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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Hundreds in Hong Kong complain Bible too sexual in apparent protest of obscenity ruling

HONG KONG: More than 1,700 people have complained to Hong Kong regulators that the Bible is overly sexual and violent, apparently to mock a recent ruling condemning a sex survey in a student newspaper.

The Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority said Thursday it had received 1,766 complaints since the launch of an anonymous Web site detailing sexual and violent content in the Bible.

The site and the deluge of complaints were sparked by last week's decision by regulatory authorities to classify a university student journal as "indecent."

"Student Press," published by students at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, was condemned by the Obscene Articles Tribunal for including a sex survey that asked readers whether they had fantasized about incest and bestiality.

The anonymous Web site — which claims to be authored by "a Hong Kong student" — says the holy book contains passages far more disturbing than the sex survey.

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The Chinese-language Web site quotes lengthy Biblical passages containing scenes of rape, incest and cannibalism. It also includes a sample of a complaint letter, which it encourages readers to copy and submit to authorities.

"The Bible not only has incest, its obscenity far exceeds the university journal," the Web site said, after referencing last weeks regulatory decision.

The Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority referred the journal to the obscenity tribunal last week, after receiving more than 20 complaints. The authority said Thursday that a total of 184 complaints were lodged against the paper.

Editors at the student journal insisted they did nothing wrong. They also staged protests, saying the "indecent" label violated academic freedom.

Publications deemed "indecent" must be sealed in a wrapper with a warning, and people who publish or distribute such items without doing so may be fined up to HK$400,000 (US$51,152; €37,795) and jailed for one year.

The Bible should also be "wrapped in a plastic bag with a warning notice before it is sold to people over 18 years old," the anonymous Web site said.

So far no major Christian groups have publicly responded to the complaints against the Bible.

Hong Kong's Christian community, largely Protestant and Roman Catholic, is estimated at about 660,000, including 105,000 Filipino Catholics, many of whom work as domestic helpers in this wealthy city.


Web site alleging Bible is obscene: This is web in traditional Chinese.

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