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China Moves to Chill Interest in Independent Films

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After attracting the attention of authorities for years, the Beijing Independent Film Festival was cancelled at the demand of police earlier this month. Amid a government crackdown on dissent that is rapidly gaining momentumChina’s leaders seem to have deemed independent films a threat. AP reports:

Filmmakers whose edgy themes contrast with the rosier images of the country’s mainstream industry are accustomed to censorship of content deemed to show China in a negative light.

But independent filmmakers say authorities now appear to be trying to chill the sharing and discussion of their films, amid a broader clampdown under Chinese leader Xi Jinping on public discourse that could potentially undermine the country’s one-party rule, including the arrests of bloggers who post sensitive material and activists who have accused officials of corruption.

[…]“They just want us to make films about food, clothes, entertainment. They don’t want people to think, they don’t want people to have the freedom to express themselves, they don’t want people to have independent and free ideas,” said Yang Lina, an independent documentary maker whose first fictional  — about urban Chinese women — debuted at Rotterdam’s international  festival this year.

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