The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) has been criticised for “banning” the use of the word “national” in the biography of a member of a drama company, which performed at a public theatre last week.

The company, The Nonsensemakers, presented a drama entitled Part Three of The Notebook: The Third Lie at the Tsuen Wan Town Hall between March 18 and 20. The programme was organised by the LCSD, which was also responsible for printing a publicity pamphlet for it.

Suie Lo Shuk-yin, an art administrator and executive producer for the company, was not allowed to put her alma mater Taipei National University of the Arts in her biography in the pamphlet.

A poster for the drama. Photo: LCSD.

“The responsible staff for the LCSD told us verbally, that the pamphlet cannot have the word ‘national’ [國立 in Chinese], and demanded it be deleted,” a statement from the company read.

It added that the company requested several times to use the school’s English name, but it was still not allowed. Only an abbreviation in Chinese without the word “national” would be permitted.

The biography photo with the full name Taipei National University of Arts printed on a graduation certificate.

In response to the LCSD’s demands, the company included a photo of Lo holding her graduation certificate, which has the school’s full name printed on it.

“The name of her alma mater is a basic fact, and it is paying respect to academics and art to print its full name, therefore we would rather pull the details, refusing to print a cut version of the biography. It is our helpless choice.”

The company said it hoped Hong Kong can still enjoy freedom of expression and creation: “Those are our most treasured core values.”

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.