Censorship of Philosophy in Hong Kong

Politically-motivated censorship of philosophy in Hong Kong has “clearly become worse” over the past few years, says Wong Kwok-kui, a philosopher at Hong Kong Baptist University.

Hong Kong Free Press reports:

A publisher has removed a preface from a philosophy book after its writer refused to amend a passage referencing the 2014 pro-democracy Occupy movement and Hong Kong’s “political decay.”

The Commercial Press book, entitled Non-drowsy Philosophy, is a compilation of writing from a new generation of local philosophers assembled by news outlet HK01’s 01 Philosophy platform. On Friday, Hong Kong Baptist University’s director of the Liberal and Cultural Studies Programme Dr Wong Kwok-kui wrote on Stand News that Commercial Press had asked him to amend a passage in the preface but, after refusing to do so, the section was lifted altogether. The published version excluded his preface, Wong said.

Commercial Press is one of the three major publishing houses in Hong Kong. It, along with the other two, Chung Hwa and Joint Publishing, are all subsidiaries of Sino-United Publishing, which is reportedly controlled by the Chinese government.

Wong describes another incident:

Last year, when compiling an anthology on Nietzsche conferences, Wong said he was asked by the publisher to request that a writer amend an essay which criticised Xi Jinping as well as China’s policy towards Hong Kong and Taiwan. Wong refused, and the project was cancelled, despite everything being ready for publication. “This shows how serious political censorship is,” he wrote.

Further information here (and also, in Chinese, here).

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