Chinese hackers sabotaged the Web site of Australia’s biggest film festival over plans to screen a documentary about a Uighur activist China accuses of stirring unrest, a report said yesterday.
Hackers attacked the Melbourne International Film Festival Web site on Saturday, replacing information with the Chinese flag and leaving slogans criticizing exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer, the Age newspaper reported.
Chinese directors have already withdrawn their films over the Aug. 8 screening of the Kadeer documentary and festival director Richard Moore has accused Chinese officials of trying to bully him into pulling the documentary.
The Age reported that festival staff had been inundated with abusive e-mails over Moore’s refusal to withdraw the film and cancel Kadeer’s invitation to attend the screening.
“The language has been vile,” Moore told the newspaper. “It is obviously a concerted campaign to get us because we’ve refused to comply with the Chinese government’s demands.”
He said police were investigating the Web site attacks, which appeared to come from a Chinese Internet address, and private security guards would be on hand to protect Kadeer and film-goers at next month’s screening.
The Web site appeared to be working normally yesterday and festival organizers were not immediately available for comment.
Kadeer, the head of the World Uighur Congress, is the subject of the documentary Ten Conditions of Love by Jeff Daniels.
The Chinese government accuses her of masterminding violent unrest that broke out in Xinjiang Autonomous Region on July 5 that left more than 190 people dead. She denies the charges.
The Uighurs complain of political and religious repression under Chinese rule.
Chinese directors Tang Xiaobai (唐曉白) and Jia Zhangke (賈樟柯) withdrew their films from the festival last week, citing the Kadeer documentary’s inclusion.
Tang said she decided to boycott the event after receiving calls from government officials but insisted she was not pressured and the decision was her own.