Artists and cultural leaders are alarmed at the prospect of the restrictive new law.

News that Beijing is preparing to pass a law that would allow Chinese agencies to criminalize acts deemed threatening to China’s national security has sent shockwaves through the city and reignited pro-democracy protests that had quieted during its lockdown.

Though the details have not been fully revealed, there is widespread concern that the law – which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described as a “death knell” for Hong Kong – could severely curtail free speech and artistic expression. More than 1,500 organizations and members of the creative industry have now signed a petition expressing shock and fear about its potential impact on Hong Kong’s seven million citizens. 

The petition, first reported by Art Asia Pacific, states that the law could create “a climate of fear and self-censorship that harms artistic expression, free speech, cultural exchange, and even personal security. The consequent damage to the image of Hong Kong as a cultural metropolis and to the economy will be incalculable.”

They also decry the fact that the law will be deliberated over the course of just five days and voted on in Beijing without, they say, any consultation whatsoever of the Hong Kong citizens who will be affected. Signatories of the petition include artist Samson Young, curator Inti Guerrero, and arts editor Nicolette Wong.
Courtesy of Artnet News
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