Hong Kong's National Security Law was passed on June 30, 2020, followed by a film-censorship amendment on October 27, 2021. While the public experienced the ensuing censorship as an absence and an occlusion of works, the mechanisms of censorship are opaque and bureaucratic, made effective through myriad methods. This article focuses on a first-person telling that weaves personal conversations, rumors, and everyday experiences in the new normal to analyze the evolving codes and reveal the trip wires that threaten the creation and presentation of films, artworks, and print materials in Hong Kong. Artists and filmmakers face a developing shadow bureaucracy, which they are only slowly coming to understand. Tracing the visible and invisible red lines through a group of mostly anonymized artists and practitioners—except for the author or those cited in the news—this essay confronts the haunting power of newly passed national-security laws to atomize fear, threaten some more than others, and generally to produce paranoia.

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