Hong Kong’s Legislative Council, commonly known as LegCo, on Wednesday passed a bill that empowers local officials to ban movies “deemed contrary to the interests of national security.”
Some of the city’s Beijing-controlled authoritarian legislators wanted to extend these censorship powers to cover online videos as well, fearing the Internet could become a “major loophole” that allows films to accumulate even more viewers by touting themselves as “banned.”
“We hope the bill will commence as soon as possible, to enhance the film censorship system and to plug the loopholes,” Commerce Minister Edward Yau told legislators.
Yau added a note of caution that expanding the bill to cover online videos would “go beyond the original intent of the ordinance, not to mention the technological and enforcement considerations.” He claimed the bill would have no great chilling effect on Hong Kong’s film industry because most of the films it produces have nothing to do with national security.
These assurances are difficult to take seriously after watching the draconian “national security” law imposed on Hong Kong by the Chinese Communist Party rapidly expanding to cover every bit of speech and political action the communists dislike.
International human rights organizations are shutting down their Hong Kong offices because they fear anything they do or say could be construed as a “threat to national security.” The regime has driven newspapers out of business and canceled television programs. Hong Kong officials have classified virtually all serious political dissent as dangerous to national security, especially if it involves anything that can be creatively construed as “collusion with foreign powers.”
Hong Kong filmmakers would be reckless to risk censorship by making provocative movies, and their financial backers will be reluctant to risk money on productions that could be blacklisted. The new law does not merely suppress the distribution of movies that allegedly threaten national security – it imposes penalties of up to three years in jail plus fines of about $130,000 in U.S. currency.
The Straits Times suspected films such as Netflix’s Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower, a documentary about student democracy activist Joshua Wong, would be targeted for censorship under the new law. Even before the new amped-up censorship bill was passed, movies about the 2019 pro-democracy movement were suppressed by invoking the national security law.
“Inspectors can search, without a warrant, premises showing a film, including company offices or a private members’ club, and the Film Censorship Authority can demand more information about a screening under the new rules,” the Straits Times noted.
“Local film censors may ask for up to 28 days to review films that may involve national security considerations. Filmmakers may not challenge the censorship body’s decision, as the new legislation will bar the Board of Review from reconsidering decisions made on national security grounds,” the Hong Kong Free Press added.
“It is a treacherous climate for businesses having to make content decisions,” Dr. Darrell West of the Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution said of the anticipated chilling effect from the censorship law.
“It is hard to imagine how film directors, executive producers and actors could stay politically neutral because China’s definition of politics focuses narrowly on any opinion and action thought to be a security threat,” warned Dr. Joseph Lee of the Global Asia Institute in New York.
HD Editor’s Note: Why Is This News Biblically Relevant?
This development comes as a new telecommunications law took effect in September requiring citizens to register SIM cards using their legal names.
Voice Of America reported:
The Hong Kong government said the legislation aims to “facilitate the prevention and detection of crimes related to the use of pre-paid SIM … cards, thereby safeguarding the integrity of telecommunications services and the security of communications network.”
Offenders are subject to up to three years of imprisonment or a maximum fine of roughly $130,000.
The new law is widely seen as part of a crackdown on anti-government protesters in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, who went out of their way to hide their identities by wearing face masks and using prepaid SIM cards in communications out of fear of potential repercussions.
Johnny Patterson, the policy director of Hong Kong Watch, a U.K.-based organization that monitors threats to freedom in Hong Kong, told VOA in an email that the regulation seeks to “systematically iron out every last vestige of opposition.”
“The new regulations must be put into the context of the wider crackdown on civil society and dissent in Hong Kong,” Patterson said. “It will add to the atmosphere of fear and self-censorship which already pervades in Hong Kong.”
Communist China has used various tactics to silence their political dissents and encourage obedience to their heavy handed government.
It is no surprise that satan hates those who speak the truth. This has been displayed throughout history, and it is specifically amplified today, just as the Bible outlined it would in the time prior to Jesus Return.
2 Timothy 3:1, 8-9 states that “perilous times” will come in which “men of corrupt minds” will “resist the truth.”
Furthermore in Luke 21:25, Jesus said that “upon the earth” there would be “Distress of Nations with Perplexity.” These things will be greatly increased and primarily take place during the seven-year Tribulation (from which the church is absent). However, with the current global state of turmoil amongst the nations, we can’t help but recognize the distress of nations Jesus describes in Luke 21 and Matthew 24, rising in our world today.