No Freedom of Thought in China Manifests as “Killing” of Indie Films
Over the past few months, an independent movie school
in Beijing was shut down by the authorities,
and two independent movie festivals were suspended.
What’s more, the party authorities have also
threatened the corresponding organizers.
Some analysts pointed out that the crackdown
on independent movie producers and the control on
culture of freedom demonstrate that the party
has been tightening control on public opinion.
August 23 was the inaugural of the 10th Beijing Independent
Movie & Video Exhibition in Songzhuang, the eastern suburb of Beijing.
Nonetheless, the authorities shut it down on the same day.
On August 30, Associated Press reported from Beijing
that Wang Hongwei, one of the organizers of the Exhibition,
said the authorities sent police over to the exhibition scene
and suspended the ongoing activities.
Later, the exhibition was forced to move to another location
and the list of videos to be shown was also altered so that the exhibition could continue.
Hong Kong writer Zhang Chengju quoted Lenin’s words,
“Of all the arts, cinema is most important to us.”
By continuing the Soviet Union’s tradition, the Chinese
Communist Party (CCP) has firmly controlled the movie industry.
Zhang Chengjue: ”The movies shot by everyday people
can transmit all kinds of thoughts and information.
In order not to lose control, the authorities set strict
limitation on independent movie exhibitions.”
Zhang Chengjue stated that independent movie making
has been developing very rapidly in China and has gained
more and more attention from international movie festivals.
There have even been quite a few prize winners.
Fang Popo, independent movie director, graduated
from Beijing Film Academy.
Fan participated in producing the documentary movie
“Brothers”, which is one of the movies to be shown in the exhibition.
On August 30, when he was interviewed by Radio Free Asia
(RFA), he said that there is a saying within the circle
of independent movie producers — “there are two ways
for independent movies to be killed, one is suicide, the other is homicide by the authorities.”
Wang Zang, Poet in Songzhuang: “The way that authorities
treated the movie exhibition is a manifestation of their cruelty.
That is, they don’t allow the existence of the spirit
of independence and freedom.
They utilize all means to crack down on people’s
endeavors in the culture of freedom.
They want to employ the ‘party culture’to rule
the whole nation.”
As reported in March 2013, the sixth Beyond the Clouds
documentary movie exhibition was also cancelled by the party.
The independent movie producers who went to Yunnan
for the exhibition were threatened not to attend any organized movie activities.
In November 2012, the government also cracked down on
the independent movie festival held in the eastern suburb of Nanjing.
Sponsors of the movie festival pulled sponsorship
under the party 's pressure.
Not only were non-governmental movie festivals
cracked down on by the party, but last month the police
also closed the only independent movie school,
the Beijing Li Xian Ting Movie School.
The school was accused of propagating
Xia Ming, politics professor from New York City University,
participated in producing the documentary movie
“May 12 Wenchuan Earthquake --- Tears after
the Catastrophe in Chengdu.”
Xia Ming stated the authorities’crackdown
on the independent movie festivals are manifestations
of the party 's firm control in public views.
The International human right organization Human Rights
Watch, declared that the party had already detained 55 human right activists this year since February.
Among them were well-known online dissents, including
Xu Zhiyong (famous legislation scholar from Beijing),
Guo Feixiong (famous human rights activist from Guangdong),
and Du Bin (independent movie producer).
Since August 20, the party started a specific movement
called “cracking down on online rumors.”
Owners of the well-known online IDs “Qin Huohuo”
from Beijing, “Xuan Manzi”, “Li Er Chai Si”, Zhou Lubao,
Fu Xuesheng were arrested one after another.
The party asked Internet citizens to strictly follow
the “seven bottom lines”,
and no online comments are allowed to surpass
the bottom lines.
Wang Zang stated that the party fears that culture
of freedom would shake their ruling basis.
That 's why they arrest leaders of public views
and harass movie exhibitions.
They mean to upset those who hold independent thoughts.
Zhang Chengjue: “I think it would be wiser for the party
to conform to the trend of the times,
and loosen the control on public opinion,
since the more it suppresses freedom of thought,
the worse the situation will become.
For example, when Dayu (a legend in Chinese history)
worked on water control, he channeled the water off instead of blocking it.”
Zhang Chengjue pointed out that the more pressure,
the stronger the resistance will be.
The authorities should hold a more open attitude
and allow people to voice their thoughts.
Blocking public opinion can only intensify the conflict
between authorities and people.