As the annual Hong Kong Book Fair kicked off, a publisher selling sensitive titles has raised concerns that the case of the missing publishers has resulted in “white terror” in the book-selling industry.

The book fair opened on Wednesday, attracting some Hongkongers to queue outside the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre as early at 3am. The event, organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, will run until Tuesday. This is the 27th time the fair has been held and for the first time, a theme – “Chinese Martial Arts Literature” – has been introduced.

Hong Kong Book Fair. Photo: Screenshot from

Pang Chi Ming, director of the Subculture Press, which publishes books considered sensitive on the mainland, said that since the incident of the missing Causeway Bay Books publishers, the production of sensitive titles have almost completely stopped because printers and distributors are all wary of being involved, Apple Daily reported. Pang described the situation in the book selling industry as one of “white terror.”

Five booksellers from Causeway Bay Books, which sells political titles banned in China, went missing last year. Last month, publisher Lam Wing-kee revealed at a press conference that he was in fact detained by a “special unit” in Ningbo and was asked to hand over the names of the bookstore’s customers.

Pang Chi-ming’s display. Photo: Pang Chi Ming via Facebook.

Meanwhile, The Chinese University Press’ display shows books such as The Collected Works of Zhao Ziyang, documents involving a former high-ranking official and reformist in China who was purged following the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre.

Wong, who is in charge of the publisher’s exhibition area, said that the company has been publishing books on modern history since 1998 and when making decisions on whether to publish certain books, only academic considerations are taken into account and not political ones, DBC Radio reported.

Mr. Shu, who is from Shanghai, said that this is the second time he has come to the city specifically to visit the book fair, and he will be at the event every day for the next four days, RTHK reported. He also said that books in Hong Kong are more diverse and because it is difficult to bring political titles back to the mainland, he will read them whilst in Hong Kong.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.