China documentary directors say they have freedom



HONG KONG (AP) — Chinese directors attending a Hong Kong documentary festival say they enjoy significant creative freedom despite outside opinion of harsh censorship and oppression.

Filmmakers Zhou Hao and Ma Zhandong said late Friday that they can tackle most subjects they are interested in. Zhou’s recent film “The Transition Period” features a county Chinese Communist Party secretary’s drunken behavior. Ma’s “One Day in May” follows a family recovering from the massive 2008 Sichuan province earthquake.

The directors’ comments mainly apply to independent documentary makers who work outside the system, shooting without official permission and censorship. The downside is that it is impossible for their work to get wide releases in China.