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Hong Kong censors cancel Batman film screening

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A Hong Kong screening of the Batman film "The Dark Knight" has been canceled after the government intervened, renewing concerns about free speech and censorship in the city.

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Organizers said the planned open-air showing was called off based on direction from the city's Office for Film, Newspaper and Article Administration, Bloomberg reported on Friday. The OFNAA, responsible for vetting movies, said "the level of violence was not appropriate" for an outdoor screening.

"The Dark Knight," a 2008 blockbuster, was partially filmed in Hong Kong and features a millionaire Chinese mob boss as a character.

The screening cancellation comes at a time of growing concerns about the diminishing space for free speech in Hong Kong, where civil liberties have dramatically eroded since China's crackdown on dissent following mass anti-government protests in 2019.

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Under a new censorship law, the government bans films it deems to be against China’s national security interests, with punishments of up to three years in prison.

“Please trust our system,” Kevin Yeung, Hong Kong's culture secretary, told reporters Friday. "We have a very solid system.”

The first "Iron Man" movie will be shown instead.

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