New Hong Kong law to censor old movies for security breaches

Woman looking at movie advertisements at a cinema in Hong Kong. File   | Photo Credit: AFP

Hong Kong passed a toughened film censorship law on Wednesday empowering authorities to ban past films for “national security” threats and impose stiffer penalties for any breaches in the latest blow to the city’s artistic freedoms.

Authorities have embarked on a sweeping crackdown to root out Beijing’s critics after pro-democracy protests convulsed the city two years ago.

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

Films and documentaries have become one of many cultural areas authorities have sought to purge.

In June the city announced censors would check any future films for content that breached the security law.

But the law passed on Wednesday by the city’s legislature — a body now devoid of any opposition — allows scrutiny of any titles that had previously been given a green light.

It empowers Hong Kong’s chief secretary to revoke the screening license of past and current films that are deemed “contrary to the interests of national security”.

Maximum penalties for screening an unlicensed movie have been raised to up to three years in jail and a HK$1 million ($130,000) fine.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2021 10:18:40 AM |

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