A Hong Kong university student journal columnist has started quite a controversy.
So much so, that many Hong Kong residents are now rallying to ban a book in Hong Kong — the Bible.
The student’s column, which was published in the “Student Press” magazine, posed questions to readers about whether or not they’d ever fantasized about incest or bestiality. The article was then deemed as indecent by the Obscene Articles Tribunal. The student editors of the magazine did not apologize for the article, but instead insisted that the open debate of sexuality was right, and that banning the article was stifling free speech, as reported on Yahoo News.
Many responded to the issue in a different manner. A spokesperson for Hong Kong’s Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority (TELA) said that it quickly received 838 complaints about the Bible. The complaining residents requested that the Bible be deemed indecent due to its sexual and violent content; including that of rape and incest. The complaints came after the launch of a new website www.truthbible.net, created by an anonymous person. The website said that the Bible “made one tremble,” and that its sexual content “far exceeds” that of the student columnist.
TELA has yet to determine whether or not the Bible does violate Hong Kong’s obscene and indecent article laws, but, if it does, then no one under 18 years of age will be able to buy the Bible, and when they do, it will be sealed in a wrapper, and on the wrapper it will have a statutory warning notice.
The Bible has been banned before. Both the Bible and the Quran were banned and removed from most libraries in the Soviet Union from 1926 to 1956. Various editions of the Bible have been banned in other parts of the world; for instance, a woman was convicted in Singapore in 1996 for her possession of the Jehovah’s Witness translation of the Bible. In Burma, translation of the Bible into local indigenous languages, according to a United States Government 2000 report. Also, the military dictatorship of Burma requires that citizens register their modems, so they won’t be reading such things over the internet, either.
China itself has banned recent religious publications as well. In 1999, China banned the Falun Gong sect. Then, all books associated with the sect were taken and destroyed.
In regard to the recent controversy over the Bible, Reverend Wu Chi-wai, a local protestant minister was interviewed in regard to whether the Bible was in violation of Hong Kong’s laws relative to obscenity and indecency. He replied that “If there is rape mentioned in the Bible, it doesn’t mean it encourages those activities… It’s just common sense … I don’t think that criticism will have strong support from the public.”