Hong Kong – LegCo to consider Film Censorship (Amendment) Bill 2021

LegCo to consider Film Censorship (Amendment) Bill 2021


The following is issued on behalf of the Legislative Council Secretariat:

     The Legislative Council (LegCo) will hold a meeting on Wednesday (October 27) at 11am in the Chamber of the LegCo Complex. During the meeting, the Second Reading debate on the Film Censorship (Amendment) Bill 2021 will resume. If the Bill is supported by Members and receives its Second Reading, it will stand committed to the committee of the whole Council. After the committee of the whole Council has completed consideration of the Bill and its report is adopted by the Council, the Bill will be set down for the Third Reading.

     On Member’s motion, Members will debate the Valedictory Motion. The motion, to be moved by Ms Starry Lee, states: “That this Council concludes its work and wishes for the smooth formation of the Seventh Legislative Council to continue to serve the people of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.”

     Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Mr Paul Tse, will present the “Committee on Rules of Procedure of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Progress Report for the period October 2020 to October 2021” and address the Council. 

     Members will also ask the Government 22 questions on various policy areas, six of which require oral replies.

     The agenda of the above meeting can be obtained via the LegCo Website (www.legco.gov.hk). Members of the public can watch or listen to the meeting via the “Webcast” system on the LegCo Website. To observe the proceedings of the meeting at the LegCo Complex, members of the public may call 3919 3399 during office hours to reserve seats.

Hong Kong – SCED speaks on film censorship regulatory framework (with video)

SCED speaks on film censorship regulatory framework (with video)


     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Edward Yau, on the film censorship regulatory framework at a media session with the Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development (Communications and Creative Industries), Mr Clement Leung, today (August 24):
Reporter: I would like to know how do you determine the red line? What is contrary to the interests of the national security? Is there any guideline for the industry? The amendments empower the Chief Secretary for Administration to direct the Film Censorship Authority to revoke certificates previously issued for films if the exhibition would be against national security interests. So does that mean this amendment can apply retrospectively, like a film got a green light to be played five years ago might not be played in Hong Kong again? Does that mean Hong Kong can no longer watch films like “Ten Years” or like “表姐, 妳好嘢!” (“Her Fatal Ways”)? The third question, is the amendment stripping away the appeal process available to filmmakers? Is it fair when filmmakers would only have the choice to take matters to the court? Thank you.
Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development: For the first question, I think the legislative amendment does not change the film censorship system. Basically, for films, for public viewing, for exhibition, it will still be subject to the same system where they can send in a copy for consideration, categorisation, grading or other conditions to be imposed. Of course, with the enactment of the National Security Law (NSL) and also the update of the administrative guidelines issued in June, we have, in fact, given much clearer guidelines regarding the application of national security consideration in the film censorship processes. So, the main reference, of course, is the NSL and we have to go into more detail in covering, for instance, acts or activities which might endorse, support, promote, glorify, encourage and incite activities that might endanger national security.
     As to your second question, the empowerment given to the Chief Secretary (for Administration) is to revoke certain certificates which have been approved before. We need this provision to cater for circumstances that there might be chances that a film, which was graded or approved before, but given the new law enacted and the new guidelines issued, needs to be reconsidered. We need such legal power to cater for such circumstances.
     Your last question (is about) the appeal. The appeal mechanism still exists because it is still in the law. We have not and are not going to make any changes to that part of the appeal. That means administrative decisions would still be subject to the review board, except in the circumstances where such cases involve national security – then we will disapply the power given to the board for obvious reasons which we have explained. But still, I think all administrative decisions taken in Hong Kong’s system would be subject to judicial review as usual. Thank you.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)