Venue Owner of Hongkongers’ Book Fair Cancels at Last Minute Due to Political Pressure

By Terence Tang
Terence Tang
Terence Tang
July 22, 2022 Updated: July 22, 2022

HongKongers’ Book Fair, scheduled to open on July 14, 2022, was canceled at the last minute. The venue’s landlord notified the organizer—Hillway Culture—through their property agent.

The organizer of “Hongkongers’ Book Fair,” originally scheduled to launch on July 14, was kicked out of the venue by the landlord through the real estate agent. In a written note, the landlord claimed that the organizer had breached the lease agreement and therefore, they must vacate immediately.

Hillway Culture, the book fair organizer, had to announce its cancellation a day before launching and said the event would be held online instead.

Epoch Times Photo
Raymond Yeung from Hillway Culture felt the “red line” pressure on the publishing industry in Hong Kong. (Sung Pi-Lung/The Epoch Times)

Raymond Yeung, a person in charge of Hillway Culture, pointed out that the last-minute decision made by the landlord had violated the business practice. It also reflected the pressure brought on by the National Security Law, and showed how it had penetrated the publishing industry.

No Physical Exhibition

After the cancellation announcement on the “Hongkongers’ Book Fair” Facebook page on July 14, 2022, Yeung said they appreciated the love they had received from many supporters.

Yeung pointed out that since the Hong Kong Book Fair incident last year, they have known the future of Hong Kong’s publishing industry would not be bright. After being rejected by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) in May 2022, Hillway Culture devoted every ounce of its energy and resources to this book fair. Unfortunately, it received the same fate at the last minute.

He said the cancellation was unexpected.

The post also said that all that was left was disappointment and guilt.

Yeung explained that due to their recent experience, he would not want to subject anyone or the company to political risks. Hillway Culture has decided it will not plan another physical book fair soon. But Yeung emphasized he would continue the mission of organizing the book fairs for true Hongkongers and serving them with the perspective of local readers.

Distribution Will Be Difficult

Yeung replied to The Epoch Times that this incident might be due to the landlord’s political pressure and forced them to terminate the contract. It had nothing to do with Hong Kong business law.

He pointed out that the landlord refused an in-person inspection of the venue before asking them to vacate and get out immediately.

Yeung stressed, “Freedom of publication in Hong Kong might still exist despite legal issues or political pressure. However, one must ensure everything aligns with the law.” Yeung was referring to the National Security Law.

He pointed out that the cancellation incident displayed how much pressure the National Security Law brought, which penetrated book publishing in Hong Kong; it had brought fear to the industry. Yeung believed it would be more difficult to publish books in the future.

As for whether his organization would resume physical book fairs anytime soon, Yeung said he still had not given up hope for the future of Hong Kong.

“Although some people feel that Hong Kong has deteriorated, others still stand with freedom of publishing and Hong Kong regardless of the circumstances,” he added.

Terence Tang