The government’s home affairs minister has continued to avoid questions over the recent controversy whereby the word “national” was removed from the names of Taiwanese institutions by a government department.

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) allegedly removed the word on different occasions – an act criticised by the affected Taipei National University of the Arts and by the Hong Kong Federation of Taiwan Universities Alumni Association.

Secretary for Home Affairs Lau Kong-wah read out a government response on Tuesday, saying it will look into its communication and practices. But he faced further questions from lawmakers at a Panel on Home Affairs meeting at the Legislative Council on Thursday.

Lau Kong-wah. File Photo: Gov HK.

‘Human recorder’

Civic Party’s Kenneth Chan Ka-lok said Lau only acted as a “human recorder” in repeating the government’s response.

“I believe this harbouring [of the LCSD], it is unacceptable – such political censorship should not be allowed in Hong Kong, a free society, this is shameful,” Chan said.

Pro-Beijing lawmaker Ip Kwok-him also said that the government should release more information on incident. He said it was hard to avoid politics with issues across the Taiwan Strait, though he did not see political censorship in the art sector in Hong Kong.

In response, Lau said he acknowledged the concerns of the lawmakers.

“I am currently looking at documents and practices. After reviewing, I will discuss with the [LegCo] president to determine when I should come back to give you an answer,” Lau said near the end of the meeting.

Lau was hounded by reporters as he left the meeting room, but he did not answer any further questions.

Taipei National University of the Arts. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

No restrictions

During the meeting, Chan also asked whether the name of the National Taiwan University of Sport will be changed when Hong Kong young athletes receive government funding to join sports events held at the school.

Lau said he did not foresee any issues with using the full name.

“On names of competitions, they are ruled by certain international regulations we will follow… therefore I do not see any restrictions,” Lau said.

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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.