Thursday, 15 Nov 2018

Canceled events, expulsion of editor: loss of liberty for Hong Kong

HONG KONG – Concerns have been expressed about freedom of expression in Hong Kong following the cancellation of literary and artistic events and the refusal to allow a financial publisher Times to enter the Chinese semi-autonomous territory.

Here are three recent incidents and their effects on freedom of expression and civil rights:



An art venue in Hong Kong has canceled its participation in a literary festival of exiled Chinese writer Ma Jian, known for his novels criticizing the ruling Communist Party in China.

Ma tweeted that the Tai Kwun site, which hosts the Hong Kong International Literary Festival, said its two scheduled events had been erased. He said that no explanation has been given.

Upon his arrival in Hong Kong on Friday, Ma told the press that he had not experienced anything unusual in the territory and that the organizers were still aligning for what he said. he can speak.

"The conference is definitely going to happen. If there is one person from Hong Kong who wants to listen well or one reader who contacts me, I will be there, "Ma said.

He speculated that there was a "black hand" behind the authorities controlling the conditions under which he could appear, but he promised to "communicate with readers these days in Hong Kong if possible".

Ma, 65, is a dissident writer whose six published novels have been banned in mainland China. He said he had not been able to find a Chinese-language publisher in Hong Kong for his latest book, "China Dream," which has been compared to George Orwell's work in his scathing description of the authoritarian regime.

The book has already been published in English with a cover designed by the famous dissident artist Ai Weiwei, who also lives outside of China.

The director of the place of origin, Timothy Calnin, quoted by the Financial Times, said, "We do not want Tai Kwun to become a platform for promoting the political interests of any individual."

In a tweet, Ma stated that he "would not use Tai Kwun as a platform to promote my" political interests ".

"I'm a novelist, not a militant … My" policies "are simple: I believe in freedom of thought and freedom of speech, without which life does not make sense."

Hong Kong has seen himself promise a 50-year semi-autonomy as part of his 1997 transfer of British rule, which would allow him to retain his limited democracy and his rights of assembly and freedom of assembly. expression that are denied on the Chinese mainland.

However, the protection of civil rights is of growing concern because of the alleged abduction by the Chinese security forces of sometimes salacious publishers of the country's leaders and the prosecution of anti-terrorist demonstrators. Beijing.



According to the Financial Times, Victor Mallet, its editor-in-chief for Asia News, was turned back at the border on Thursday as he was trying to return to Hong Kong as a visitor.

This occurred after Mallet was forced to leave Hong Kong after the government refused to renew his work visa in apparent retaliation for his speech in a speaker of the Foreign Correspondents Club, who was running a now banned territory's independence from China.

The Hong Kong immigration authority gave no explanation for her deportation and said Friday that she would act "in accordance with laws and policies and decide whether entry would be allowed or denied after careful consideration." circumstances of each case ".

Groups of Hong Kong reporters sent a letter of protest to the Hong Kong government about his deportation, saying the government was sick with the territory's reputation as a place under the law, where freedom of speech is protected.

Human rights groups have described the rejection of visas as the latest sign of increased restrictions imposed by Beijing on the territory, including lawsuits against pro-democracy legislators and organizers of large scale anti-government protests in 2014.



An exhibition of the Sino-Australian artist known as Badiucao was canceled after the organizers said in a statement that "threats have been made against Chinese artists by the Chinese". 39; artist. "

Hong Kong Free Press, Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders – all groups frequently critical of the ruling Communist Party – were co-organizers of the event, entitled "Gongle".

They said in a joint statement that the show had been canceled for "security concerns"

Two members of the group of Russian activists Pussy Riot were also to appear, as well as Joshua Wong, general secretary of the Demosisto opposition party and local political artist Sampson Wong.

Badiucao's caricatures adorn the Chinese rulers and the surveillance society that they establish, and his website says he "uses his art to defy censorship and dictatorship in China."

"He thinks that art and the internet have the power to deconstruct the arrogance and authority of dictatorship as a cornerstone of individual enlightenment and free independence," he says. his site.

Speaking earlier in the Hong Kong Free Press, Mr. Badiucao said he would not show up at the show for fear, that he would be kidnapped or that his true identity would be revealed.

"I really admire artists and dissenters who have the courage to do it openly. I consider myself a coward, "said the website. "But I'm trying to explain that I'm only an ordinary guy, I'm not as brave as a hero. And an ordinary guy also deserves a voice."

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, disseminated, rewritten or redistributed.


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