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Amnesty tackles censorship in Hong Kong by selling redacted books

International human rights charity Amnesty International has launched a campaign against censorship in Hong Kong with a store selling redacted books.

The bookshop in Central is selling more than 1,000 manually redacted books with Brand Union Hong Kong – books with text that has been censored or blacked out – to draw attention to the need for freedom of expression.

The store on Pottinger Street in Central is open for just two days on February 16 and 17, and offers bespoke books complete with a limited edition bookmark – for donations of HK$27.

The bookstore’s launch comes as part of Amnesty International’s ‘Every freedom needs a fighter’ campaign against the government’s increased disregard of Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is the right to freedom of expression.

The charity claimed that censored books could become the norm in Hong Kong, if the article continues to be ignored.

Mabel Au, director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, said: “Censorship and self-censorship are on the rise, and people’s freedoms are being challenged. Whistle blowers, journalists and booksellers are being silenced, and with them, the vital issues they bring to light. We hope to address this deeply concerning issue through the installation, and hope that the people of Hong Kong not only keep this top of mind, but also continue to have a voice, and defend our freedom of expression.”

The bookstore is supported by a series of short films, which show a time-lapse of artists sketching controversial scenes pertinent to Hong Kong, The illustrations in the videos, which are being aired on public buses across the city, will be shown in reverse – the images disappearing with the message ‘when rights vanish, so does the truth’.

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