Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke has called for the Chinese government to abolish the country’s technical qualification requirements which mean that only films of a certain technical quality can be submitted for the censorship process.

At a Master Class during the Hong Kong International Film Festival, Jia claimed that the process effectively blocks young film-makers making low budget films from entering the system. They have a strict technical requirement even for digital films,” he said. “But most young filmmakers in this country use a low-cost camera system when they start out. This technical qualification censorship block many filmmakers from entering the market. That’s why I have been calling to cancel this section of the censorship.”

Jia also shared his experience while he was struggling as a so-called underground filmmaker.

“I used to have very serious arguments with the censorship officials,” he recalled. “And I was banned to make films between 1999 to 2004. They sent documents and photos of me to major film post production companies, saying that this man is not allowed to do any post production work in your company. At that time, I had to work with filmmaking friends in Hong Kong.”

Meanwhile, Jia’s documentary Yulu, a film sponsored by Johnnie Walker, featuring the life stories of 12 Chinese entrepreneurs and professionals is screening in the festival here.