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Hong Kong: From Indecent Student Magazine to Indecent Bible

The campaign against the Bible was started by an anonymous website, truthbible, on 15 of May to protest against the Obscene Articles Tribunal's (OAT) internim ruling that two issues of Chinese University's student paper were indecent.

Uptill now, the website has received 2041 complaints, while the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority (Tela) has received more than 2,300 before the weekend. Spokeperson from the Tela said that they wouldn't hand over the Bible to the OAT because Bible is a classic and its value has been recognised by the community.

The website cites a number of texts and stories from the Bible to show that it is full of violence, obscenity and discrimination, such as description of incest between father and daughters, rape, etc. However, the action actually gains support from Christians who want to use Bible for defending freedom of speech in Hong Kong.

In an internet joint statement (via inmediahk.net), it said:

我們不要忘記歷史的教訓:十六世紀宗教改革家加爾文生平最大污點,是對異見者塞爾維特 (Michael Servetus) 的殘酷逼害。

We shouldn't forget the historical lesson: The greatest mistake of the sixteenth century reformer Calvin was his oppression against Michael Servetus.

或許有人會覺得,投訴《聖經》豈非將《聖經》「擺上枱」?——但《聖經》從來都是應該被「擺上枱」,發光發亮的,而非只放在酒店抽屜陰暗處「辟邪」,或安於教堂的長椅背後、每逢到禮拜天才被翻幾頁。《聖經》教我們行公義、施憐憫,這些教導,都應該讓世人看得見!

Some might feel that the complaint against the Bible is to put Bible on the bargaining table, however, shouldn't the nature of Bible be put on the table, so that its glory will shine. We shouldn't put the Bible in the drawers or at the back of the long chairs in the church and recite the book once a week. We should show to the world that the teaching in the Bible is for us to practice justice, mercy and love.

cowcfj is an individual blogger joining the campaign, here is his explanation:

我的目的不在於要打倒聖經,而是要凸顯淫審處不合理的處理手法。…我相信,聖經就算送審了,最後也沒可能被裁定為「二級不雅」的,淫審處人員沒有這種膽量。他們只敢對大學生、明報下手。他們只是明光社手中的棋子。

My objective is not to beat down the Bible, but to show the unreasonable judgement of OAT… I believe that even the Tela had handed over the case to the OAT, the members wouldn't have the courage to rule it as “category II indecent”, they only target on university students, ming pao (local newspapers). They are just used as the tool of the Society of Truth and Light (translator's note a secular organization supported by conservative church).

Memory-Melody-Mentality quotes Malcolm X to explain the spirit of this action, the ultimate objective is an apology from OAT for their mistake:

著名黑人民權鬥士Malcolm X 曾說:「你跑到他的宮邸,希望他改正問題--但偏偏問題就是他製造出來的。他就是罪犯。你不要把你的事交給罪犯,你應該把罪犯送到 (國際) 法庭。」我們都只是一群小市民,我們沒有能力把淫審處送到國際法庭,但我們有能力吸引世界的目光。我們將繼續以荒謬回應荒謬,我們會一直嘗試再一次讓路透社的oddly enough 報導香港,直至淫審處面對他的錯誤,公開道歉。

The famous human rights activist Malcolm X once said: “you run to his presidential house, wishing him to correct the problem, however, it is him who created the problem, he is the criminal. You shouldn't hand over the issue to the criminal, you should send the criminal to the (international) tribunal.” We are all citizen, we don't have the power to send the OAT to the international tribunal, but we can attract the world's attention. We will use farce in response to farce, we will try to create something so that international news agencies such as Reuters would use “oddly enough” to report on Hong Kong, until the OAT admits its mistake and makes public apology.

Since the Tela has refused to hand over the case to the tribunal, plastichk further questions the selective prosecution practice:

請問一聲,影視處是根據哪一條法律,去判斷「源遠流長的宗教文獻或文學作品」有豁免審查的特權 (Immunity)?

如何去判定「一般合理社會人士,普遍接受的道德禮教標準」?中大學生報只有百多宗投訴,聖經在兩日內卻已經有超過二千個投訴!

「道德禮教標準」是隨著時代改變的,以往普遍接受,不代表將來會繼續接受。
大家要留意,影視處是政府轄下的「行政機關」,而不是法院--所以一句講晒,選擇性執法惡晒。

大家要決定啞忍,還是對這種不公不義的現況提出抗爭?去申訴專員公署投訴?籌錢向高院提出司法覆核?大家好好想一想吧。

Tell me, which regulation gives the Tela the power to grant immunity to “classical and historical religious and literature texts”? How to draw the line of “the moral standard generally accepted by ordinary people in a normal society”? We only have a hundred something complaints against the CU student press, but we have more than 2000 complaints on the Bible within two days!

“Moral standard” is changing according to time, it might be acceptable in the past, but it doesn't mean that it is acceptable in the future. Please notice that Tela is an “administrative body”, it is not a tribunal or court –we can conclude that it is selective prosecution.

Should we decide to be silent about that, or should we confront this unjust practice? Whether to complain to The Office of The Ombudsman (trans. note: a government body against abusive administrative power)? or to collect money for judicial review? Please think hard on this.

ESWN has translated the CU student magazine's questionaire which touched upon incest and animal love. Last week, the OAT warned a local newspapers that its report on the student magazine issue had also violated the indecency and obscenity ordinance as it had made some direct quotes from the questionaire. Therefore, by translating the questionaire, ESWN also ran the risk of a maximum fine of HK$400,000 and 12 months in jail.

Ooops… by linking to ESWN's article here at GVO, I will be in the same boat. Now you might get the meaning of using farce (complaint on Bible) against farces (OAT's ruling against student magazine and obscene hyperlink).

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