Film censorship law passed in Hong Kong

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A new film censorship law was passed on Wednesday in Hong Kong, stating films that threaten national security cannot be made.

Hong Kong’s chief secretary, the second-most-powerful person in the government, will get to decide what movies could potentially threaten national security and can revoke film licenses if they deem a movie is “found to be contrary to national security interests,” Reuters reported.

“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 said.

If a movie is deemed to threaten national security, it is punishable by a $128,000 fine and up to three years in prison.

The law comes after a national security law was passed in Hong Kong in 2020 that many say has been used to silence pro-democracy voices.

Critics have similar complaints about the film censorship law, saying creative freedom will be stifled in a city that features a robust movie industry.

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

The law states a film cannot “endorse, support, glorify, encourage and incite activities that might endanger national security.”

Under the national security law, most pro-democracy protests have been banned and pro-democracy groups have been forced to disband due to pressure from authorities.

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