Natalie Gravenor | Monday June 14th, 2010
Read Micha Peled’s director statement about how he tried to show his documentary exposé of working conditions in a Chinese jeans factory in Beijing 2008 during the Olympic Games.
“The Chinese government has banned China Blue, but it also promised freedom of artistic expression during the Beijing Olympic Games. We decided to take them up on their word.
I was not allowed in to China, but two guys from Amsterdam, Taco and Robert, made the trip with a few DVDs in their luggage. They found a venue, a Beijing night club with a large screening room aboard a boat, whose owner was willing to take the risk. They distributed flyers about a screening scheduled for two days before the Olympics’ Opening Night. We fully expected the authorities to shut us down, but hoped for a good photo opportunity — handcuffed men led away for the crime of showing a movie. What a better proof that films still matter!
But the Chinese have much experience and savvy in repressing dissent without leaving big foot prints. The police did not show up at the club, where the audience comprised of both locals and foreign journalists. Instead, they just disconnected the power. After sitting in the dark for a few minutes everybody left. No screening and no photos, and still the film is prohibited to almost a quarter of the world’s population. Is watching a film about the exploitation of Chinese workers to enrich a few businessmen and Western retail corporations bad for the citizens of China? You be the judge.”