The Tai Kwun Center for Heritage and Arts has cancelled appearances by Chinese exiled writer Ma Jian. Ma was scheduled to host two talks this week at Tai Kwun as part of the events of the Hong Kong International Literary Festival, but the organisers have been asked to find a new venue for Ma’s events by Tai Kwun. In replying to media enquiries, a spokesman of Tai Kwun said: “We do not want Tai Kwun to become a platform to promote the political interests of any individual”.
HKJA is deeply concerned about this incident and regret the decision by Tai Kwun to suddenly ask the Literary Festival to find another venue for the scheduled talks. This incident comes in the wake of the cancellation of an exhibition by artist Badiucao last week due to safety concern. HKJA worries that the two cases of cancellation of art events will further undermine freedom of speech and expression in Hong Kong. We oppose any threats from any persons, organisations and governments against freedom of speech and expression.
Ma Jian posted on Twitter (7 November) that his talks scheduled to be held at the Tai Kwun had been called off, and the organisers were looking for an alternative venue. The Hong Kong International Literary Festival has confirmed it had been asked to change the venue for two events by Tai Kwun.
Last week, an exhibition “Gongle” by artist Badiucao scheduled to be held on 3 November in Hong Kong was cancelled by the organisers one day before the opening. Organisers of the “Gongle” art show said in a statement “the decision follows threats made by the Chinese authorities relating to the artist”.
Hong Kong Journalists Association
8 November 2018