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postgraduate thesis: From cold war politics to moral regulation : film censorship in colonial Hong Kong

TitleFrom cold war politics to moral regulation : film censorship in colonial Hong Kong
Authors
Advisors
Advisor(s):Carroll, JM
Issue Date2013
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Lee, S. [李淑敏]. (2013). From cold war politics to moral regulation : film censorship in colonial Hong Kong. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5194736
AbstractThrough the case of film censorship in Hong Kong from the late 1940s to the 1970s, this thesis explores the local impact of the international Cold War. It argues that Cold War politics shaped the nature of local policy. The first chapter investigates the reasons for the rise of film censorship in the late 1940s and the 1950s. It argues that three levels of Cold War tensions led the Hong Kong government to focus on political censorship. Tensions within the British Empire, between the Hong Kong government and foreign governments, and those between local communists and the Hong Kong government led censors to target communist films, foreign governments’ official films, and films echoing local political events. Among these films, those from China remained the primary target. During the period of political censorship, the Hong Kong government ignored the needs of local viewers and focused on reacting to external forces. The second chapter examines how in the 1960s local communists launched two campaigns against the suppression of Chinese films. It argues that the campaigns in 1965 and 1967 showed the influence of the Cold War, as these communists threatened the Hong Kong government that continued suppression of Chinese films would worsen Sino--‐‑British relations. It explains why the 1965 campaign succeeded in forcing the government to adjust its policy towards Chinese films but the one in 1967 did not. Since the late 1960s, Cold War tensions had been easing, particularly between China and Britain. The importance of political censorship and the external aspects of film censorship in Hong Kong started to diminish. Setting the stage for the localisation of film censorship in the 1970s, Chapter Three explores another duty of film censors in the 1960s, to examine sex and violence. By studying the debates about film classification and the censorship of the local film Death Valley (Duanhungu 斷魂⾕谷), this chapter argues that the government did not understand the goals of moral censorship even after examining films for more than twenty years. And it still did not sincerely engage with the Chinese population. The final chapter, on the 1970s, shows how the easing Cold War tensions directed the Hong Kong government to focus on moral censorship of films that was in accordance with the other social policies such as fighting prostitution and violent crime. Localisation of film censorship was followed by comprehensive reforms. The 1970s witnessed the government’s first serious attempt to engage the Chinese public in censoring films.
DegreeMaster of Philosophy
SubjectMotion pictures - Censorship - China - Hong Kong
Dept/ProgramHistory
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/197504

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorCarroll, JM-
dc.contributor.authorLee, Shuk-man-
dc.contributor.author李淑敏-
dc.date.accessioned2014-05-27T23:16:39Z-
dc.date.available2014-05-27T23:16:39Z-
dc.date.issued2013-
dc.identifier.citationLee, S. [李淑敏]. (2013). From cold war politics to moral regulation : film censorship in colonial Hong Kong. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5194736-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/197504-
dc.description.abstractThrough the case of film censorship in Hong Kong from the late 1940s to the 1970s, this thesis explores the local impact of the international Cold War. It argues that Cold War politics shaped the nature of local policy. The first chapter investigates the reasons for the rise of film censorship in the late 1940s and the 1950s. It argues that three levels of Cold War tensions led the Hong Kong government to focus on political censorship. Tensions within the British Empire, between the Hong Kong government and foreign governments, and those between local communists and the Hong Kong government led censors to target communist films, foreign governments’ official films, and films echoing local political events. Among these films, those from China remained the primary target. During the period of political censorship, the Hong Kong government ignored the needs of local viewers and focused on reacting to external forces. The second chapter examines how in the 1960s local communists launched two campaigns against the suppression of Chinese films. It argues that the campaigns in 1965 and 1967 showed the influence of the Cold War, as these communists threatened the Hong Kong government that continued suppression of Chinese films would worsen Sino--‐‑British relations. It explains why the 1965 campaign succeeded in forcing the government to adjust its policy towards Chinese films but the one in 1967 did not. Since the late 1960s, Cold War tensions had been easing, particularly between China and Britain. The importance of political censorship and the external aspects of film censorship in Hong Kong started to diminish. Setting the stage for the localisation of film censorship in the 1970s, Chapter Three explores another duty of film censors in the 1960s, to examine sex and violence. By studying the debates about film classification and the censorship of the local film Death Valley (Duanhungu 斷魂⾕谷), this chapter argues that the government did not understand the goals of moral censorship even after examining films for more than twenty years. And it still did not sincerely engage with the Chinese population. The final chapter, on the 1970s, shows how the easing Cold War tensions directed the Hong Kong government to focus on moral censorship of films that was in accordance with the other social policies such as fighting prostitution and violent crime. Localisation of film censorship was followed by comprehensive reforms. The 1970s witnessed the government’s first serious attempt to engage the Chinese public in censoring films.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.subject.lcshMotion pictures - Censorship - China - Hong Kong-
dc.titleFrom cold war politics to moral regulation : film censorship in colonial Hong Kong-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5194736-
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelMaster-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineHistory-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5194736-

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