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Hong Kong Government Censors the Word "National" in Names of Taiwanese Universities

Despite Beijing's pledge that Hong Kong's system would remain unchanged after 1997, the institutions of Hong Kong are little by little aligning themselves with the national ideology of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). 

According to local reportsthe theatrical troupe The Nonsensemakers (糊塗戲班) was invited by Hong Kong's Leisure and Cultural Services Department to take part in an event in late March. However, the department asked that the name of the alma mater of one of the troupe's members, National Taipei University of the Arts, had to be changed and the word "National" had to be removed. 

In a statement published on their Facebook page, The Nonsensemakers explained:

The Nonsensemakers were invited by the Leisure and Cultural Department to perform the piece "Three Novels: The Third Lie" from 18 to 20 March at the Tsuen Wan Town Hall. Because the Department was the organiser of the event, it was its responsibility to print out the booklets. The organisers asked for the bio of each troupe member. Our director and executive producer, Luo Shuyan, graduated from National Taipei University of the Arts (國立台北藝術大學), but the Leisure and Cultural Department said that the word "National" could not appear on the booklets and asked that it be removed. They did not even allow the English version of the name to be published. Although we fought for it, in the end we could not change their decision and we suggested the abbreviation Beiyida (北藝大). The name of one's alma mater is a basic fact, and printing the entire name on the booklets is an act of respect for learning and art. That's why we would rather remove all the information and refuse to have our curricula censored. We have no alternative. We sincerely hope that Hong Kong may continue to enjoy freedom of speech and of creative work. That is our most cherished core value. 

On March 22 Secretary for Home Affairs Lau Kong-wah read out a statement from the government at a press conference in response to the controversy. “Hong Kong has been maintaining very close and active relations with other parts of the world, especially in cultural exchanges,” Lau was quoted as saying. “The co-operation is good, is fruitful and we welcome these cultural exchanges and will continue our efforts.” Lau did not accept reporters' questions. 

On March 23 another name controversy hit the headlines after the Chinese University of Hong Kong unilaterally decided to expunge from its website the word "National" referred to National Taiwan University and other institutions of the island. 

On Thursday Taiwan's Minister of Education Wu Sihua (吳思華) said that he hoped both sides would respect each other and maintain cultural and educational exchanges on an equal level. He added that educational institutions should remain free from political interference. Wu stated that he had already asked the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Hong Kong, which serves as an unofficial embassy, to notify the Hong Kong government about the standpoint of the Taiwanese Ministry of Education. 

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