CHINA has withdrawn nine official entries to the Hong Kong Film Festival because two productions by independent mainland film-makers are being shown, sources said. Although the official reason for withdrawing the nine entries was that they were not available, sources said both the film festival management and the Urban Council had been warned. Beijing does not consider the unofficial films to be representative of China. A press conference to promote the 16-day event yesterday was postponed at the last minute. However, tickets for the nine withdrawn movies were still available through the Urban Council's telephone reservation services. The council's culture select committee will hold a closed-door meeting this morning to discuss the programme changes. An internal circular was distributed within the festival unit of the Urban Services Department yesterday, preventing staff from commenting or giving information on the issue. Select committee chairman Man Sai-cheong described China's move as ''absurd'', while another committee member, Ma Lee-wo, said it was stupid for China to interfere in Hong Kong's artistic life during the transitional period. ''The film festival is purely a cultural exchange which should not be fused with political factors,'' Mr Man said. He accused China of spoiling the integrity of the film festival and pledged not to bow to pressure to withdraw the independent productions. ''It is a very bad precedent. I can't stop worrying about film festivals after 1997, since China could ban all the films it dislikes regardless of where they come from,'' he said. It is understood Urbco has already dropped the independently made film Blue Kite by mainland director Tian Zhuanzhuan, which was the centre of a similar row in Japan. The two unofficial entries to be screened this year are The Days and Red.