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China Halts Independent Film Festival Again

The Beijing Independent Film Festival was shut down on Saturday by authorities.

Festival organizers, headed by Wang Shu, said that their selection of films did not include movies that were critical of government. But nevertheless they were put under surveillance and pressured not to go ahead in the days before the launch.

The festival, which is in its 11th edition, has been closed down and disrupted in previous years.

“In the past few years, when they forced us to cancel the festival, we just moved it to other places, or delayed the screenings. But this year, we cannot carry on with the festival. It is completely forbidden,” the festival’s artistic director Wang Hongwei told the Associated Press agency.

AP said that it had a video camera broken in a scuffle with a group of men intent on preventing its journalists reporting from the event.

Chinese authorities accept little in the way of dissent and appear to be currently engaging in a periodic crackdown on news, commentary and culture that is not government approved.

The Beijing municipal authorities have also in recent years launched a large scale festival of their own, and may be unhappy with the existence of a rival event in the capital city.

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