Once again, the opening day of the Beijing Independent Film Festival has encountered problems with the Chinese authorities. Not only were public screenings unable to take place, but Li Xianting and festival director Wang Hongwei were also detained by the police for several hours, and the entire Li Xianting archive removed. At time of writing, this has been covered extensively in the international press: see for example reports by The Guardian and The New York Times. The Chinese art website Randian, and the China Media Project website at HKU, also carry good summaries of the events. Voice of America also interviewed Li Xianting about the events, accessible here in a translation by the China Media Project website. For the first time, there has also been an international response from film festivals themselves: the IFFR has released a statement, co-signed by a number of other film festivals, in support of the BIFF.
In addition to these reports, there was much activity on the Chinese internet. Attached below are files with screen captures of some of this activity. These include: Li Xianting’s timeline of his interactions with the authorities in the run up to the event (in Chinese); an English translation by Scott E. Myers (University of Chicago) of this timeline; and an official response (in Chinese) from the BIFF to the authorities.
Finally, in the Festival Reports section of the website, Scott has kindly allowed us to include his own eye-witness account of what happened in Songzhuang. This can be accessed here.