The new law has been denounced by Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), the Hong Kong Centre for Human Rights, and the Hong Kong Democratic Council (HKDC). At issue are the bill’s sweeping provisions and broad definitions. Reports in The Guardian suggest that the impact of the new law on publishers and booksellers has been immediate.

Kristenn Einarsson, Chair of the IPA’s Freedom to Publish Committee: The last ten years have seen publishing and bookselling in Hong Kong decimated. From intimidation to restrictive security laws we must recognise the tools of censorship and resist them.

EIBF Co-President, Jean-Luc Treutenaere: The steady deterioration of the freedom of expression in Hong Kong is alarming and disheartening. The book publishing and bookselling communities are under threat by repressive security laws, which are resulting in vibrant and beloved bookshops shutting down. Any closure, and particularly in current times, is a massive loss to the book world.

IPA has previously expressed concern about the situation for publishers in Hong Kong. In September 2022, 5 authors and publishers were sentenced to 19 months in prison for ‘conspiracy to print, publish, distribute, display and/or reproduce seditious publications’.  In 2018 IPA awarded the Prix Voltaire to Swedish Hong Kong publisher by Gui Minhai who co-owned Mighty Current and was one of the Causeway Books bookesllers. Gui is currently in jail in China. The IPA continues to call for his release.