China shuts down Beijing film festival


Li Xianting, founder of the film fund and a film critic, has posted memos in social media over the last week saying that state security personnel have been pressuring him to cancel the festival and that he has come under police surveillance.

Festival artistic director Wang Hongwei and executive director Fan Rong, both of Li Xianting Film Fund that has organised the 11th Beijing Independent Film Festival, said that the event was forced to close.

He said local authorities initially agreed to have the festival moved to a town farther out in neighbouring Hebei province, but that the management of the hotel where reservations were made informed the fund on Friday that police did not allow the hotel to host the festival.

Chinese authorities have shut down an independent film festival on its opening day on Saturday, a rare venue for the showing of films that may be critical of the government in a country with tight controls, organisers say.

Started as a film forum in 2006, the festival over the years has grown to be one of the most important events for China's independent films but also has attracted the attention of authorities eager to regulate free speech.

Li said both Fan and Wang were taken away by Songzhuang police on Friday afternoon and forced to sign a letter of promise to cancel the festival before they were freed five hours later.

Read more here: Business Spectator


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