Censors to ban films that endanger national security

Hong Kong’s film censors have been ordered to ban any movies deemed to be supporting or glorifying acts that could endanger national security.

The government has gazetted changes to the Film Censorship Ordinance to enable the required changes, saying this is part of its duty under the Beijing-imposed national security law.

“The censor should be vigilant to the portrayal, depiction or treatment of any act or activity which may amount to an offence endangering national security, or which may otherwise jeopardise the safeguarding of national security by the HKSAR, and any content of a film which is objectively and reasonably capable of being perceived as endorsing, supporting, promoting, glorifying, encouraging or inciting such act or activity,” a statement issued on Friday said.

A government spokesman added that officers should ban a film from exhibition if it “as a whole and its effect on the viewers may endanger national security”.

He said a balance must be struck between freedom of expression and the protection of society’s interests.

“Although fundamental rights (including the right to freedom of expression in the exhibition of films) should be respected, the exercise of such rights are subject to restrictions provided by law that are necessary for pursuing legitimate aims, such as… the protection of national security or public order.”

Pro-government figures have been railing against public screenings of films deemed to glorify protesters involved in the 2019 unrest, saying they may fall afoul of the national security law.