SLA Opposes Removal of Books from Hong Kong Bookstores, Libraries
Urges China to Allow Unfettered Access to Ideas and Information
McLean, Virginia, U.S.A., 23 July 2020—A sweeping national security law is taking force in Hong Kong, and books by dissidents may be only the first of its many victims, according to a global organization of librarians and information professionals that opposes removal of the books from libraries and bookstores.
The Special Libraries Association, whose members manage information and knowledge resources in businesses, government agencies, law firms, hospitals and medical centers, colleges and universities, and other “specialized” environments, is concerned that China is using the new law not just to silence its critics, but also to control the flow of information and expression of ideas in the city.
“Information and ideas are the currency that powers a free, vibrant, and just society,” says 2020 SLA President Tara Murray, librarian for Germanic and Slavic languages and literatures at Penn State. “We oppose attempts to limit access to information and ideas, and we call on China to cease punishing the people of Hong Kong by forcing libraries and bookstores to remove literature written by their fellow citizens.”
The new security measure, which took effect June 30, enshrines new crimes in Hong Kong’s legal structure, including separatism and subversion. Several works by pro-democracy dissidents have been removed from library and bookstore shelves, ostensibly to verify their compatibility with the new security law.
The Special Libraries Association (SLA) is a nonprofit international organization for innovative information professionals and their strategic partners. SLA serves information professionals in more than 60 countries and in a range of working environments, including business, academia and government agencies. SLA promotes and strengthens its members through learning, advocacy and networking initiatives. For more information, visit sla.org.