Li Xianting Film School Closed by Authorities

Beijing’s Li Xianting Film School, which offered training programs for independent film makers, was abruptly closed down by authorities last week without official explanation. From Radio Netherlands Worldwide: 

The school’s courses are specifically designed for Chinese circumstances. They encourage creative and independent thinking and help students develop their skills. Last week, more than 20 policemen came to the school and forcibly transferred the teachers and students to a hotel in Tongzhou, a district on the outskirts of Beijing. The next day, the police sent a coach with instructions to take the students home.

Wang Wo, independent filmmaker and lecturer at Li Xianting Film School, told RNW that no convincing explanation has been given for the move. “We were told that the school didn’t have a valid certificate to operate. But we have already held 8 previous editions, and didn’t run into problems. Perhaps the matter is too complicated, and we just can’t put our finger on the problem.” Despite being evicted, the teachers and students are not giving up. ”The only thing we know is that we’ll go on with the training programme as planned,” said Wang Wo.

At the same time, students and alumni started a campaign on the Chinese social networking site Weibo, to show their support for the film school. They expressed both their affection for the school and their protest against the authorities ’action in writing on their bodies. They then took pictures of themselves and posted them on Weibo. [Source]

Li Xianting, an independent art critic and founder of the film school, also funds the Beijing Independent Film Festival through the Li Xianting Film Foundation. The festival, too, has faced official interference several times in recent years.