China tries to block Uighur film
Organisers of Melbourne’s International Film Festival have defied calls from China not to show a documentary about an exiled Uighur leader.
Festival director Richard Moore said a Chinese consular official had insisted that the film be withdrawn, but he had refused to do so.
The film, Ten Conditions of Love, centres on Rebiya Kadeer, the US-based head of the World Uighur Congress.
China accuses the group of inciting recent ethnic unrest in Xinjiang.
Beijing and Canberra are already locked in a row over an Australian mining executive who has been arrested for spying in China.
Mr Moore said that after the event’s programme was published, he was contacted by Melbourne-based Chinese cultural attache Chunmei Chen who urged him to withdraw the film.
“I said I had no reason to withdraw the film from the festival and she then proceeded to tell me that I had to justify my decision to include the film in the festival.
“No-one reacts well to strident approaches, or to the appearance of being bullied. I don’t think it’s a positive way of behaving,” he added.
He said he told Ms Chen he did not have to justify the film’s inclusion, “then politely hung up”.
The Chinese consulate in Melbourne has not commented on the incident.
China has accused Ms Kadeer of orchestrating recent bloodshed in Xinjiang, home to the ethnic Muslim Uighurs and a growing number of China’s Han majority.
Violence between the two groups this month has left more than 180 people dead and more than 1,600 injured, Chinese authorities say.
Ms Kadeer, one of China’s richest women, was jailed in China for endangering national security but released in 2005 on medical grounds. She now lives in the US.
Ten Conditions of Love, by Melbourne film-maker Jeff Daniels, tells of Ms Kadeer’s relationship with her activist husband Sidik Rouzi and the impact her campaigning had on her 11 children.
Three of her children have been jailed.
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd warned China on Wednesday that governments and corporations around the world were watching how it handled the case of an Australian mining executive.
Stern Hu, the Australian head of Rio Tinto’s iron ore business in China, was detained on suspicion of industrial espionage relating to negotiations with Chinese steel mills over iron ore prices.
- China’s Uighurs
- Urumqi syringe attacks raise security concern
- China Detains 15 For Syringe Attacks In Xinjiang
- Kazakhstan’s Uighurs rally to mourn Xinjiang dead
- Migrants to China’s West Bask in Prosperity
- China executes 2 for defrauding investors
- Exiled Uighur activist says China inflames ethnic tensions by deceiving people about unrest
- Anti-terror efforts Xinjiang’s priority
- China steps up campaign against exiled Uighur
- China Detains 319 More in Uighur Unrest