• Visitors browse through books on display at the International Book Fair in Hong Kong on July 20, 2017. (AFP (Photo credit should read ISAAC LAWRENCE/AFP/Getty Images))Source: AFP (Photo credit should read ISAAC LAWRENCE/AFP/Getty Images)
The ‘indecent’ titles included: A Gentleman’s Wedding, Gay Soldier’s Diary, and Crying Girls.
Michaela Morgan

26 Jul 2017 - 10:43 AM  UPDATED 26 Jul 2017 - 10:43 AM

Organisers of the annual Hong Kong Book Fair have been criticised for banning a number of LGBT+ titles from the event after they were labelled ‘indecent’.

Taiwanese publisher G Books was forced to remove nine titles from their stall including: A Gentleman’s Wedding, Gay Soldier’s Diary, and Crying Girls, the Hong Kong Free Press reports.

The book fair’s regulations state that exhibitors must not sell ‘obscene or indecent’ titles—however G Books says none of the books contained nudity and were packaged with warning signs.

"We've never been faced with this kind of order in previous exhibitions," G Books wrote in translated Facebook post.  

"We felt extremely stunned.

"An annual cultural publishing fair in the 'Pearl of the Orient'… does not permit diversity of speech. Publishers cannot reach their readers in a proud way, without twisting or disguising themselves."

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A G Books spokesperson told Hong Kong Free Press that the stall was able to sell the contentious titles for two days before suddenly being told they were prohibited.

“This is really unreasonable. Some say that a Christian stall nearby filed a complaint against us, but we can’t prove it,” they said.

The book fair’s organisers have released a short statement highlighting the event's rules. 

“The 'Hong Kong book fair' allows for the display/sale of first class items under the control of obscene and indecent articles ordinance (Cap. 390) in the exhibition venue.

“If necessary, this council will invite the film, newspaper and property management office (film) to inspect and enforce the ordinance during the exhibition.”

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Under the regulations, first class items are titles that do not contain obscene or indecent content—including any material that is "violent, depraved and/or repulsive". 

Fans of G Books have shared their outrage on Facebook and criticised the book fair—now in its 28th year—for censoring the LGBT+ community. 

“The book fair is a business, not a culture,” one person wrote in a translated post.

“The fact that the government and the community have narrowed down the criteria is no longer a place to accommodate different voices.

“I hope the Taiwan press will not be defeated by the unreasonable situation of small Hong Kong.”