New film censorship legislation will be introduced to “safeguard national security” in Hong Kong.
The legislation is another sign of shrinking freedoms in the former British colony.
The government said that the new “film censorship” amendment bill will help ensure a “more effective fulfilment of the duty to safeguard national security”.
“The main reference is the national security law … for instances, acts or activities which might endorse, support, glorify, encourage and incite such activities that might endanger national security,” Edward Yau, Hong Kong’s commerce secretary, told reporters.
Hong Kong’s Chief Secretary will also be empowered to revoke a film’s licence if found to be “contrary to national security interests”.
Those who violate the law could be sentenced to three years imprisonment and fined HK$1 million ($128,400).
The bill will be put to the city’s Legislative Council next Wednesday.
The move comes after recent cancellations of several screenings of protest-related films and documentaries at cinemas and art centres.
A documentary called “Taiwan Equals Love” on Taiwan’s gay marriage debate was pulled in June after the Film Censorship Authority refused to approve its full screening. China considers self-ruled Taiwan a breakaway province.
In June, Hong Kong introduced new film censorship guidelines to ban films perceived as promoting or glorifying acts that may endanger national security.
In June last year, China introduced a sweeping national security law to crack down on what it deems subversion, secessionism, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces, following months of sometimes violent pro-democracy protests in 2019.