Jun 29 2021

Taiwan LGBTQ Documentary Cut from Hong Kong Festival

by Judy Chiu

Screenshot of the documentary, Taiwan Equals Love (2020), directed by Sophia Yen. Image via Youtube.

On June 25, the Hong Kong independent theater Broadway Cinematheque announced the cancellation of screenings of the documentary Taiwan Equals Love (2020), after the Film Censorship Authority (FCA) in Hong Kong did not authorize its full showing. Organizers of the 12-day-long film program “EU-Asia Rainbow Docs,” in celebration of Pride Month, had previously agreed not to screen any censored films during the festival.

In a statement, the European Union Office in Hong Kong and Macau and the Goethe-Institut Hong Kong, which organized the program of screenings and talks in conjunction with Broadway Cinematheque, did not reveal which parts of the full-length documentary the FCA had requested be removed. However, on June 11, the Hong Kong government had amended the Film Censorship Ordinance in accordance with the National Security Law. The new guidelines aim to eliminate depiction of “any act or activity which may amount to an offence endangering national security” in films for public screening.

Directed by by Sophia Yen, Taiwan Equals Love explores the complexities and hardships of the LGBTQ community leading up to the legalization of same-sex marriage in Taiwan in 2019. According to screenshots circulated by netizens online, the film depicts scenes that implicitly and explicitly state the political autonomy of Taiwan, such as scenes of the Taiwanese flag, posters against the One China policy, and captions stating “Taiwan becomes the first Asian country to protect marriage equality.” The People’s Republic of China views Taiwan as a breakaway province and prohibits recognition of its de facto independent status.

Launched at the end of Pride Month, “EU-Asia Rainbow Docs” features 16 films and online discussions with directors and organizers that highlight the different struggles of the LGBTQ communities in Europe and Asia.

Judy Chiu is an editorial intern at ArtAsiaPacific.

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