Filmed in March, a satirical short film, called Hong Kong Will Be Destroyed After 33 Years, has been banned by Beijing’s propaganda authorities. The science fiction work depicts Hong Kongers being indifferent to an approaching meteorite and expressing more concern over the stock market and the latest T.V. episodes. Eventually, the city clears out and Hong Kong heads toward its demise.
The film satirizes the “mindless acceptance of the status quo in Hong Kong.” Further, its underlying political message hints at the foreboding year 2047, 33 years from now, when Hong Kong will stop having separate laws from China as entailed by the 1997 handover.
The State Council Information Office released an order to immediately remove any “video, text, etc. that advocates the short sci-fi film about Hong Kongers [from] ‘saving themselves.’”
As Cheung told The Diplomat, “The reason the video is being censored by authorities is, we believe, that they think what they’re doing is keeping the society peaceful. But, what we think they are doing is keeping people away from knowing the truth, that China is trying to suffocate Hong Kong to death by importing Mainland Chinese into Hong Kong until there’s enough people for them to control the elections. After that, there will be no open elections in Hong Kong.”
In addition, local directors fear that the city’s culture is being stifled by increasing mainland influence. This is a common theme reflected in recent films.
Hong Kong film writer and director Pang Ho-cheung recently urged filmmakers not to give up local narratives.
Some even worry that Hong Kong culture and the Cantonese language will disappear. Sabrina Baracetti, president of a Film Festival that specializes in showing Asian works in Italy, thinks that since the mainland Chinese film market is now the second-largest after the U.S., there will be fear that Hong Kong cinema will yield even more freedoms in an attempt to fill gaps in cultural differences.
So will “Hong Kongers” cease to exist? That remains to be seen. But culture is certainly starting to look more like that of the mainland, and isn’t the demise of culture a death of its own?