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

20Jul
Gen Z Brings New Life to Kafka on TikTok

Gen Z Brings New Life to Kafka on TikTok

On TikTok, classic authors like Franz Kafka are enjoying renewed popularity. On the social platform, Gen Z are reinterpreting The Metamorphosis and other works through creative videos, integrating pop culture references and personal experience. People might assume that reading is falling out of favour due to social networking, but they could be wrong. Franz Kafka, […]

20Jul
Lexington Literary Launches in London

Lexington Literary Launches in London

There is a new literary agency launched in London in good time for both the Frankfurt Book Fair and the Sharjah International Book Fair.  Lexington Literary (LL), based in London’s Soho, has been formed by Kat Aitken and Seren Adams, both agents at United Artists.   Aitken worked as a bookseller before starting in the […]

20Jul
Backlash Forces Closure of MIM Edition Over Novel’s Content

Backlash Forces Closure of MIM Edition Over Novel’s Content

Algeria’s Arabic publishing house MIM Edition announced this week that it is suspending business following an online backlash over an award-winning novel criticised for perceived inappropriate content. “We announce that MIM closed its doors effective immediately in the face of the wind and the fire,” the publisher said. “We were nothing but advocates of peace […]

Related Posts

Lexington Literary Launches in London

Lexington Literary Launches in London

There is a new literary agency launched in London in good time for both the Frankfurt Book Fair and the Sharjah International Book Fair.  Lexington Literary (LL), based in London’s Soho, has been formed by Kat Aitken and Seren Adams, both agents at United Artists.  ...

Backlash Forces Closure of MIM Edition Over Novel’s Content

Backlash Forces Closure of MIM Edition Over Novel’s Content

Algeria’s Arabic publishing house MIM Edition announced this week that it is suspending business following an online backlash over an award-winning novel criticised for perceived inappropriate content. “We announce that MIM closed its doors effective immediately in...

Bodour Al Qasimi Launches ‘Read You’re in Sharjah’ Campaign

Bodour Al Qasimi Launches ‘Read You’re in Sharjah’ Campaign

Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Founder and Honorary President of the Emirates Publishers Association (EPA), has launched the ‘Read You’re in Sharjah’ campaign, implemented by Menassah Distribution Company. The initiative aims to foster a culture of reading across...

Previous Next
Close
Test Caption
Test Description goes like this

Pin It on Pinterest