Pub­lish­ers take on China at book fair

The Myanmar Times - - World -

THE city’s feisty pub­lish­ing in­dus­try vowed to take on China by sell­ing books crit­i­cal of Bei­jing, de­spite the dis­ap­pear­ances of five city book­sell­ers, as a ma­jor an­nual book fair be­gan yes­ter­day.

The book­sell­ers, who went miss­ing last year and resur­faced in the main­land, worked for a pub­lish­ing house in Hong Kong known for gos­sipy ti­tles about China’s po­lit­i­cal lead­ers.

One of the men is still de­tained and another, who skipped bail, has re­vealed how he was blind­folded and in­ter­ro­gated for months.

Some main­stream book­stores here re­moved works likely to of­fend main­land au­thor­i­ties from their shelves in the wake of the dis­ap­pear­ances.

And while in­de­pen­dent shop own­ers are still will­ing to stock the books, some have said sala­cious or crit­i­cal ti­tles about Bei­jing pol­i­tics have dwin­dled as pub­lish­ers have been scared off.

But on the first day of the book fair yes­ter­day, there was de­ter­mi­na­tion to keep fight­ing.

“As a pub­lish­ing house, I per­son­ally think I should not worry ... You lose if you start to worry,” said Jimmy Pang, head of Hong Kong pub­lisher Sub­cul­ture.

Mr Pang said he would not stop print­ing po­lit­i­cal books out of fear, but de­scribed the pres­sure on the Hong Kong in­dus­try as “white ter­ror”.

“If a book is sud­denly banned, say af­ter some main­land of­fi­cials say it is, the whole line of pro­duc­tion can get into trou­ble, from its writer, pub­lisher, to the dis­trib­u­tor and even read­ers. It can hap­pen two or three years af­ter the book is printed,” Mr Pang said.

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