Books about the Tiananmen Square massacre, Hong Kong
protest movements, and other subjects deemed politically sensitive by Beijing have been removed from the former British colony’s public libraries in the lead-up to the 34th anniversary of the killings. Hong Kong media have reported a marked increase in the number of book and documentary removals, which have been growing since the authoritarian clampdown on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement and the introduction of the national security law in 2020. It has resulted in a significant curtailing of political freedoms
in the city and multiple arrests.
Late last month, the government’s audit commission report said the leisure and cultural services department, which operates Hong Kong’s libraries, needed to “step up efforts in examining library materials for safeguarding national security and taking follow-up actions”. The report said Hong Kong Public Libraries had completed a preliminary review of books that focused on authors and publishers “suspected of publishing books on ‘Hong Kong independence’ previously”.
It said the review of titles, which began in 2021, was ongoing and unlikely to have a clear end date.