The first book fair after the Hong Kong National Security Law came into effect, which will open tomorrow morning (14), is likely to be a book fair with a large reduction of current affairs books, so that only the main theme of current affairs books that sing praises or criticize “black violence” will be exhibited, because in addition to many booksellers have indicated that they will not sell current affairs books in the book fair, printers also refuse to print books related to politics or the anti-amendment movement. Even the new book of Liu Ruishao, a Chinese current affairs commentator who has published many books, was also refused to be printed.
Liu Ruishao revealed to the station that about two weeks before the book fair, he was suddenly informed by the publisher that the printer he had been working well with refused to print his new book, “A Century of Chinese Communism and Hong Kong,” which was the first time since the handover that his book had not been published as scheduled. He pointed out that the 190,000-word book had already been edited, and that he had read the “large sample” and proofread it. He did not know why the other side suddenly refused to print it, but he understood the assessment of the risk that each person takes. According to our understanding, after receiving the notice of rejection, Liu still tried to contact other printers, expecting to catch up with the book fair, but failed to do so.
Liu Ruishao is confident that the new work does not violate the national security law, and believes that Hong Kong people now need to understand the changes in the relationship between China and Hong Kong, including how some Hong Kong pro-democracy figures have become the “enemies” of the Chinese Communist Party, but in the general climate, each person has different considerations. As for his other works written in a literary and allegorical style, such as “The Fable of the Beasts”, they will be sold at the book fair as planned.
In addition, some independent authors who self-published books about social movements and anti-revisionist laws also encountered the situation that printers refused to print them. One author, who goes by the pseudonym M, told the online media “News” that when he approached a manufacturer who helped print the reprint of his book on social movements last year, the other side refused to print the book, even if all the content that might violate the national security law was removed, the printer was unwilling to print the work on such topics, “not because they were unwilling to print it, but because they dared not print it.” They contacted many booksellers also indicated that this year will avoid selling books “related to politics” in the venue.
Subculture Hall, which has sold more political books in the past, also indicated that it would not sell current political books at the fair this year. President Peng Zhiming said that the main twist came when the Apple Daily was forced to stop publishing, and he decided at that time that he would not bring the June 430, which had been sold at previous book fairs, to the book fair to avoid trouble.
He confessed that because of the blurred lines of the National Security Law, booksellers have been troubled by what books to bring to the book fair for sale, and can only speculate from some traces, and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department has repeatedly taken books off the shelves of public libraries on the grounds of reviewing whether they violate the National Security Law, which has become a reference element, and books such as “Dreaming of Xi Jinping” and “The Battle for Hong Kong” published by the Subculture Hall were taken off the shelves. He continued, since I do not know where the red line is, most exhibitors decided not to bring some of the books that make the authorities feel that you have problems to the book fair, so as not to let the authorities have a reason to look for trouble.
The book fair has been open since 1990, and Pang Zhiming said that this year is the most dangerous in the past 32 years, because in the past, the banned books are mainly related to pornography and violence, very clear, and satirical books can still survive in the book fair, or sold in independent bookstores, but has now become a thing of the past, because the line of national security law is blurred, before the trial first return scabbard, the ordinary citizens really difficult to deal with.
Perhaps, after the book fairs are closed, online sales will become the way out for “sensitive” books, and the independent Chi Media will publish a collection of interviews in this way this year, “A Summer of Jokes”, exploring the gap between the conflicts between China and Hong Kong. But the founder, Kwan Chun-hoi, told the News that the printing process is still difficult to avoid, as many printers have already refused to print photos of the 2019 anti-revision campaign this year, so it may be difficult to break through this barrier in Hong Kong next year.
Last year’s book fair under the influence of the epidemic twice postponed, and finally to cancel the end, this year’s 31st book fair is scheduled for July 14 to 20 in Wanchai Convention and Exhibition, the annual theme of “spiritual inspiration”, and “from Hong Kong to read the world・wash the soul to inspire life The annual theme is “Spiritual Inspiration”, and the theme is “Reading the World from Hong Kong – Inspiring the Soul”, with over 600 exhibitors.