A private screening of a documentary about the 2019 Hong Kong protests might have violated the city’s national security law, a pro-Beijing lawmaker has said. He called for police action after state media claimed the event was an underground attempt to “incite resistance.”

Inside the Red Brick Wall. Photo: Ying E Chi Cinema, via Facebook.

Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) lawmaker Holden Chow said on Wednesday that the private Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) screening of the documentary Inside the Red Brick Wall may have amounted to inciting “terrorism” – a violation of the Beijing-imposed security law.

“According to the news reported today, we have seen that the CTU has organised an event to show some movies which advocate violence, inciting serious violence, riots,” Chow said. “My comment is that CTU’s screening… promotes actions that incite violence or even terrorism.”

“I urge the police to take swift action and legal enforcement to make sure that all the legal enforcement are properly followed,” he said.

Directed by an anonymous group calling itself “Hong Kong Documentary Filmmakers,” the 88-minute film portrayed fierce clashes between pro-democracy protesters and police at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) in November 2019.

File Photo: Kevin Cheng/United Social Press.

The film, distributed by Ying E Chi, will be shown at the Taiwan International Documentary Festival, opening next week.

‘Underground resistance’

State media outlet Ta Kung Pao reported on Wednesday that the “secret” screening was an “underground” attempt to “incite resistance” as it was open only to HKCTU’s members, and attendees would only be notified of the screening location once tickets were purchased.

The event, however, was publicised on the organiser’s Facebook page.

File Photo: Jimmy Lam/United Social Press.

Ta Kung Pao reporters followed members of the audience to the event venue in Jordan, but they “covered their face and ran away” as the journalists intercepted them when leaving, the newspaper reported.

Also on Wednesday, the Hong Kong Journalists Association said it had cancelled a screening of the same film originally set for Saturday, citing concerns over harassment after state media mentioned it: “Ta Kung Pao portrayed an ordinary screening as an ‘underground activity’ while a pro-establishment lawmaker uttered nonsense that the screening would violate the national security law,” the association said in a statement on Facebook. “The goal is clearly to spread white terror so to make it hard for the industry to do its normal activities.”

A cinema screening of the same documentary was cancelled at short notice in March, days after another state media outlet Wen Wei Po claimed the film may have violated the national security law.

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Selina Cheng

Selina Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist who previously worked with HK01, Quartz and AFP Beijing. She also covered the Umbrella Movement for AP and reported for a newspaper in France. Selina has studied investigative reporting at the Columbia Journalism School.