HONG KONG - As debate over the Chinese University sex column and obscenity complaints against the Bible rages, Hong Kong’s largest television station held a public discussion on its popular talk show.
Religious figures, journalists, scholars, filmmakers and political commentators were invited to the TVB broadcast of “Speak Up,” Wednesday, in a discussion moderated by famed journalist Tao Kit.
Supporters for the Chinese University "Student Press" magazine appeared opposite of the adjudicator of Obscene Articles Tribunal (OAT), which had labeled the column as being obscene.
Those who appeared also included local-favorite filmmaker Ng Chi-sum and Denny Ho Kwok-leung, a Poly University professor specializing in popular culture.
Christian representatives from The Gospel Herald (Hong Kong) news service and a women’s ministry were invited to comment from a Christian viewpoint.
The majority of the speakers acknowledged that students should be able to enjoy freedom of speech and have the right to express ideas openly. Yet, when asked whether the contents in sex is justifiably "academic,” most guest speakers disagreed.
Wong Jing, Wong Jing, a 52-year-old filmmaker infamous for making sexually-themed movies and an alumnus from Chinese University, said that the "academic” value of the sex column was poorly construed.
Mo Meng-jing, a professor with the Hong Kong Baptist University’s Department of Journalism and the Chinese University of Hong Kong Department of Politics and Public Administration, frankly denied the sex column as being “academic.”
Attorney Leung Mei-fan explained laws are general moral values accepted by society and the majority of the public, and sexual materials such as the one posted in the CU “Student Press” magazine are only in the minority’s interest and therefore cannot be socially accepted.
The Gospel Herald Hong Kong CEO Susanna Lam said that since many young people are trying to challenge what is generally accepted in sexual culture, laws and prohibitions are especially needed to protect vulnerable ones and are therefore essential.
When asked to discuss about the over thousands of obscenity complaints about the Bible sent to the Television and Entertainments Licensing Authority Wednesday, participants were divided.
Chan Sze-chi, associate professor of the Department of Religion and Philosophy of Hong Kong Baptist University, openly admitted he has been sexually aroused after reading certain passages in the Bible when he was a teenager.
To the surprise of many, the religious scholar also suggested that the Bible would need to sold in a sealed wrapper labeled with the statutory warning notice of the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance, and can only be read under proper guidance.
Chan’s comments were met with criticism.
"If someone has sexual imagination due to any text or pictures on regular academic or educational literatures, do we need to seal them in wrappers also,” said Lam, of The Gospel Herald. “Basically, the problem doesn’t lie on the content of the Bible itself, but [on] the attitude of the readers."
Lam also emphasized that since the Bible guides people to do good and refrain from evil, it is unfair to compare the Holy Scriptures with the CU student sex column, which lures people to perversion.
Pornographic filmmaker Wong Jing responded that he was never caught into any sexual imagination when reading the Bible in his 14-year education at a Christian school.
The OAT adjudicator also defended the Bible.
"The Bible has a long-standing history; it is an authoritative literature for the religion,” said Cheung, an associate professor from Department of Religion and Philosophy of Hong Kong Baptist University Chan Sze-chi and lawyer Leung Mei-fan.
“As it follows the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance, personally, I don’t agree with the obscenity complaints against the Bible.”