In Hong Kong, One Holiday and Lots of Book Sales

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HONG KONG — To prepare for the National Day holiday, retailers here have been stocking up on merchandise like designer bags, gold jewelry — and banned books.

Big downtown bookstores and airport kiosks alike carry paperbacks detailing the latest gossip about Communist Party cadres. More serious fare can be found at the city’s tiny “upstairs” political bookstores tucked above ground-floor storefronts. Inside are stacks of books on the Cultural Revolution, the Great Leap Forward, the Tiananmen Square crackdown of 1989 and almost everything else Beijing does not want people reading.

Twelve years after Hong Kong passed from British to Chinese rule, the territory retains many freedoms unknown in mainland China, an arrangement called “one country, two systems.” In particular, political writings censored in the mainland circulate widely here, and they are hot souvenirs among the nearly 17 million mainland tourists who visit here every year.

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