Hong Kong has boasted a thriving film scene and for much of the latter half of the last century, Cantonese cinema was world class Photo: AFP/File
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Hong Kong to censor films for national security breaches

17 Comments

Hong Kong censors are to vet all films for national security breaches under expanded powers announced on Friday, in the latest blow to the financial hub's political and artistic freedoms.

Authorities in semi-autonomous Hong Kong have embarked on a sweeping crackdown to root out Beijing's critics after huge and often violent democracy protests convulsed the city in 2019.

A new China-imposed security law and an official campaign dubbed "Patriots rule Hong Kong" has since criminalized much dissent and strangled the democracy movement.

The latest target is films.

In a statement on Friday, the government said the Film Censorship Ordinance had been expanded to include "any act or activity which may amount to an offense endangering national security".

"When considering a film as a whole and its effect on the viewers, the censor should have regard to his duties to prevent and suppress acts or activities endangering national security, and the common responsibility of the people of Hong Kong to safeguard the sovereignty, unification and territorial integrity of the People's Republic of China," the new guidance, which is effective immediately, states.

Films are rigorously vetted on the Chinese mainland and only a handful of Western films or documentaries ever see a commercial release each year.

Hong Kong's Film Censorship Authority has traditionally employed a much lighter touch.

Historically, the city has boasted a thriving film scene and for much of the latter half of the last century, Cantonese cinema was world-class.

In more recent decades, slick mainland Chinese and South Korean blockbusters have come to dominate the regional film scene.

But Hong Kong still maintains some key studios, a handful of lauded directors and a thriving indie scene.

Yet there are growing signs authorities want to see an increase in mainland-style controls over the cultural and art scenes in Hong Kong.

In March, an award-winning documentary about Hong Kong's massive pro-democracy protests was pulled hours before its first commercial screening after days of criticism from a pro-Beijing newspaper.

It said the film's content breached the new national security law.

Earlier this year a university cancelled a prestigious press photography exhibition that featured pictures of the 2019 protests, citing security concerns.

And M+, a multi-million-dollar contemporary art museum expected to open soon, has said it will allow security officials to vet its collection for any security law breaches before it opens to the public later this year.

© 2021 AFP

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.


17 Comments
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What can the President of The United States do? Hong Kong belongs to China under the agreement that was honored. America is not the problem solver the world. I am American. The people of Hong Kong must fight for what they believe in. America can put pressure on China, however this agreement was that England hand over Hong Kong back to China. I do not agree with what China is doing, however Hong Kong is China now.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Free Hong Kong! Boycott Beijing 2022!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Hong Kong is a police state now, simple as that.

There is zero freedom of movement, freedom of speech or to freedom to show any opposition to the corrupt puppet regime and crooked judiciary. People "disappear" who stand up for democracy and freedom. It is a dangerous terror region which should be avoided at all costs. Any individual who even transits through there en-route to a free nation is at risk of being arrested and detained at the whim of the puppet communist regime.

Boycott Communist China. Boycott the Genocide Games 2022.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

If Hong Kong seems bad right now, imagine how worse of a dystopian situation is in the mainland where even thinking about something offensive as deemed by authorities can land you in jail. I wonder what would Bruce Lee say about Hong Kong if he was still alive today.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Ah, the good old Bruce Lee movies! Be water, my friend.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

More oppression of a once, artistically thriving and beloved Hong Kong.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

This is the final nail inf the coffin of HK movie. It was on a slow decline since the 2000's, but this is the end of the line. One of the most energetic, artistic, original and influential entertainment industry in the history of the modern world. From the Shaw Brothers to Stephen Chow, from Tsui Hark to Bruce Lee, Wong-kar Wai to John Woo... It's all over. Rest in peace. You will be missed.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Some have clearly changed their viewpoint of China’s assertiveness in a very short time:

- “I fear that the only thing that can stop China from taking over the world is again America.”

“Freedom from oppression!” Let’s all support the great ‘people and independent spirits’ of Hong Kong!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Headline should be "China to censor films.......".

Patriots indeed. A once great city gradually succumbing to the dead hand of CCCP.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Change has to come from within mainland China. But I just worry, if China is to get rid of the CCP and become a democratic country, what are some people going to use as an excuse to continue bashing the Chinese?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Change has to come from within mainland China. But I just worry, if China is to get rid of the CCP and become a democratic country, what are some people going to use as an excuse to continue bashing the Chinese?

^^ CCP 50-cent-army member alert ^^

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The end of Hong Kong and Bruce Lee.

Another victim of chinas tyranny

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The CCP Beijing bullies are determined to poison the well of Hong Kong's democratic values and cherished dream of freedom, but the people of Hong Kong have not lost; they just haven't won yet, but the day will surely come to bury their CINO (communist in name only) oppressors from the north.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Hong Kong films become bland

0 ( +0 / -0 )

but the day will surely come to bury their CINO (communist in name only) oppressors from the north.

Yes. And make no mistake - Carrie Lam, her fellow pro Commie puppets, HK police, public servants, and the judiciary, will all also be tried and face execution ultimately, when the sick Communist regime falls.

Freedom and Democracy lovers will be dancing in the streets for a week.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

No surprise. Totally expected after the HK takeover. However, our media and government should not posture too much, seeing how free speech is increasingly censored in the West too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I agree. Boycott Chinese products and the Olympics. I hope it proves to be a powerful message.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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