October 28, 2021

Film Censorship Law Passed in Hong Kong

In a move that could cripple its entertainment industry, Hong Kong’s legislature passed a new film censorship law on Wednesday, 27 October.

Approved by the opposition-free Legislative Council, the laws allows John Lee Ka-chiu – who serves as Hong Kong’s Chief Secretary for Administration – to revoke a film’s licence if it is found to “endorse, support, glorify, encourage and incite activities that might endanger national security.”

Additionally, if persons are found guilty of violating this law, they face up to three years imprisonment and paying up to $130 000 in fines.

The implementation of this new bill comes two years after pro-democracy protests took place in the city, which serves as a special administrative region of China. In response, the Chinese government passed a national security law on Hong Kong that effectively outlawed dissent.

Filmmakers, content producers and educators alike have criticised the censorship law, which increases the likelihood of self-censorship and stifles creative expression.

Kenny Ng, associate professor at the Academy of Film at Hong Kong Baptist University, commented: “Adding national security clauses to the bill is clear political censorship. It’s heavy-handed. The film industry will need time to adapt.”