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Publishers brace for police peril at Hong Kong Book Fair

Exhibitors avoid 'sensitive' titles as organizer warns on security law violations

The 31st annual Hong Kong Book Fair kicks off on July 14, after a year off due to COVID-19. The national security law Beijing imposed in June 2020 is looming over the event. (Photo by Stella Wong)

HONG KONG -- The annual Hong Kong Book Fair begins Wednesday after a year off due to COVID-19 -- and in a highly charged political atmosphere.

What was once a symbol of publishing freedom for the Chinese-speaking world is being held for the first time since Beijing imposed its national security law in June 2020. The organizer warned earlier that the police will be called over any national security complaints, though it softened its tone on Tuesday, saying exhibitors are expected to be "self-disciplined" about what they show.

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