Entertainment Hong Kong to Begin Censoring Films on “Nation Security” Grounds
Hong Kong-Singapore Travel Bubble in Doubt, Sending Shares Lower
A long-awaited quarantine-free travel corridor between Hong Kong and Singapore due to kick off later this month after several false starts may not go ahead due to a recurrence of coronavirus cases in Singapore. © Bloomberg Hong Kong International Airport As Seoul Topples Hong Kong and Singapore as Asia's Busiest Airport Edward Yau, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, said Friday there’s a “high chance” the so-called travel bubble might not proceed as scheduled, which was later echoed by Singapore’s Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung.
Beijing-style movie censorship is coming to Hong Kong, the once semi-autonomous financial hub forever famed for its vibrant film history.
In a statement released Friday, the Hong Kong government said the city’s film censorship ordinance had been expanded. Under the new regulations, any film including “any act or activity which may amount to an offense endangering national security” will be banned from exhibition.
The change is the latest blow to Hong Kong’s rapidly eroding freedoms of expression. The new guidance, which is effective immediately, brings Hong Kong’s film regulation policies more closely in line with the draconian “national security law” imposed by mainland China last year. That law effectively made all forms of political protest illegal. Scores of pro-democracy advocates have been arrested since the law was introduced, sending the city’s protest movement mostly underground.
Amid censorship fears, Hong Kong's artists contemplate an uncertain future
Hong Kong's controversial national security law has left artists, curators and gallery owners unsure about where creative expression crosses the government's new "red line."Those prevented from joining in person due to travel restrictions -- whether collectors from mainland China or European gallerists -- were instead beamed in to inspect artworks via iPads or address attendees using "live hologram" technology.
“When considering a film as a whole and its effect on the viewers, the censor should have regard to his duties to prevent and suppress acts or activities endangering national security, and the common responsibility of the people of Hong Kong to safeguard the sovereignty, unification and territorial integrity of the People’s Republic of China,” the new guidance reads.
While mainland China’s National Film Bureau operates a notoriously repressive censorship system, Hong Kong’s has long used a ratings system similar to the one employed by the Motion Picture Association of America. Sex and violence were rated for adults, or banned if too extreme, but politics were left untouched.
But even before Friday’s changes, the writing was on the wall for a more constrained reality for Hong Kong’s once famed film sector. In March, an award-winning documentary chronicling Hong Kong’s citywide pro-democracy protests in 2019 was pulled moments before its local release after days of criticism from state-aligned Chinese media outlets.
Hong Kong legislature due to approve curbs on public vote
HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong’s legislature is expected Wednesday to change electoral laws to drastically reduce the public’s ability to vote for lawmakers and increase the number of pro-Beijing lawmakers making decisions for the city. Once approved, the amendments mean the city’s national security department will check the backgrounds of potential candidates for public office and a new committee will be set up to ensure those candidates are patriotic.The number of seats in Hong Kong's legislature will be expanded to 90, with 40 of them elected by a largely pro-Beijing election committee.
From at least the 1970s through the early 2000s, Hong Kong was home to one of the world’s most vibrant and innovative commercial film industries, producing everyone from King Hu to Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Stephen Chow, Wong Kar Wai, Johnnie To and scores more. The local industry’s output and influence began to ebb with the emergence of the far larger mainland Chinese film market in the late 2000s, however, as veteran Hong Kong talent crossed the border to pursue a far larger audience, and paycheck — but at the cost of submitting to Beijing’s censorship system (most critics would argue that Hong Kong auteurs’ mainland Chinese works pale in comparison to their innovative Hong Kong-made breakthroughs).
Hong Kong’s indie film sector has attempted to keep the city’s creative flame alight, to mixed success. As recently as 2015, Ten Years, a dystopian anthology film imagining what Hong Kong might look like in 2025 amid increasing mainland Chinese control, became a runaway indie hit, beating the opening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in ticket sales at the local Hong Kong theater where it premiered. In 2021, approximately four years early, the possibility of a politically incisive project like Ten Years being produced and released in Hong Kong already has been snuffed out.
Hong Kong to censor films for national security breaches .
Hong Kong censors are to vet all films for national security breaches under expanded powers announced on Friday, in the latest blow to the financial hub's political and artistic freedoms. In a statement on Friday, the government said the Film Censorship Ordinance had been expanded to include "any act or activity which may amount to an offence endangering national security".Authorities in semi-autonomous Hong Kong have embarked on a sweeping crackdown to root out Beijing's critics after huge and often violent democracy protests convulsed the city in 2019.