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Screening CommunitiesNegotiating Narratives of Empire, Nation, and the Cold War in Hong Kong Cinema$
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Jing Jing Chang

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9789888455768

Published to Hong Kong Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5790/hongkong/9789888455768.001.0001

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Film Censorship and the Regulatory Context of Postwar Hong Kong

Film Censorship and the Regulatory Context of Postwar Hong Kong

(p.23) 1 Film Censorship and the Regulatory Context of Postwar Hong Kong
Screening Communities

Jing Jing Chang

Hong Kong University Press

Chapter 1 maps out the contours of the Cold War regulatory context in Hong Kong and examines how Hong Kong’s censorship machinery “screened” the colonial government’s responses to the Cold War within local, colonial, and global contexts. The colonial government’s film censorship machinery comprises not only of printed regulations banning objectionable material, but also a set of activities, practices and discourses that reflected the agendas and assumptions of Hong Kong’s colonial government about audience demographics and characteristics. This chapter argues that censorship was part the discursive strategies mobilized by the colonial state and negotiated by filmmakers, film distributors, audience members, and Cold War watchers, all of whom contributed to the postwar Hong Kong community screening process. To demonstrate that censorship was never unidirectional in terms of imposition, surveillance, or discipline, but was constantly being challenged and negotiated by all stakeholders, this chapter ends with an extended discussion of the September 1965 press battle over British Hong Kong’s censorship legislation. Indeed, British Hong Kong had to exercise a policy of accommodation and neutrality, while creating the illusion of an apolitical community in order for its censorship legislations to function during a period of global decolonization.

Keywords:   Film censorship, Audiences, United States Information Service, Southern Film Corporation, Hong Kong Press, Propaganda, Colonial governance, Studio One, Cold War Watchers

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