November’s World Congress of Science and Factual Producers (WCSFP) will now take place in Hong Kong (pictured), and not Beijing, following the reported arrest of the head of host broadcaster CCTV-9.
The news comes after Liu Wen, the director of documentary channel CCTV-9 was reportedly arrested on suspicion of corruption last month, according to The New York Times and Chinese state media outlets.
On the heels of the scandal, the WCSFP’s board of directors has decided to move this year’s event to the Kowloon Shangri-La Hotel in Hong Kong on the same dates, November 18-21, in a bid to “ensure the best possible experience for attending members.”
In a statement, WCSFP chairman John Lynch said: “We have been in ongoing contact with CCTV representatives for the past several weeks to assess their current situation and how it could impact their role as host broadcaster in Beijing.
“Given the uncertain circumstances, the board unanimously decided that relocating the Congress to Hong Kong would best ensure the collegial atmosphere, business opportunities and editorial excellence that members have come to expect.
“Hong Kong is a vibrant location and a readily-accessible hub for the pan-Asian industry – we look forward to welcoming new colleagues and old friends from across the region.”
A spokesperson for WCSFP told realscreen that the organization has already reached out to registered delegates that have already booked flights to Beijing, “to help facilitate changes to their travel schedules” and discuss “assistance with them individually depending on their particular circumstances.”
The spokesperson added that CCTV will no longer be recognized as the host broadcaster for this year’s event “and there are no plans to solicit a replacement broadcaster for that role in Hong Kong.”
- CLARIFICATION 3 p.m. EST: The decision to relocate from Beijing to Hong Kong was made by WCSFP’s board of directors, not by its editorial committee and editorial director Alison Leigh, as originally stated.