• The obscene article ordinance was written in 1987 [under British rule - a decade before the handover to Chinese rule], and now being applied to the Internet without revision.
• They are trying to "set up showcase in Hong Kong to intimidate Internet users."
• Since 2003 the Internet has become a vibrant public space in Hong Kong, relatively free, while the traditional media has been "suffering from very serious self-censorship."
• As for Inmediahk.net in particular (where Oiwan posted the photo in question), it is a popular citizen media website that sometimes mobilizes people to act on political issues. "So I guess they want to put up a showcase."
• She is fundraising to raise the money in case she is indeed fined up to Hong Kong$ 400,000. Also she says: "I don't think it's reasonable to face such penalty so I will continue to pursue the court case."
• Asked whether she's confident about her case, Oiwan says the lawyers she has consulted all say it's very unlikely that she will win. So she needs to be prepared to take the case to the district court or even high court. (Which will be extremely expensive.)
UPDATE: If you want to help Oiwan with her legal fees, click here.
Meanwhile, Charles Mok (writing in Chinese) has posted pictures of artwork being shown at a public exhibition in Times Square, a popular shopping complex here in Hong Kong. They include sculptures of a naked man and woman with prominent privates of all kinds, plus a watercolor of a woman lying naked in the grass, with breasts clearly exposed and legs spread open. The photo that brought Oiwan Lam an indecency ruling is a couple notches less "indecent" than these, if you want to get into the indecency-rating game. And they are on public display. What gives?
He also links to this Apple Daily item (also posted here on the author's blog) which was partially translated the other day by Roland Soong. It's title in Chinese, 只許州官畫陽具 不許百姓露兩點, translates very loosely into English as "Only officials can draw the Male Instrument while ordinary folk can't show the Two Points."
It refers to a hilarious animated holiday greeting card publicly available on a government family planning website. I captured a couple of shots. Click on the image below to watch the full flash animation:
... This writer found some computer animations on a government website and lodged a complaint with the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority to demand their removal. Perhaps TELA did not want to embarrass the government or because they were sexually impotent and therefore unaroused by the animations, they informed me recently: "We have investigated and according to the standards of the Obscene Articles Tribunal, we believe that the animations that you complained against are neither obscene nor indecent."
But based upon previous decisions by the Obscene Articles Tribunal and the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority, this response was unsatisfactory to me.
... The two animations were the e-greeting cards from the Hong Kong Family Planning Association (see Card 1 and Card 2). In one of the Christmas cards, an erect Penis pointing upwards went hopping and bouncing into Vagina's house ... in the animation, Penis even kissed Vagina. The reasons why I thought that these two animations were 'indecent material' are based upon the standards of the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority/Obscene Articles Tribunal. First, in the case of the Statue of David [note: yes the Statue of David was ruled indecent by the OAT in 1995], the penis was just a small part and it had be covered up because of indecency. In the animation, Penis was the main character and occupied much of the visual space. It was also a highly realistic 3D animation. So how can it not be indecent? Secondly, a vertical Penis is like an erect penis. If the drooping penis of the Statue of David was indecent, then why should a bouncing erect Penis not be indecent? Thirdly, the erect Penis went bouncing and hopping to the home of Vagina, where they encountered a problem of "being unable to enter." Why does that mean? If this animation were to be shown in an elementary school classroom, it would surely draw lots of laughter from the imaginative young students.
From any angle, the two Family Planning Association animations went further than either the Statue of David or the Chinese University Student Press, or even the masked nipples of the female British soldier in the February 27, 2007 issue of Wen Wei Po. Based upon the previous standards of the Television and Entertainment Authority and the Obscene Articles Tribunal, these two animations are not just indecent, but obscene. But since the logo of the Family Planning Association is present, they used a different set of standards. The Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority did not even need to refer the greeting cards to the Obscene Articles Tribunal for classification. Instead, they just replied to me that there was no problem based upon some vague "standards of the Obscene Articles Tribunal." Does this mean that Hong Kong has become a sexless international city in which "government officials are allowed to draw penises, but citizens cannot show nipples"?
Meanwhile another Hong Kong blogger has a petition calling on Flickr to stop the way it completely blocks access by Hong Kong's adult Flickr users to anything not categorized as "safe." (Including the artistic topless picture Oiwan linked to which is less lewd than the art that Charles Mok photographed at a public exhibition in a Hong Kong shopping mall.)
People are starting to spread the petition with this badge: