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Hong Kong regulator decides not to deem the Bible is indecent

Despite more than 2000 people in Hong Kong complaining that the Bible is indecent, the local media watchdog has refused to submit the holy book to a tribunal for classification as being obscene.

Hong Kong’s media regulator rejected the calls to bring the Bible before the Obscene Articles Tribunal to reclassify it as an indecent publication after complaints that it contains sexual and violent content and has references to rape and incest.

"The Bible is a religious text which is part of civilisation. It has been passed from generation to generation," Hong Kong’s Television and Licensing Authority said in a statement on 17 May.

A Chinese-language Web site, www.truthbible.net, had urged readers to file complaints against the Bible. The Web site accused the Bible of causing people to "tremble" from its sexual and violent content and said they should file complaints to reclassify the Bible as an indecent publication.

The Web site’s advocacy came after the regulatory authority had ruled that a series of sex columns in a newspaper published by students at the Chinese University of Hong Kong were indecent. One of the columns asked students questions about incest and bestiality.

The regulator’s decision on the Bible sparked heated debate. Some Evangelical Christians supported the ban on the student publication but some other Christians, including the Hong Kong Student Christian Movement, considered the ruling to be narrow-minded.

Kung Lap Yan, a professor at a Protestant theological college, said that the issue indicated some people don’t want Christians to try and put their religious values into society. Rose Wu of the Hong Kong Christian Institute, however, said the regulatory body’s decision on the student newspaper would suffocate the social space of a sexual minority.

When it was decided not to deem the Bible indecent, Hong Protestant pastor the Rev. Wu Chi-wai was quoted by The Scotmsan newspaper as saying: "It’s just common sense."

Christians comprise about 10 percent of the 7 million people in China’s Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong.

(c) Ecumenical News International