Hollywood studio under fire for filming in city where dissident is held

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The Independent Online

The Hollywood studio Relativity Media has been criticised for shooting a new comedy in a city where one of China's most prominent dissidents, the blind "barefoot lawyer" Chen Guangcheng, is being held under house arrest.

What has particularly angered human rights activists is the way in which Relativity Media has boasted of its close links to the local Communist Party, which they blame for the abuse of Mr Chen, who has been held with his family since his release from prison in 2010.

In a statement announcing the start of shooting of the buddy movie 21 and Over, Relativity quoted the Communist Party secretary of Linyi municipal committee, Zhang Shajun, warmly welcoming the film-makers.

Defending its decision to shoot in the city, the company said: "From its founding, Relativity Media has been a consistent and outspoken supporter of human rights and we would never knowingly do anything to undermine this commitment."