When Hong Kong was returned to China from Great Britain, that return came with stipulations. There was supposed to be a “two parties, one country” system where Hong Kong would be able to operate the way they saw fit while becoming a part of China. This lasted roughly five minutes.
China realized that they couldn’t control the narrative and censor the mainland while the people of Hong Kong were free to do as they pleased. Simply stepping into Hong Kong would remove all the barriers, restrictions, rules, surveillance, and censorship that the mainland put in place to keep the population under the thumb of the government.
China started slow with their attempts to censor and control Hong Kong, but were unsatisfied with the results. Hong Kong was quick to point out that China’s censorship and control was never part of the deal. The moment China was met with widespread resistance was the exact same moment that China doubled down.
The mainland continues to suppress the population of Hong Kong, cull protests, and impose new restrictions and levels of censorship on the people of Hong Kong, despite the fact that the transition stipulated that China would not have any power over Hong Kong until the year 2047. Waiting that long could damage China’s power over its people, and they’re scrambling to gain control.
What Censorship Means for Art in Hong Kong
China has implemented a “national security law” designed to censor Hong Kong. This resolution could have been challenged by lawmakers in Hong Kong, but prior to implementing the law, the Chinese government forced them out of office. This allowed them to increase the severity of the law proposed, going so far as to include the possibility to life sentences in prison for protest activity.
Within the law, there are stipulations for the censorship of films and art. Anything “obscene” “sexual” “vulgar” “violent” or “potentially anti-government” is now subject to censorship. This technically means that historical films and documentaries cannot be shown in Hong Kong. Since the Chinese government has the final say over what does and does not make it past the censors, it could ultimately mean that children’s cartoons are one of few permissible film genres.
This ban is coming at a time when filmmakers and documentarians have completed pieces that fully detail or partially cover the political unrest in Hong Kong. This new form of censorship makes it illegal for the people of Hong Kong to view and discuss culturally relevant documentaries that outline their struggle against the oppressive mainland.
If You Live in Hong Kong, Watch These Documentaries Anyway
It’s a tragedy that the people of Hong Kong (or people living under any oppressive government) would need to use a tool to circumvent censorship and surveillance just to have access to news, art, and social media. People all over the world deserve access to art and journalism of every kind, including documentaries about Hong Kong’s fight for freedom. When you use a stealth protocol VPN like TorGuard, you’re able to access uncensored content without restrictions.