Taiwan bookstore in HK removes controversial book that beautifies invasion of China
Published: Oct 17, 2021 05:07 PM
A customer checks out a book in a Shanghai bookstore. Photo: IC

A customer checks out a book in a Shanghai bookstore. Photo: IC

Taiwan's Eslite Bookstore in Hong Kong has removed a book published by a Taiwan publishing house that glamorizes the invasion of China by the Eight-Nation Alliance after complaints and pressures under the National Security Law. 

A senior Eslite Bookstore employee in Hong Kong confirmed to Hong Kong's Singtao Daily that the controversial book had been removed, the media reported on Saturday. And the book can no longer be found in Eslite Bookstores.

Saying "the Eight-Nation Alliance is the justice of the division," the book also called the Eight-Nation Alliance "an army of justice," and beautified their invasion of China in 1900, which was heavily criticized in Hong Kong.  

Hong Kong lawmaker Elizabeth Quat said she has received complaints from the Hong Kong residents about the book. "There are hundreds of complaints. Some people have sent me the picture and cover and content, expressing their anger about the book's overtly selling in Hong Kong," said the lawmaker.   

According to Quat, local residents have also reported to the police and national security department and complained to Eslite Bookstore, and it is estimated that the book has been removed from the shelves because they received several complaints.  

The author of the book, Liu Qikun, was born in Beijing, but later settled in Hong Kong. In 1988 he emigrated to Canada, where he worked as a commentator. Liu has publicly insulted China's national anthem, Hong Kong media reported.  

The publisher of the book, China Times Publishing headquartered in Taipei, is one of the major publishing houses in the Taiwan island.

As for whether the book's content violates the national security law for Hong Kong Special Autonomous Region, Quat said it would depend on the purpose of publication - whether it is aimed at inciting hatred against China, and whether foreign forces and funds are involved.

Quat said she wants the publishing industry to have freedom, but books that vilify and distort Chinese history shouldn't be tolerated.  

She reiterated that the national security law, which came into force more than a year ago, encourages local authorities to step up communication with the publishing industry and remind them to follow the law. 

It is impossible for the government to blacklist all illegal books, and booksellers should abide by the law, Quat stressed. 

Lee Wai-hung, vice head of the Hong Kong Liberal Studies Association, told media that if students do not have a solid historical background, they may be impacted by the distorted remarks of the book. 

More than a century ago, foreign powers invaded China, causing untold suffering to the Chinese nation… It is important to learn Chinese history well, Lee said. 

Lee said the students in Hong Kong are recommended factual, authoritative history books to read and think about, many of which are written by mainland historians, media reported.   

Global Times