Top officials duck as censorship fire rages

Top News | Amy Nip 23 Mar 2016

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and senior officials yesterday passed the buck among each other as they ducked questions over the apparent censorship of a Taiwan university's name.

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department was accused of political censorship after omitting "national" from the name of Taipei National University of Arts in promotional material for a local drama group, The Nonsensemakers.

When asked about the controversy, Leung said Secretary for Home Affairs Lau Kong-wah should be responsible.

Three hours later, Lau repeated the explanation the LCSD gave on Monday, saying the government will "look into communications" with arts groups.

He added that Hong Kong has a close relationship with other parts of the world and that cooperation is "good and fruitful."

Lau did not comment on whether the department was asked to delete the word "national" from a drama booklet that featured The Nonsensemakers' arts administrative officer, Suie Lo, a university alumna, nor did he elaborate on the relationship with Taiwan.

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office said it did not want cross-strait ties to be politicized and will communicate with the SAR government.

The university described the omission as regrettable. It said the LCSD should respect the fact that "national" is a part of its name, and that the full name should be used for academic exchanges.

It hoped it was an isolated incident handled "inappropriately" and there would not be a repeat.

However, the Chinese University's Office of Academic Links was also found to have done the same with three other Taiwanese institutions National Central University, National Taiwan University and National Cheng Kung University.

Executive Council convener Lam Woon-kwong said the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services Michelle Li Mei-sheung should explain the deletion.

Some words are sensitive under the "one country" principle, he said, but the city should respect groups coming to Hong Kong for work or to perform under the "two systems" spirit.

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