After China passed its controversial new security law in Hong Kong, libraries have removed their line-up of pro-democracy books as officials state they will review potential breach of the new legislation.
Expansive and restrictive legislation
According to BBC, the new law focuses on secession, subversion, and terrorism that would be met with consequences, including life imprisonment.
Experts claim that the legislation undermines Hong Kong's freedom and autonomy from mainland China which Beijing has since dismissed.
In 1997, the former British colony handed back control of Hong Kong over to China and guaranteed at least 50 years of specific rights as part of the "one country, two systems" agreement.
Since the legislation's passing on Tuesday, several prominent pro-democracy activists have since announced their stepping down from their endeavors. One of whom, Nathan Law, one-time student leader and local legislator, has also fled the city and kept his whereabouts unknown.
There have been at least nine books that libraries placed as under review or have completely removed including publications by prominent pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong and politician Tanya Chan.
Wong tweeted on Saturday that the new legislation imposes a similar style of censoring used in mainland China on Hong Kong and considered it an attempt at banning books that go against the government.
However, Beijing has since ignored criticism of the new legislation, adding it was a necessary step in ending Hong Kong's mass pro-democracy protests that were conducted for the majority of 2019 including those that evolved into violent and brutal encounters between law enforcement and demonstrators.
Banning of books?
A government spokeswoman stated that libraries are required to follow Hong Kong's laws but did not reveal how many books were being reviewed. She added the books would be unavailable for the public while they seek legal advice regarding the review of the publications, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Chan expressed her disappointment with the new law as it undermined previous reassurance by government officials that it would only affect a small portion of the citizens. She added the new security law affects which books people can acquire, hampering people's everyday life.
The move to remove books from libraries comes after concerns of the desire of authorities to censor opposition views in books, the media, and online.
One famous slogan used in protests in Hong Kong, "Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times," could potentially be a violation of the new legislation as police officers have arrested multiple protesters carrying pro-democracy signs for the city.
Several establishments around the city have also removed signs and posters that express their support of the pro-democracy movement in fears of the new law branding them illegal.
Hong Kong's secretary of justice, Teresa Cheng, told reporters that courts would examine excerpts released by the government wholly and not just its words. Officials would determine what actions are deemed as illegal under the new legislation and what consequences people could expect from them.