realscreen reports today that “[a] delegation of 10 Chinese commissioning editors has pulled out of attending Sheffield Doc/Fest at the last minute, after the UK festival refused demands from the Chinese Embassy in London to drop Alison Klayman’s doc Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry from its program.”

realscreen reports: “Two ‘meet the commissioners’ conference sessions were due to take place during the festival this week, in a bid to help Western producers and commissioners learn about working and coproducing with China.

It is understood, however, that when the Chinese embassy in London learned that Never Sorry and Steve Maing’s High Tech, Low Life were part of the screening program, it contacted Doc/Fest directly, demanding that the screenings be cancelled.

Campbell Glennie, Doc/Fest’s marketing and business director, told realscreen: “On the day before the festival opened, our office received a phone call from the Chinese Embassy in London directly asking us to cancel the screenings of Ai Weiwei, which I said was something we could not do.”

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, about the dissident Chinese artist, will air on Independent Lens next season.