August 25, 2014

The Chinese government shutdown the 11th Beijing Independent Film Festival

Wang Hongwei, artistic director of the festival shows the papaers that the police make him sign - Photo: Greg Baker/AFP/Getty Images ©

This Saturday the local authorities break in the offices of the Li Xianting Film Fund where the festival is organized.

The Beijing Independent Film Festival was born eleven years ago with the objective to show films from independent directors in the city of Beijing. But it wasn’t an easy task, since the start the festival was under the watch of the authorities because it was thought to be a place where people could see movies that criticized the Chinese government. Every year the organizers had to change their strategy to keep the festival going. In some occasions the movies were screen at private houses, private clubs or even hotels. All this to stay away from local cinemas to avoid been arrested.

Despite this on Saturday; day that the festival was supposed to start, the local police from Songzhuang show up along with private guards and unidentified persons at the Li Xianting Film Fund. Wang Hongwei artistic director of the festival explained to the press that since July the Chinese authorities have show up to get information about the festival and to see if they could close the event.

During the raid they arrested three organizers, Li Xianting, Wang Hongwei and Fan Ron, the police also took computers and documentation from the offices. Some international media such as Associated Press, The Guardian and Enquirer have reported that during the raid unidentified persons stopped anyone who try to get close to the site. Some of those persons even took phones from the civilians to delete evidence of the raid.

After been held into custody for five hours the organizers gave a short press conference where they shown the papers that they claim the police made them sign so they could be release. In those documents they accept to shutdown the festival.

Sebastián Nadilo

No comments:

Post a Comment