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Rights infringed as Chinese writers take action
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Another writers' strike? Following the end of a three-month strike led by Hollywood screenwriters, Chinese film and TV writers are petitioning for better recognition.

About 80 notable Chinese film and television drama writers gathered in Beijing on Sunday to discuss how to better protect themselves from rights infringement. Attendees included Wang Xingdong, the president of the Chinese Film Literature Association, and Cheng Qingsong, renowned playwright and film critic.

Gathering together the Chinese screenwriters for this meeting became necessary because playwrights have been significantly downplayed in recent times, Wang Xingdong told the Metro Express newspaper. "The Hollywood strike ended with an increase in pay for screenwriters. The message I learned from it is 'no pain no gain.'"

But compared to their U.S. counterparts, Chinese writers are less focused on payment and more concerned about keeping authorship rights.

At the Sunday meeting, a half-hour documentary was screened, in which dozens of infringed writers narrated their stories.

Wang Xingdong also wrote a letter on behalf of all screenwriters to the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), China's broadcasting watchdog. In the letter he asked the SARFT to enhance examinations concerning film and television products infringement on the rights of playwrights, and if so, he asked that the products be blocked from being aired.

On Sunday the writers in attendance signed a petition urging the Full Blossom Awards, a major honor for Chinese films, to add an award for outstanding screenplays. They also hope that other film awards already having this category could include an additional honor for adapted screenplays, so that "the original writer is respected."

(CRI February 26, 2008)

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