Hong Kong passes film censorship law to 'safeguard national security'

China imposed a sweeping nationwide safety legislation over its most restive metropolis final 12 months, and Hong Kong’s legislature has no opposition lawmakers left after mass resignations from the pro-democracy camp in protest towards the ousting of some colleagues.

The Hong Kong authorities stated the movie censorship legislation was geared toward content material deemed to “endorse, support, glorify, encourage and incite activities that might endanger national security.”

The legislation empowers Hong Kong’s chief secretary, the second-most highly effective determine within the metropolis’s administration, to revoke a movie’s license whether it is “found to be contrary to national security interests.”

Punishment for violating the legislation included as much as three years imprisonment and fines of as much as HK$1 million ($128,400).

“The goal is very clear: it’s to improve the film censorship system, to prevent any act endangering the national security,” Commerce Secretary Edward Yau advised the Legislative Council.

Critics, nonetheless, voiced fears that the brand new legislation would hurt Hong Kong’s vibrant cinema business, whose output ranges from Bruce Lee’s revolutionary martial arts films to acclaimed director Wong Kar-wai’s arthouse movies.

“Adding national security clauses to the bill is clear political censorship,” stated Kenny Ng, affiliate professor on the Academy of Film at Hong Kong Baptist University.

“It’s heavy-handed. The film industry will need time to adapt.”

Since the nationwide safety legislation was launched in response mass 2019 pro-democracy protests, most opposition politicians and activists have been jailed, both underneath the brand new legislation or for different alleged crimes, or have fled into exile.

Hong Kong University to remove 'Pillar of Shame' Tiananmen Square sculpture

Scrutiny over schooling, arts, media and tradition has intensified. Book publishers have admitted to self-censoring, cinemas have pulled a protest documentary and a college cancelled a press pictures exhibition. A up to date artwork museum stated nationwide safety police may vet its collections. Pro-democracy tabloid Apple Daily closed in June amid a nationwide safety probe.

This 12 months, for the primary time since 1969, the Oscars were not broadcasted in Hong Kong, matching selections in mainland China, regardless of an unprecedented nomination for a Hong Kong-born director.

Authorities reject the outline of their actions as a “crackdown” on civil society and say the rights and freedoms promised to Hong Kong upon its return to Chinese rule in 1997 stay intact, however nationwide safety is a “red line”.

Filmmaker Kiwi Chow, whose documentary “Revolution of Our Times” chronicles the 2019 protests and was featured at this 12 months’s Cannes Film Festival, says the invoice hurts the native film business by lowering “the freedom to create.”

“It will worsen self-censorship and fuel fear among filmmakers,” Chow advised Reuters.

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