Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Tuesday insisted that Hong Kong will be a "cultural hub", despite the introduction of new rules requiring films to be censored for national security breaches.
Speaking ahead of a weekly meeting of her de facto cabinet, Lam acknowledged the new rules had caused "some anxiety" within the creative industry, but stressed that guidance was needed to prevent inadvertent violations of the national security law.
"Previously there wasn’t a very clear condition or requirement about national security. But we cannot take for granted that there is a piece of legislation called the Hong Kong national security law and it was not being fully implemented," Lam said.
She said that apart from the four offences that undermine national security, there are also provisions in the law requiring “almost every department, every individual, every organisation” not to undermine national security or harm the interests of the nation.
Lam said Hong Kong upholds freedom of expression, but such freedoms are not absolute. Nevertheless, she said Hong Kong can still be a centre for creativity and culture – with Beijing’s support.
"Hong Kong upholds freedom of expression, and that’s why we are very well-positioned to be a cultural hub and a creative city to the extent that in the nation’s 14th five-year plan, they have given Hong Kong the needed support to develop into a cultural hub where the East meets the West," she said.
Lam said government officials will be meeting with stakeholders in the industry to "assure them of what we are talking about in terms of not undermining national security."