Hong Kong activist book to be published in Taiwan over security law concerns

Authors fear book may be targeted by authorities, citing freshly enacted national security law

  2522
A flag raising ceremony at the Golden Bauhinia Square to mark the anniversary of the Hong Kong handover to China on July 1, 2020.

A flag raising ceremony at the Golden Bauhinia Square to mark the anniversary of the Hong Kong handover to China on July 1, 2020. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A new book compiling interviews of Hong Kong activists in the anti-extradition bill movement will be published in Taiwan to avoid the risk of legal consequences if it is printed in the Chinese city.

The Umbrella Men (傘下的人), a group of media workers from the semi-autonomous territory, were planning to publish a book of first-hand accounts of the pro-democracy campaign last year. However, the recent enactment of the highly controversial national security legislation for Hong Kong has raised concerns about possible charges being brought, wrote Ming Pao, a Hong Kong newspaper.

The book, titled "Our Final Evolution" (我們最後的進化), will contain 30 interviews, including with protestors and those wounded in the months-long movement. Sensitive content such as the slogan "Liberate Hong Kong, revolution in our times" (光復香港,時代革命) could constitute an offense given the ambiguous wording of the law, said A-Mu (阿木), a member of the project.

Albert Chen Hung-yee (陳弘毅), a professor at the University of Hong Kong's Faculty of Law, has said on a radio show that penning articles criticizing the government would not be deemed a violation of the law as long as there is no incitement to violence. Nevertheless, Ronny Tong Ka-wah (湯家驊), a senior Hong Kong lawyer, reckoned publishers and authors of such books could face relevant charges "based on their intentions," according to the report.

The Hong Kong Public Libraries have pulled nine books by political activists, including those by Joshua Wong (黃之鋒), the former secretary-general of the pro-democracy party Demosistō, and Legislative Councilor Tanya Chan (陳淑莊), wrote CNA. The Hong Kong national security law, which was passed on June 30, criminalizes sedition, secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces — terms left loosely defined.