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September 22, 2017

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Hong Kong's biggest book fair forced a Taiwan stall to remove 'explicit' LGBT books

TAIPEI, Taiwan — A Taiwanese LGBT publisher has been forced by organizers to stop selling several books at a major expo in Hong Kong.

G Books (基本書坊) said in a Facebook post that it was ordered to pull nine titles from its stall at the Hong Kong Book Fair, as the Hong Kong Free Press reported.

Event organizers cited a regulation prohibiting the sale of Class II "indecent" books under Hong Kong's Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance.

The order came despite all of the books being sealed and carrying warning labels — and despite the covers containing no explicit material.

For instance, the cover of "A Gentleman's Wedding" (男大當婚) shows only two grooms hugging.


Photo: The Picta

"We've never been faced with this kind of order in previous exhibitions," it wrote, as translated by HKFP. "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."

LGBT content containing no nudity, sex or other explicit material is often labeled "explicit" and censored or access to it restricted.

Earlier this month, a crackdown on harmless LGBT content by authorities triggered a backlash in China.

In March, YouTube was forced to take action after numerous LGBT-related videos were age-restricted, meaning only users aged 18 and over could view them.

The "banned" books can still be ordered directly from the publisher, whose website is here.

The Hong Kong Book Fair is the southern Chinese city's largest. Some 1.02 million people visited last year's event. This year's edition ends Tuesday.

A court ruling in May ordered that Taiwan's parliament amend the law to legalize same-sex marriage within two years, which will make Taiwan the first country in Asia to see marriage equality.

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