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Police raids on movie screenings. Censors closing in. Hong Kong’s filmmakers fight to stay free

HONG KONG —


The director kept his eyes on the audience, ignoring the cops in the back of the room.

It was a private screening of a romance film by Kiwi Chow. Several dozen friends had gathered in the office of a local district councilor to watch the movie and hear Chow speak. He was a politically sensitive figure who’d made films about Hong Kong’s protests and China’s crackdown on the city’s liberties.


His new work was an apolitical tale about a schizophrenic man who falls in love with a psychological counselor. Hardly a storyline that would provoke dissent or violate a national security law. But the audience took note when two dozen police officers arrived. Chow, undeterred, went on with his talk.


By midnight, police had shut down the screening, fining each attendee HK$5,000 for violating social distancing rules. If the screening had featured Chow’s protest documentary, they could have been fined HK$1 million and imprisoned for up to three years, according to a law proposed by the Hong Kong government in August.


A film still from “Revolution of Our Times” by Hong Kong filmmaker Kiwi Chow

(Kiwi Chow)

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