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BEIJING — Fan Popo is suing the censors.

Last winter, Mama Rainbow, the Beijing-based filmmaker’s documentary about six Chinese mothers striving to understand their homosexual children, disappeared from major Chinese websites. Fan says an employee at one of the sites, 56.com, told him the film was pulled at the behest of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television — a claim the censorship body later denied.

On Monday, Fan officially filed a lawsuit against the government branch, alleging it lied about the directive. Fan hopes the suit will help call attention to efforts to keep gay people and their stories out of film and television and, more broadly, to the state’s effort to silence calls for human rights.

“This is about justice,” he said in a telephone interview Wednesday. “I want to find out why they pulled my film.”

“The purpose of fighting this case is, on one hand, to raise public awareness about gay groups — that they should enjoy equal rights and they deserve equal treatment,” said Fan’s lawyer, Wang Zhenyu. “On the other hand, to demand [the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television] stop its improper control on gay subjects.”

Wang said he could not find a single regulation from the censorship board that prohibited “gay subjects” in film, although Chinese censors routinely block such content based on the notion it is somehow “pornographic” or “obscene.”

Print Headline: Movie censored, China suit claims

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