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China's Homegrown Industry Thrives... While Imprisoning Filmmakers

ReelPolitik By Anthony Kaufman | ReelPolitik March 29, 2006 at 1:49AM

China's Homegrown Industry Thrives... While Imprisoning Filmmakers
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In an odd coincidence of headlines this morning, Variety leads with a story about how China's homegrown cinema is taking a greater piece of the box office locally, while the Wall Street Journal reports that Beijing-based documentary filmmaker Hao Wu (Beijing or Bust) has been imprisoned.

"Shortly after meeting with the congregation of a Christian church not recognized by the Chinese government, as part of his work on a documentary film," the story reports, the 34-year-old moviemaker and blogger was arrested, presumably because of the film he was making about underground churches in the country. "Mr. Wu's editing equipment and several videotapes were removed from his apartment," reports the Journal.

That Variety laments Hollywood's inability to dominate the Chinese film market at the same time as the country is imprisoning its indie filmmakers suggests that frequent U.S.-China foreign policy debate: Can we ignore China's civil and human rights abuses? Apparently as long as their bankrolling our wars.

Variety reports: "Six of the top 10 grossing films in China were locally produced last year -- the first time local films have outgrossed Hollywood imports since China opened its screens to foreign product in 1994."