China: Freedom of expression in perilous state | PEN International

Freedom of expression in China remains in a perilous state, PEN International said today, as China appeared before the UN Human Rights Council for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of its human rights record.


Dozens of writers, journalists and bloggers remain in prison simply for peacefully expressing their views, many serving harsh prison sentences, the organisation said.

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China: Chinese film subdued by censorship

The Communist Party has introduced so much censorship and control of Chinese films that the industry is being ruined.

“It has become extremely difficult to make documentaries today,” says Ai Weiwei, one of China’s most famous artists, who produces several documentaries each year.

Ai Weiwei says strong controls have corrupted the industry. “There are no good Chinese directors – or at least they have lost heart. So they have begun to produce strange films – for example historical dramas about ancient China, or romantic films full of ridiculous jokes,” Ai said.

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China: Ai Weiwei represented by empty chair at film festival in Sweden

The jury of Stockholm Film Festival was supposed to include world-famous Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei – but it would have to be in spirit only, represented by an empty chair he designed himself.

The 56-year-old Ai, who is not allowed to leave China, was deliberately chosen for the film fest, whose theme this year is “freedom”, even though he was never likely to attend.

“I feel very good about being part of the jury because for me it’s always important to get involved,” he said by telephone. And “I still can make an object which expresses my anxiety and frustration,” he added.

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