Famous blind peace activist Chen Guangcheng is reportedly being held under house arrest in Linyi, China despite desperate attempts from supporters to rescue him.
Executives at Relativity Media have since set up camp in Linyi to film the comedy starring Twilight’s Justin Chon and Rabbit Hole’s Miles Teller, and in a recently-issued company press release, they described the city as an “amazing” place.
The news sparked an outcry from campaigners, who have criticised movie bosses for turning a blind eye to Guangcheng’s plight.
Activist He Peirong tells the Associated Press, “I hope Relativity Media will learn more about the real Linyi… Especially at this time, when every day there are people trying to visit Chen Guangcheng, people who have been robbed and beaten, I express deep regret to see such remarks whitewashing the city of Linyi.”
Some campaigners have vowed to protest the movie’s release and now Human Rights Watch’s senior Asia researcher Nicholas Bequelin insists the studio may be in the wrong.
He says, “They seem to be eager to assume this role of being a prop in Linyi’s propaganda campaign to cast itself as a civilised municipality that promotes culture when the reality is that it is not only holding one of China’s most prominent human rights defenders, but going to extraordinary lengths to persecute him.”