Three Chinese films have been pulled out of the Hong Kong International Film Festival (Mar 17 - Apr 6) increasing fears that Chinais tightening censorship following the recent Lust, Caution controversy.

Han Yan's Winds of September - The Chinese Mainland Chapter, Zhang Yibai's Chongqing-set Lost, Indulgence and A Decade of Love, a compilation of 10 shorts by 10 Hong Kong directors were set to be world premieres at the festival.

No official reasons were given for their withdrawal, but it is understood that the films have not yet passed the Chinese censors.

Although the films contain nothing obviouslycontroversial - and such a stamp of approval is not required for their Hong Kong screenings - the film-makers are at risk if their films are played without having being cleared by the censors.

There is growing concern that Chinais exerting afirmer grip on the media ahead of this summer's Beijing Olympics and in view of the recent riots in Tibet.

Winds Of September is a coming-of-age trilogy directed by young directors from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan and produced by veteran Hong Kong film-maker Eric Tsang who is the festival's Film-maker in Focus for this year.

Lin Shu-yu's Taiwan chapter already received its world premiere at the festival last Friday while Heiward Mak's Hong Kong chapter is due to screen next Tuesday.

Tsang is also a co-star in Lost, Indulgence which features Hong Kong 's Karen Mok and Eason Chan.