Chinese Government Now Using National Security Law To Censor Art Being Displayed In Hong Kong
from the less-freedom-for-all;-tiny-Chinese-flags-for-others dept
Hong Kong’s new “national security” law — thrust on it by the Chinese government that’s supposed to stay out of Hong Kong’s governmental business until 2047 — continues to increase the amount of censorship in the supposedly still-independent region.
Once the Chinese government began interfering, Hong Kong residents revolted. This only encouraged the Chinese government to apply a heavier hand. The new law allows prosecutors to seek life sentences for anti-government protesting. It also hands police the power to censor the internet and compel assistance to decrypt communications.
To further ensure its desires go unchallenged, the Chinese government adopted a resolution that forced four pro-democracy legislators out of office in Hong Kong. This led to another dozen sympathetic lawmakers resigning from their positions in protest. Unfortunately, this means there are even fewer Hong Kong politicians willing to stand up to the Chinese government’s impositions.
The national security law has already enabled the punishment of dissent, censored the internet, silenced pro-democracy press, and ousted pro-democracy legislators. Now it’s coming for culture, seeking to limit Hong Kong residents to government-approved creative works.
The updated rules announced Friday require Hong Kong censors considering a film for distribution to look out not only for violent, sexual and vulgar content, but also for how the film portrays acts “which may amount to an offense endangering national security.”
Anything that is “objectively and reasonably capable of being perceived as endorsing, supporting, promoting, glorifying, encouraging or inciting” such acts is potential grounds for deeming a film unfit for exhibition, the rules now say.
This gives China-approved censors the freedom to forbid anything they perceive as being anti-China. And it’s not just limited to content. The rules also allow films to be censored if the perceived “effect” of viewers of the work might cross the multiple lines the Chinese government says now threaten the security of the nation.
The new rules have already had their intended impact on theaters and filmmakers, including those participating in an annual Hong Kong film festival.
A local cinema was pressured into scrapping the screening of a documentary on the fierce clashes between police and radical protesters occupying the Hong Kong Polytechnic University at the height of the social unrest, while the M+ Museum in the city’s cultural hub came under similar pressure not to show exhibits deemed to be anti-China art.
In a separate development on Friday, organisers of the Fresh Wave International Short Film Festival, which nurtures local young film talent, cancelled its screenings for Far From Home, saying the Office for Film, Newspaper and Article Administration had failed to issue either a certificate of approval or notice of refusal to approve in time.
And so it continues. China isn’t going to wait until 2047 to take control of Hong Kong. It wants subservience now. The pro-democracy protests that have rocked Hong Kong for the past few years will continue. But it looks as though China’s national security mandates will ultimately turn Hong Kong into a directly controlled subsidiary of the Chinese government a couple of decades ahead of schedule.