In a move that is being understood as a reaction to Avatar’s theme of forced relocation and eviction, the Chinese government has pulled Avatar from all 2D screens – 1,628 of them – in spite of the fact that the film is breaking all records for box office business in the country. Writing in the China Daily, columnist Huang Hung said the smash-hit film mirrored China’s rules on forced eviction. “All the forced removal of old neighbourhoods in China makes us the only earthlings today who can really feel the pain of the Na’vi,” she wrote. Authorities insist the decision was a commercial one, saying the 3D version made up two-thirds of ticket revenues. Many Chinese, however, have been writing that the film’s plot parallels the removal of millions of residents to make way for property developers. The government has also denied reports that a decision was made to reduce competition for home-grown films. They include a state-backed biopic of philosopher Confucius, starring Chow Yun-fat, which is due out next week.

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