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40% of all books and recordings related to sensitive political topics or figures have been unshelved in Hong Kong’s public libraries, including titles on the Tiananmen Massacre, Occupy Central, Liu Xiaobo, and Benny Tai. Chief Executive John Lee endorsed the move, proclaiming the government is obligated to purge material promoting “bad ideologies” from public circulation. Lee added that books made available with public funds should naturally reflect values the government wishes to foster in society, and should not violate the National Security Law. For now, the public can still access removed titles at privately owned bookstores, but few remain, as many have closed down in fear that their business practices may violate the ill-defined National Security Law.


In addition to implementing a course on national security and abolishing the liberal studies curriculum in public schools, the SAR government continues to impose yet another measure to regulate intellectual discourse and curtail academic freedom in Hong Kong.  With the broad censorship of public library catalogs, what was once a public service created with the intention to inform and serve the interests of the masses has now been reduced to a political tool for controlling collective consciousness and serves the interests of a select few. The selective ban on titles concerning resistance against the regime and those written by dissidents demonstrate the government’s interest in promulgating a propagandistic version of history. Families in Hong Kong are already losing confidence in the city’s rigid, tightly overseen education system, which some analysts argue has contributed to Hong Kong’s recent alarming drop in fertility rate. This decline in public confidence will likely continue in light of the city’s dwindling freedom of information.



As Hong Kong is seeing a devastating increase in political persecution, we will continue to pave the way to a free Hong Kong.

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