Monday, May 21, 2007

Hong Kong's Obscene Articles Tribunal

Mervyn Cheung Man-ping, one of the adjudicators of the Hong Kong's Obscene Publications Tribunal, is more than ready to talk to journalists and reporters.

Wow, is he ready: The Very Public Adjudicators of the Hong Kong Obscene Articles Tribunal

Lamentably, however, digging around via Google does not reveal much more (in English) about Cheung. Except he is chairman of something called Hong Kong Education Policy Concern Organisation. That's according to this report first published in scmp on 16 April 2007.

Oh, Mr Cheung is/was (?) also on the board of something called Hong Kong Women Teachers' Organization What's a man doing as leading member of a professional women's organisation? Go figure.

Another adjudicator of the Obscene Articles Tribunal is Choi Chi-sum. Choi is better known as secretary general of the homophobic Society for Truth and Light.

Set up just before the handover in 1997, Society for Truth and Light is a lobby group. It lobbies for "Christian values". STL shares the same values as conservative right-wing Christians in the US and has adopted their organisational style and methodology. STL had 13 full-time staff, according to this scmp report in October 2005.

So what does STL do? Publicly, STL presents position papers to LegCo and lobbied (unsuccessfully) against laws that promulgate equality regardless of sexual preference. STL also conducts surveys about media, youth and sex. And Choi or another spokesperson can usually be relied upon by journalists to furnish at least one quotable soundbyte.

Hong Kong Education Policy Concern Organisation and The Society for Truth and Light, two lobby groups with one aim? Who knows. But Cheung and Choi are both adjudicators for the Obscene Articles Tribunal.

And there is no way of knowing if either or both were sitting when OAT recently declared Chinese University Student Press guilty of publishing an "obscene" survey.

Neither is there any way of knowing if Cheung or Choi (or both) were sitting on the tribunal a couple of weeks ago when a man was found guilty by OAT and fined HK$5,000 for providing links to images in an adult forum. Yes, that's right. Not pictures. Links. Just to be clear: providing a link is now judged as being legally actionable and punishable. This is a very worrisome development.

Cheung and Choi? Instinct tells Mister Bijou that Cheung and Choi share more than meets the eye.

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