Since Hong Kong adhered to the free tourism policy for mainland Chinese tourists, books banned by communist authorities from the mainland have become highly sought after by Chinese tourists, including Chinese Communist Party officials, who are regular customers.
The forbidden books are often popular presents among mainland Chinese tourists.
A small but popular bookstore in Causeway Bay has gained its reputation by exclusively selling books banned in the mainland for the past 10 years.
The owner, Ziqiang Deng, said that people sought different books from time to time; however, they were mainly after books related to current affairs.
Ziqiang said that suddenly books regarding the scandals of Gu Kailai (wife of Bo Xilai) and Bo Xilai became very poular after the news spread.
Books about the new Chinese leadership of Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang became bestsellers after they came to power. Ziqiang revealed that a regular group of customers from Mainland China spend a few thousand dollars on particular books and asked how they could take them through customs.
Ziqiang said that they could go through customs by showing their special identity cards, as they come every two or three months to Hong Kong buying a variety of books about gossip or history.
He said that they are just collecting information, as they often order boxes of books, which are then sent to their hotels. He mentioned that there have been visitors from Mainland China who have purchased books banned on the mainland as gifts ever since they have been on sale.
There is a culture in China of giving presents to officials of the Chinese Communist Party, which used to be watches or jewelry. But now, books tend to be more popular. Bookstores in Hong Kong have a ranking system for best-selling banned books and magazines, including the New Era magazine.