Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Curtain falls on Chinese independent film festival




Curtain falls on Chinese independent film festival

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The China International Film Festival shuts down amid intensifying censorship on Chinese media and entertainment. public domain

Curtain falls on Chinese independent film festival

One of China’s longest-running independent film festivals has decided to shut down against the backdrop of mounting government censorship, saying it was no longer possible to run a “purely independent” festival in the country.

The China International Film Festival (CIFF) made the announcement in a post Thursday on its official WeChat social media account.

“We believe that under current local organisational conditions, it is impossible to organise an effective film festival that has a pure, independent spirit,” it said.

The statement gave no other details on the reasons, but the shutdown comes amid a dramatic tightening of censorship on Chinese media and entertainment under the government of President Xi Jinping.

The CIFF was founded in the eastern city of Nanjing in 2003 and was staged 14 times, its announcement said.

The festival was known to have screened films on sensitive subjects such as homosexuality and controversies surrounding the massive Three Gorges Dam project in central China.

China has long operated what is widely considered the most sophisticated online censorship apparatus, which blocks Chinese internet users from accessing a wide range of content that the government considers politically objectionable.

But under Xi – the most powerful Chinese leader in decades – Beijing has ramped up censorship while pushing a nationwide drive for more media that glorifies the ruling Communist Party.

Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post quoted Zhang Xianmin, a Beijing Film Academy professor and the festival’s key organiser, as saying the shutdown takes China back to a more restricted era for film.

“We just went back to 20 years ago, when there was no room and opportunity for independent films,” Zhang was quoted as saying.

A range of other annual film festivals continue to operate in China.

MOST VIEWED

  • All inbound flights set to face added scrutiny

    Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said on Monday that the ministry is monitoring all inbound flights, after it was announced that only those from Malaysia and Indonesia will be temporarily cancelled from August 1. Vandine said on Monday that the two countries were identified as

  • Flights from Indonesia, Malaysia cancelled

    A Ministry of Health official has warned of the possibility of Covid-19 spreading through community transmission after the total infected cases in the Kingdom rose to 225. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told reporters on Saturday that the possibility of community transmission cannot be overlooked and that

  • Man in quarantine dies of ‘overdose’

    The Ministry of Health on Thursday said a Cambodian migrant worker who died while being isolated at a quarantine centre in Tbong Khmum province’s Kroch Chhmar district may have died from syncope or overdose of tablets. In a statement, the ministry said the 21-year-old

  • Ministry set to reopen 20 schools in August

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport will allow 20 high-safety-standards schools to reopen next month despite new cases of Covid-19 in the country. Ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha wrote in a Telegram message on Wednesday that the schools are in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang.