When booksellers vanish, our freedoms vanish. That’s why we opened our own bookstore while theirs began to close.
In October 2016, the abduction of five Hong Kong booksellers made global headlines. Interrogated for operating bookstores that sold controversial books banned in Mainland China only 4 have since returned. Similar reports of journalists being fired, threatened, or even physically attacked are constant. Clear signs Hong Kong’s Basic Law that protects freedom of expression – Article 27 is under threat. To highlight this we did the unthinkable. We opened a bookstore that sold controversial books in Hong Kong. Except with one small difference. All the books inside were redacted. Over 1000 of the books the government didn’t want people to see went on sale for $27 to demonstrate what life without freedom of expression would be like. Raising money for Amnesty International Hong Kong and awareness of the erosion of freedoms in the city.
We also censored the entire Hong Kong Free Press online newspaper on February 16th (HKFP is a credible news source that has been blocked by authorities in Mainland China since 2015). Their 3.5 million readers immediately thought the site had now been hacked or blocked in Hong Kong. Except viewers that noticed a simple banner that allowed them to un-censor the site. Using the same code we enabled Facebook and Twitter users to black out their posts and share. Portraits of booksellers, protesters and whistle blowers disappeared on transit screens all over the city. Typographic posters of Basic Law article 27 dissected to reveal these same voices of dissent. And over 50 international artists works were auctioned to further raise awareness and donations.
In just two days, the bookstore sold out, with the campaign raising over a million dollars. Creating hundreds of headlines locally and internationally and is one of Hong Kong Reddit's all time most popular topics. Reminding people that every freedom needs a fighter.
Basic Law: Article 27 “Hong Kong residents shall have freedom of speech, of the press and of publication; freedom of association, of assembly, of procession and of demonstration; and the right and freedom to form and join trade unions, and to strike”.
Amnesty International. Every Freedom Needs a Fighter.
CCO: Reed Collins
Creative Director: Andy Reynolds
Creative Director Mike Pearson
Senior designer: Gianluca Crudele
Senior designer: Kitty Chan
Art Director: Stratos Efstathiou
Art Director: Vivian Lam
Creative technologist: Craig Mason
Videographer / Photographer: Lucy McNally
Senior strategist, Social: Angus Chow
Senior strategist, Social: Chloe Yung
Vincent Wong: Illustrator
Amnesty: Edward Tsoi
Amnesty: Elizabeth Lui
Amnesty: Mabel Au