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Amnesty International sells redacted books to highlight censorship in Hong Kong

Amnesty International Hong Kong has launched a special ‘bookstore’ in Central to sell over 1000 manually redacted books in partnership with Brand Union Hong Kong – books that appear to have been censored or blacked out, to draw attention to freedom of expression protected by Article 27 in Hong Kong.

The store is located on Lok Hing Lane, 36 Pottinger Street in Central, is open for two days on 16 and 17 February, and the public will be free to browse and donate HK$27 to keep one of the bespoke books complete with a limited edition bookmark.

The ‘bookstore’ is the crux of Amnesty International’s “Every freedom needs a fighter” campaign which aims to underscore that if Article 27 is ignored by the authorities, censored books could become the norm.

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

As part of the campaign, the nonprofit also partnered with the Hong Kong Free Press to temporarily redact its entire site.

The campaign supports the Amnesty Carnival being held February 16-26 and its week-long art exhibition, involving 53 local and global artists focusing on freedom of expression.

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