Says Chinese Characters co-editor Jeffrey Wasserstrom:
What has surprised me most since the handover — in a positive way — is that one is still able to buy so many books in Hong Kong that cannot be purchased or sold publicly in any other part of the People’s Republic of China, including ones that offer views of events such as June 4 and people such as the Dalai Lama that contradict Beijing’s official positions. This speaks to a special cultural role that Hong Kong has played as an in-between space, which is also reflected in everything from the kinds of films that can be shown to the sorts of talks that can be given on university campuses.
It is obviously important to keep a close eye on other things — the worrisome signs of increased censorship of newspapers, the push and pull between those struggling to increase the independence of political bodies and those seeking to bring them further under the control of Beijing, and so on — but these cultural issues also deserve attention. So, too, in a related vein, does the different way that the internet works in Hong Kong as opposed to the mainland.