One Holiday, Two Systems, and Lots of Book Sales in Hong Kong

The extended holiday in China is giving citizens a chance to visit Hong Kong and stock up on books they can’t buy back home, such as the newly published China History Revisited. The New York Times reports:

Twelve years after Hong Kong passed from British to Chinese rule, the territory retains many freedoms unknown in mainland China, an arrangement called “one country, two systems.” In particular, political writings censored in the mainland circulate widely here, and they are hot souvenirs among the nearly 17 million mainland tourists who visit here every year.

“The more mainland customers we had, the more we realized that they wanted things they couldn’t get back home,” said Lai Pok, a staff member at the People’s Recreation Community bookstore, which shares its abbreviation with the People’s Republic of China. “Now we specialize in Hong Kong-published books that are banned on the mainland. The business is better.”

[…] At the nearby Causeway Bay Bookstore, Lam Wing-Kee was unloading new titles on President Hu Jintao and other Chinese leaders.

“We probably get two new titles a week, mostly political, and mostly from Hong Kong publishers,” said Mr. Lam, who has been running his shop for almost 15 years.

When asked to point out a book that was banned in mainland China, Mr. Lam paused and plucked a slim volume out of a large selection.

“Here,” he said with a laugh. “It’s the only one in that pile that is actually allowed.”

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