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.

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Comments on “Chinese Government Now Using National Security Law To Censor Art Being Displayed In Hong Kong”

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37 Comments
This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

To anyone who thinks moderation is censorship: I demand you explain how someone getting booted from Twitter for saying the N-word is the exact same thing as an authoritarian government preventing someone from expressing themselves under threats of fines/jail time/worse. No kindas, sortas, maybes, or buts allowed — you gotta explain how they’re the Exact. Same. Thing.

I’ll wait.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

No, it isn’t suppression of speech if i don’t let you broadcast from my living room. You are free to do it from your own, or on the street, or wherever someone wants to host you or doesn’t care whether they host you.

Grow up already.

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: 'If I can't rant on your private property I've been silenced!'

That’s crazy talk that is, why every sunday the local church suppresses my speech by refusing to let me preach the good word of the FSM in their church where everyone is, however with so many people championing the seizure of private property for the good of the public I’m sure it’s only a matter of time until the churches too are finally forced to host my speech whether they like it or not and can no longer censor me!

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re:

Sadly, this behavior from China portends what will eventually happen here in the U.S.

Please don’t take the step of claiming that someone getting the boot from a privately owned and operated service such as Twitter is censorship, Koby. I want to believe you’re smarter than that.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

" I want to believe you’re smarter than that."

Hasn’t he made it abundantly clear, by now, that he knows damn well that what he’s saying is bullshit and that he’s arguing in deliberate bad faith on behalf of his Stormfront friends who keep being butthurt over being tossed out of bars and social platforms for being deplorable assholes?

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: No Dissent Is Allowed

Until the government stops you running a site that critcixes it, you are no being censored, There is a difference between censorship, and moderation, in that with censorship, you are forced to remain silent, while with moderation, you can sat what you want else where.

If you are against censorship, you should be against Devin Nunes using the legal system to uncover critics, as it is certain that he has silenced people, it just we do not know who they are as they did not want to risk the costs of legal action.

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: No Dissent Is Allowed

"Sadly, this behavior from China portends what will eventually happen here in the U.S."

Only if you fail to uphold your constitution. I’d suggest that you concentrate on fighting any government actors violating said constitution, rather than pretending that private property owners kicking you and your Klan buddies for abusing their other customers is censorship.

Anonymous Coward says:

They are not even trying to hide it, they will slowly erase all signs of protest or artistic freedom ,they will wipe out any source of independent reporting or journalism.
hong kong will be just another part of china,
with apps, digital surveillance 24,7 of all citizens.
its sad cos hong kong used to a beacon of freedom and open democratic culture with a diverse culture of film and tv shows
and chinese censorship is going global,
hollwood films, tv, video games are censoring themselves in order to
get acess to the chinese market.
all movies now have villains, eg easter european mafia,russian gangsters
north korea,
no modern media company wants to risk annoying china with even
vaguely chinese symbols or characters that might offend the government censors.
the pandemic makes it even easier to do this.

hong kong will just be submerged under a blanket of censorship and control ,
you can do 3 things in china, go to work,
consume products ,read, use the web behind the chinese wall of censorship.
who in the west is standing up to china,?
who in the west is standing up for hong kong.?

Tanner Andrews (profile) says:

Re: [history of HK]

sad cos hong kong used to a beacon of freedom and open democratic culture

Actually, no. For roughly an hundred years prior to the hand-over, HK was a British colony, run by a governor and bureaucrats appointed from London. The citizens were free to do as they were told.

For the last few years of British rule, they were given some nominal freedom to hold elections. That was largely a stick in the eye of Red China, to whom HK was to be handed over. With the handing over, HK retained the form of elections, though obviously the candidates had to be approved from Peking.

What HK had going for it was its location and ability to handle incredible amounts of trade. So long as that continues, HK retains some advantage over the rest of Red China. It provides some insulation and deniability for entities who prefer not to deal directly with the “butchers of Beijing”, but who still would like access to the mainland’s slave labor plants.

Banking in HK may eventually fail if it winds up behind the Great Firewall of China. Other tech industries may suffer similarly.

But there was never any real tradition of freedom and democracy in HK. It was taken over by the Brits as a convenient base of operation during the opium years, and now HK can serve as a caution to Taiwan as to what awaits if it unifies with the mainland.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: [history of HK]

"For roughly an hundred years prior to the hand-over, HK was a British colony, run by a governor and bureaucrats appointed from London. The citizens were free to do as they were told."

Oh, shush. You really can’t compare the benevolence of the Queens reign to the vile autocratic dictatorship of Imperial China. The british, after all, are upstanding, white, and christian as compared to the yellow-skinned, slant-eyed pagans. The HK residents who prospered well under the White Man’s Burden now languish under the iron fist of Fu Man Chu. Have you no shame? /s

"It was taken over by the Brits as a convenient base of operation during the opium years…"

It does present a moral quandary that the origins of HK is that it was stolen at gunpoint by an 18th century drug cartel.

"…and now HK can serve as a caution to Taiwan as to what awaits if it unifies with the mainland."

There’s no if about it. China will spend the next thousand years working at taking Taiwan down, as long as Taiwan keeps calling itself "China".
Just as with HK it’s a matter of "face" by now. And unfortunately both sides of that conflict are just as stubborn, which means it’s an irreconcilable issue which will collapse in favor of Mainland China the very second the US decides not to openly have the back of Taiwan.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Big Tech censorship will fall apart in 2022 or 2024 when either censorship or calls to censor the frontrunner in the Democratic primary occur. Absent Trump, each Dem will paint the other as dangerous, and it’ll become clear why speech shouldn’t be suppressed (whether constitutional to do so or not).

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Any of them who violate their terms of service as regularly and openly as the orange one. I can’t think of any examples, but no honest person would have a problem with the rules applying equally. If Trump and his minions are the only ones doing such things, however, then there’s no hypocrisy in only banning those people.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You know, it’s totally possible that Democrats aren’t assholes nearly to the degree that Republicans are, which is why you don’t hear of them getting banned.

Consider that Republicans are just bigger assholes than Democrats. It’s certainly possible, given the mentality of most of them.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"Name ONE Democrat who should be banned from social media."

Any and every democrat who babbles about jewish space lasers, hillary’s cannibal child trafficking ring, the Kenyan Muslim, and/or insists on using the N-word all the time.

Democrats surely do get banned from social media all the time for good and valid reason; The reason you don’t hear much about that might be because unlike a republican they realize that standing up and screaming about being tossed out of a bar or social platform by the owner for being an asshole simply doesn’t reflect well on them.

Anonymous Coward says:

The really annoying thing here is that having broken the treaty with the UK, not only did China ignore that and what the world said about it’s deed, it stuck it’s fingers up, knowing full eell yhat the gutless UK would do nothing ib retaliation and that it didn’t give a crap about the HK people! Disgraceful performance, UK! You should be ashamed!

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: well duh

"it’s Communist China, did you expect hugs?"

Two points of note;

  • China is "communist" in the same way the Westboro Baptist Church is "christian". Sure, they wave The Book around and their public spiel keeps reminding you how faithful they are to the creed. In reality they’re basically the same bureaucratic oligarchy they’ve always been. The mandarins wear suits these days is all. But you tell me how a "communist nation" keeps whipping the US in terms of market power.
  • No one expects hugs from an autocratic oligarchic dictatorship. That doesn’t mean human rights violations and the erosion of democracy isn’t newsworthy.

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