The Film Division examines films intended for public exhibition under the three-tier film classification system.
Under the Film Censorship Ordinance (Cap. 392), films intended for public exhibition must be approved by the Film Censorship Authority (FCA).
Films are either classified into the three-tier classification system or exempted from classification (examples of films eligible for exemption include educational, cultural, religious and promotional films). The three-tier film classification system according to the Ordinance is as follows:
Categories IIA and IIB are advisory in nature, while the age restriction for Category III films is legally enforced.
In making a decision on the classification of a film, the censor will consider whether the film portrays, depicts or treats cruelty, torture, violence, crime, horror, disability, sexuality, or indecent or offensive language or behaviour, and whether the film denigrates or insults any particular class of public by reference to the colour, race, religious beliefs or ethnic or national origins or the sex of the members of that class. The Film Censorship Guidelines for Censors indicates the manner in which censors exercise their functions under the Ordinance.
We implement the film classification system in an objective manner. A person who is aggrieved by a decision of the FCA or censor may request the Board of Review (Film Censorship) to review the decision.
Under section 10 of the Film Censorship Ordinance (Cap. 392) (FCO), a censor has to take into consideration the following matters when making a decision:
The censor shall also take into account the following matters when making a decision:
The Film Censorship Guidelines for Censors (Guidelines) are published under section 30 of the FCO to provide guidance to censors in exercising their functions under the FCO. The Guidelines specify that censors should aim to reflect contemporary public attitudes towards censorship standards. Censors will also make reference to the results of public opinion surveys on film censorship standards carried out from time to time and the advice given by the panel of advisers on film censorship on a film.
The depiction of nudity is an established art form, but full-length frontal nudity in a film that can be watched by children is generally not tolerated by local audiences. Such depiction is not normally permitted in a Category I film. Depictions of nudity in Category IIA films should be carried out with tact and discretion, and nudity depicted in a sexually suggestive manner should not be permitted. In considering whether to pass films depicting nudity for Category IIB or III, the Film Censorship Authority and censor will consider the degree of the possible erotic effect of that nudity.
To apply for a certificate for exhibition of a film, the applicant should submit the following materials to the Office for Film, Newspaper and Article Administration:
two working days before the scheduled examination date. After reviewing the film, if the Film Censorship Authority considers it suitable for public exhibition, a Certificate of Approval (in the case that the film requires a classification) or a Certificate of Exemption (in the case that the film is exempted from classification) will be issued for its exhibition. For more information, you may refer to the information leaflet on how to apply for approval for film, packaging or advertising material.
Under section 9 of the Film Censorship Ordinance (Cap. 392), the Film Censorship Authority may exempt a film from classification if it is of a class or description of film prescribed as suitable to be exempted. According to Schedule 2 of the Film Censorship Regulations (Cap. 392A), the classes or descriptions of films which are suitable to be exempted from classification are:
A Certificate of Exemption will be issued for the public exhibition of films exempted from classification.
Section 12 of the Film Censorship Regulations (Cap. 392A) stipulates that the Film Censorship Authority (FCA) may direct that a censorship fee (in part or in whole) be remitted if he is satisfied that any film submitted for examination under the Film Censorship Ordinance (Cap. 392) (FCO), among others –
Eligible applicant may apply in writing to the Film Censorship Authority (FCA) for censorship fee remission (a template is available here). The applicant should provide the following information to the FCA:
Any member of the public aged 18 or above and proficient in Chinese and English may apply to be a member of the Panel of Advisers. Application forms may be obtained from the Office for Film, Newspaper and Article Administration or downloaded here).
For more information, please refer to the information leaflet on how to become a Film Censorship Adviser.