Thu, Jul 31, 2003 - Page 5 News List

Comic book filled with political satire sells well at fair

AP , HONG KONG

A new comic book satirizing Hong Kong's troubled Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa (董建華), depicted as a stupid, stumbling emperor who causes unrest among his people, has attracted a large following at a book fair, its publisher said Wednesday.

Another comic lampooning Hong Kong's former security chief Regina Ip (葉劉淑儀) was also a hit. Both sold about 1,800 copies each on the first day of a six-day fair beginning Tuesday, publisher Jimmy Pang said.

Tung has come under fire recently over his handling of an anti-subversion bill. Half a million people demonstrated against it earlier this month, saying it would undermine Hong Kong's civil liberties.

The protest prompted a crisis in his administration that forced him to postpone its passage through the legislative council. The government was further shaken by the resignations of two key secretaries, including Ip who had been one of the proposed law's strongest supporters.

The comic about Tung is titled Chee-hwa Uprising and features a silly emperor who ruined his country of 7 million people -- a population similar to Hong Kong's -- with his poor policies.

The one about Ip, titled with four Chinese characters bearing similar pronunciation to her name, is about a girl's suffering under a bad mother.

The books are the latest in a three-year series of comics published by Hong Kong Subculture's Four Elephants Company lampooning local celebrities.

"The sales are really beyond our imagination," Pang said, adding that a similar political comic attracted just 800 buyers on the book fair's opening day last year. "What surprises us is that many of the readers are teenagers and children, with some less than 10 years old."

Mak Ngok, a political scientist at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, said the record sales were the latest proof of Tung's unpopularity.

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