Hong Kong to censor films critical of China's Communist Party

Associated Press

HONG KONG (June 11, 2021) — Hong Kong censors now have the power to ban films that endanger national security, prompting concerns that freedom of expression is being further curtailed in a city once known for its vibrant arts and film scene.

Authorities are cracking down on criticism of Chinese Communist Party rule, arresting many pro-democracy activists in the city and implementing a sweeping national security law last year that criminalizes actions such as the calls for independence during months of anti-government protests in 2019.

The Hong Kong government announced Friday that it has amended the guidelines for censors in the city’s Film Censorship Ordinance to include vigilance against any “portrayal, depiction or treatment of any act or activity which may amount to an offense endangering national security.”

Censors have the power to deem films unsuitable for exhibition to “prevent or suppress any act or activity endangering national security,” it said in a statement.

“The film censorship regulatory framework is built on the premise of a balance between protection of individual rights and freedoms on the one hand, and the protection of legitimate societal interests on the other,” the government said.

The amended ordinance takes Hong Kong a step closer to the censorship of films on the Chinese mainland, which are closely vetted for themes and scenes critical of the Communist Party's leadership or that do not align with values that the government seeks to espouse.

“This film censorship system shows how freedom of expression is disappearing from Hong Kong," said Anders Hammer, director of “Do Not Split,” an Oscar-nominated documentary about the 2019 protests in Hong Kong. "In 2021 we have seen how the situation is deteriorating further where activists and pro-democracy politicians are put in prison, charged under the new draconian national security law,” he said.

“And unfortunately, it looks like the local government and Beijing only want to continue with this dissolvement of basic democratic rights in Hong Kong,” he said.

In March, organizers canceled the screening of the documentary “Inside the Red Brick Wall” which portrays clashes between pro-democracy protesters and police at a local university, following an editorial in a pro-Beijing newspaper that said the movie spreads messages of subversion and may breach the national security law.

Censors in May also issued warnings to a hospital workers’ union over the screening of two films related to the crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989, stating that it had not sought approval and that one of the films had not been rated.

Earlier this month, Hong Kong authorities banned for a second year the annual candlelight vigil held in remembrance of victims of the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

Authorities have also ramped up efforts to overhaul the school system to instill “patriotism” in students.

Comments

We moderate all reader comments, usually within 24 hours of posting (longer on weekends). Please limit your comment to 300 words or less and ensure it addresses the article - NOT another reader's comments. Comments that contain a link (URL), an inordinate number of words in ALL CAPS, rude remarks directed at other readers, or profanity/vulgarity will not be approved. More details

SIGN UP FOR OUR DAILY NEWS BRIEF

FEATURED PODCAST

VOTE IN OUR POLL

Which high-profile GOP senator would you choose to replace Mitch McConnell?

CAST YOUR VOTE

GET PUSH NOTIFICATIONS

SUBSCRIBE

LATEST AP HEADLINES

  Claudette regains tropical storm strength after 13 deaths
  American taxpayers paying billions owed by California renters
Fear shakes Mexico border city after violence leaves 18 dead
Israeli PM: World powers must ‘wake up’ on Iran nuke deal
  Tokyo Olympics to allow limit of 10,000 local fans in venues

LATEST FROM THE WEB

Black theologian sounds warning, savages 'demonic' ideologies behind CRT, BLM, antiracism
A kid with the right attitude takes on her school board’s BLM hypocrisy
Following the scientists who were destroying America just to spite Trump
Arizona Gov. Ducey issues sweeping order protecting college students against COVID mandates
Slave stories history 'forgot': black people owned slaves too

CARTOON OF THE DAY

Cartoon of the Day
NEXT STORY
American taxpayers paying billions owed by California renters

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (June 21, 2021) — Gov. Gavin Newsom says California will pay off all the past-due rent that accumulated in the nation's most populated state because of drastic shutdown measures he took during the pandemic period.