Hong Kong proposes film censorship law to 'safeguard national security' | Inquirer News
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Hong Kong proposes film censorship law to ‘safeguard national security’

/ 05:20 PM August 24, 2021
hk buildings

 Graffiti has been removed off a fence in Hong Kong’s financial district, the site of many 2019 protests, Hong Kong, China, April 23, 2021. REUTERS FILE PHOTO

HONG KONG — Hong Kong said on Tuesday new
film censorship legislation will be introduced to “safeguard
national security,” in another sign of shrinking freedoms in the
former British colony.

China introduced a sweeping national security law in June
last year to crack down on what it deems subversion,
secessionism, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces,
following months of sometimes violent pro-democracy protests in
2019.

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The new “film censorship” amendment bill will help enhance
the regulatory framework, the government said in a statement,
with a view to “ensuring more effective fulfillment of the duty
to safeguard national security.”

“The main reference is the national security law … for
instances, acts or activities which might endorse, support,
glorify, encourage and incite such activities that might
endanger national security,” Edward Yau, Hong Kong’s commerce
secretary, told reporters.

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Hong Kong’s number two official, the chief secretary, will
also be empowered to revoke a film’s license if found to be
“contrary to the interests of national security.”

Those who violate the law could sentenced to three years
imprisonment and fined HK$1 million ($128,400).

The bill will be put to the city’s Legislative Council next
Wednesday.

Hong Kong introduced new film censorship guidelines in June
to ban films perceived as promoting or glorifying acts which may
endanger national security.

Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 with the promise
its wide-ranging freedoms, including freedom of expression,
would remain intact. Beijing and Hong Kong authorities have
repeatedly denied curbing human rights and freedoms.

The move comes after recent cancellations of a number of
screenings of protest-related films and documentaries at cinemas
and art centers.

A documentary called “Taiwan Equals Love” on Taiwan’s gay
marriage debate was pulled in June, after the Film Censorship
Authority refused to approve its full screening. China considers
self-ruled Taiwan a breakaway province.

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The Cannes Film Festival screened a new documentary titled
“Revolution of Our Times,” which chronicles the 2019 protests,
by filmmaker Kiwi Chow as a surprise addition in July,

Chow said he doesn’t plan to screen it in Hong Kong given
previous censorship guidelines announced in June.
(Reporting by Jessie Pang; Editing by James Pomfret and Nick
Macfie)

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TAGS: China, Film Censorship, Hon Kong, Laws, Legislation, Media, National security
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