China: Arts and social media increasingly restricted

The director of the annual Beijing Independent Film Festival was jailed and forced to promise not to open the festival. The move comes as social media, arts, and religion are increasingly restricted.

China sees and intensified campaign against activity not considered in line with orthodox party thinking under President Xi Jinping. The broadening range of targets including legal aid, social media, arts, civil society, and Christian churches.

In August 2014 organisers were to open the 11th Beijing Independent Film Festival in Songzhuang, a Beijing suburb. The event is considered by artists to be one few chances to see new avant-garde work created outside government controls.

But Chinese directors, filmmakers, and journalists were blocked from entering the area by squads of non-uniformed men who said they were from out of town. Festival organizer Li Xianting, a film critic who runs an arts foundation, was put in prison and forced to sign a statement not to open the festival as a condition of being released.

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