Hong Kong residents frustrated by inability to watch Expats on Amazon Prime Video due to protests-related scenes. Analysts suspect Beijing interference, but Hong Kong government has no comment.
Hong Kong residents have been unable to watch the online TV series Expats, featuring Nicole Kidman, which was globally launched on Amazon Prime Video. The show focuses on Hong Kong and is directed by Lulu Wang based on a novel by Janice Y. K. Lee. It revolves around three women in Hong Kong in 2014 and includes scenes of the 2014 Hong Kong protests, also known as the Umbrella Movement, when protesters demanded the right to choose the city’s chief executive.
It is unclear if the decision to block the program in Hong Kong was a business decision or due to local authorities. Some worry it may be a sign of Beijing’s broader crackdown on the arts. A spokesperson for the Hong Kong government said the current Film Censorship Ordinance only regulates films and does not apply to streaming or Internet platforms. Amazon Prime Video’s Hong Kong office did not respond to VOA’s request for comment.
Chinese independent film director Guo Zhenming believes self-censorship by Amazon may have kept the show from airing in Hong Kong. A film censorship expert at Hong Kong Baptist University believes Amazon may have made a business decision to abandon the Hong Kong market for this show based on the territory’s political situation and social atmosphere. He said many Hong Kong people are going to movie and TV show websites in China to look for the show, and there will always be a market for banned shows.