with the wicked intention of taking away their home and ruining their happy life with no right to do so at all.”

The case underlines one of the chief problems of the freedom to speech question. Authoritarian regimes can always cite ‘security issues’ in order to clamp down on criticism of governments; and while they are happy to host universities with their traditions of critical thought, as soon as that critical thought is applied to the government itself this can be seen as disrespectful and can lead to action to ban it or indeed, to it not happening in the first place because of self-censorship.

Kristenn Einarsson, Chair of the IPA’s Freedom to Publish Committee said: “The freedom to publish situation in Hong Kong is deteriorating rapidly. What was once a vibrant, free publishing market is being constrained, with cases like this clearly intended to scare other authors and publishers into self-censorship.”

 

Recent News

04Mar
Arrow Gate Secures Sam Martin’s Bitterblue Rights

Arrow Gate Secures Sam Martin’s Bitterblue Rights

Arrow Gate Publishing secures the rights to Sam Martin’s third literary venture, “Bitterblue.” In an exclusive deal, Sandra David, the publishing director, has acquired the global rights directly from the accomplished screenwriter. The novel is set to hit shelves worldwide on July 23, 2024. “Bitterblue” promises readers a distinctive experience, offering a thrilling journey through […]

04Mar
“14 Days”: Lockdown Tales by 36 Authors

“14 Days”: Lockdown Tales by 36 Authors

  Collectively written by 36 American and Canadian authors whose work spans a variety of literary genres, “Fourteen Days” follows a cast of characters trapped in their New York apartment building in the early weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic, and during — as its title suggests — 14 days of lockdown. The twist lies in […]

04Mar
A Poet is Filling Prisons with Literature

A Poet is Filling Prisons with Literature

At age 16, Reginald Dwayne Betts was tried as an adult and sentenced to prison. After surviving solitary confinement, he is now a poet, lawyer and award-winning MacArthur “genius” grant recipient. He’s also a man on a mission: in 2020, with a grant from the Mellon Foundation, he founded Freedom Reads, a first-of-its-kind initiative that […]

Related Posts

“14 Days”: Lockdown Tales by 36 Authors

“14 Days”: Lockdown Tales by 36 Authors

  Collectively written by 36 American and Canadian authors whose work spans a variety of literary genres, “Fourteen Days” follows a cast of characters trapped in their New York apartment building in the early weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic, and during — as its...

A Poet is Filling Prisons with Literature

A Poet is Filling Prisons with Literature

At age 16, Reginald Dwayne Betts was tried as an adult and sentenced to prison. After surviving solitary confinement, he is now a poet, lawyer and award-winning MacArthur “genius” grant recipient. He’s also a man on a mission: in 2020, with a grant from the Mellon...

Vilnius Fair: Nurturing Young Readers

Vilnius Fair: Nurturing Young Readers

The Vilnius Book Fair recently concluded its literature extravaganza at LITEXPO from February 22 to 25 In Lithuania. This grand Baltic festival, known for its diverse program, showcased a special focus on educating young readers.   The Hall of Young Readers, a...

Previous Next
Close
Test Caption
Test Description goes like this

Pin It on Pinterest