The Hong Kong Book Fair is an echo of what is happening in society, according to many publishers and booksellers attending this year's event Wan Chai. Hongkongers turn to books to understand the issues dominating the newspaper headlines, from the chief executive election to compulsory national education in schools, they say. Books on current affairs, publishers report, have soared in popularity at this year's fair, which began yesterday at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Carmen Kwong Wing-suen, editor-in-chief at Up Publications, said its main customers were youngsters. But yesterday she noticed an increase in parents asking for one book in particular, called I Don't Believe in the Beijing Consensus. The 'Beijing consensus' is the theory that government-driven national enterprises - rather than a free economy - are the key to China's success. It has become a hot topic among parents since a Beijing-loyalist group printed controversial teaching materials for national education in Hong Kong schools, citing the theory and praising one-party rule. 'Some parents told us they are not happy about national education [to be introduced in primary schools this September], and they want to know more about the topic,' Kwong said. Other popular books include one making fun of the Hong Kong government and another criticising the new administration of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, she said. Parental concern about national education is pushing up sales of all education-related books, said Jimmy Pang Chi-ming of the publishing house Sub-Culture, which has released two new education titles. One carries interviews with teenagers returning from pro-China national education tours, the other is a critical look at the city's ever-changing education system since the handover. Leung Kam-hung, a Baptist University student majoring in liberal studies, said: 'There are not enough good books in the fair about national education, but ideas may come after reading books about the problem of the [education] system.' There has, meanwhile, been a growing interest in local history. Lai Man-cheuk, publisher of Fire Stone Publications, said his store had sold 600 books on the fatal 1967 riots. 'Youngsters are familiar with June 4, which happened in Beijing, but not the riots in Hong Kong,' he said. Ivy Wu, of the Chung Hwa Book Company, added that visitors were increasingly drawn to secondary school reference books on the development of modern China. The fair continues until July 24.