Members of the Hong Kong performance troupe Nonsensemakers on Monday accused the Hong Kong government of political bias over demands they claimed had been placed on the group as it prepares for an event.
A Nonsensemakers member surnamed Tai (戴) said on Facebook that the Department of Leisure and Cultural Services had made verbal demands that the troupe remove the word “national” from acting producer Luo Shu-yan’s (羅淑燕) alma mater, Taipei National University of the Arts, which is in a brochure introducing the group.
Tai said the Hong Kong government’s alleged demand was “absurd and terrible,” adding that “Hong Kong today is a totalitarian government that cannot even allow a name.”
Tai said that Hong Kong society is losing its freedoms of speech and creativity, adding that everyone must stand fast in the face of totalitarianism.
The troupe said it had tried to reason with the department on multiple occasions and even offered to change the introduction from Chinese to English.
However, the department insisted that the Chinese shorthand “Taipei University of Arts” must be used, the troupe said.
Nonsensemakers posted an article on Facebook later on Monday saying that it would rather remove the controversial wording from the introduction than print partial or edited information.
The name of one’s alma mater is a basic fact and to include it in its entirety is to respect both art and the academia, the troupe said, adding that hopefully, Hong Kong continues to enjoy the troupe’s most prized core values — freedom of speech and creativity.
The group included in the post a photograph of Luo holding her diploma from the university.
Taipei National University of the Arts president Yang Chi-wen (楊其文) told On.cc, a Hong Kong Web-based media outlet, that the department’s demand that the word “national” be removed was “incredibly stupid and without wisdom.”
Yang said he would continue to protest the politicizing of art by the department.
As of press time last night, the department had yet to respond to a request for comment.
Chinese-language Hong Kong newspaper Headline Daily found an archived use of the full name of the university in official department documents dating back to October 2003.
The department then issued a media release promoting a new rendition to the Chinese opera piece Golden House for My Beloved (金屋藏嬌) by Wu Hsing-kuo (吳興國), who the department called “Taipei National University of Arts department of drama associate professor.”
Nonsensemakers have an upcoming performance of The Third Lie in Hong Kong, a retelling of the book of the same name by Agota Kristof. It is the third in a trilogy, with The Notebook and The Proof the first and second books respectively.
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