Amazon’s ‘Expats’ Was Filmed in Hong Kong, But People Can’t Watch It There

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At the height of Hong Kong’s Covid restrictions, the government gave Nicole Kidman and several others a rare exemption from the weeks of hotel quarantine required for travelers so that they could film a series about the malaise of privileged expatriates.

That series from Amazon Prime, “Expats,” which stars Ms. Kidman, aired its first two episodes last week in what it described as a worldwide release. For Hong Kong viewers, they appeared as “currently unavailable.”

The reasons are unknown. Amazon Studios declined to comment. A spokesman for the Hong Kong government said it had facilitated the filming of some street scenes in “Expats” but would not comment on the “operational arrangement of individual businesses.”

The show is being released after several years of transformation in the city, a Chinese territory. Hong Kong was largely closed off to the world during three years of pandemic restrictions, and speech and dissent have become severely restricted after a mass protest movement was squashed in 2019.

Based on Janice Y.K. Lee’s novel “The Expatriates,” the show follows three American women living in the freer Hong Kong of 2014. Street protests demanding more democratic elections took over major roads in the city for months that year. Scenes from the show depict demonstrations from that movement, known as the Umbrella Revolution.

In 2019, Hong Kong was swept again by months of mass protests, which sometimes turned violent, and Beijing imposed a national security law on the city the following year. In 2021, the authorities enacted a law allowing censors to ban the screening of films deemed to be “contrary to national security interests.”

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Amazon’s ‘Expats’ Was Filmed in Hong Kong, But People Can’t Watch It There

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