Thu, Jul 23, 2009 - Page 1 News List

China snubs festival in Melbourne over Uighur documentary

AFP , MELBOURNE

Chinese filmmakers have pulled their movies out of Australia’s biggest film festival in a row over a documentary about a Uighur leader accused of inciting unrest, organizers said yesterday.

Melbourne festival head Richard Moore said two Chinese filmmakers pulled their movies after he ignored pressure from Beijing to drop the documentary about Rebiya Kadeer, the US-based president of the World Uyghur Congress.

Moore said he believed Beijing had ordered the withdrawal of films Perfect Life and Cry Me a River in an attempt at political intimidation ahead of the Aug. 8 screening, which will be attended by Kadeer.

Moore said an official from the Chinese consulate in Melbourne called him earlier this month and urged him to withdraw the documentary Ten Conditions of Love, by Australian filmmaker Jeff Daniels.

After he “politely hung up” and ignored the request, Moore received a letter this week from Chinese producer Chow Keung notifying him of the films’ withdrawal and criticizing the organizers for inviting Kadeer to Australia.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang (秦剛) told reporters last week that China opposes “any foreign countries providing her with a platform to engage in anti-China separatist activities.”

Separately, Moore said a third Chinese director, Zhao Liang (趙亮), asked the festival to drop his film Petition because he feared repercussions over the controversial documentary examining injustice in China’s court system.

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