Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) yesterday reaffirmed the city's commitment to screening a documentary on Uighur independence activist Rebiya Kadeer to highlight the city's support for human rights despite opposition from Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) councilors.
The move came as two directors pulled their films from the city's upcoming film festival in protest and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) announced plans to screen the film nationwide.
Fielding questions from KMT City Councilor May Zai-hsin (梅再興) at the city council, Chen said the city's image as a supporter of freedom and human rights would suffer a serious blow if the city government canceled the screenings.
May compared Kadeer to Osama bin Laden and Adolf Hitler, urging the mayor to halt the screenings.
Chen told the councilor that the city government would not change its plan to screen the documentary because of protests by Beijing.
“Taiwan is a free and democratic society. We respect the choice of the organizers of the Kaohsiung Film Festival,” Chen said.
“The best way to deal with Kadeer's documentary is to allow the public to see for themselves what the film is about,” she said.
The festival has attracted controversy since its organizers announced early this month it would include The 10 Conditions of Love featuring Kadeer.
Representatives from the city's tourism sector have complained about cancelations by Chinese tour groups, saying the groups are avoiding Kaohsiung because of the planned screenings.
The city government said on Saturday it would not cancel the screenings, but brought the date forward to today and tomorrow. It also said that tomorrow's screening will move to a bigger venue, FE21 Mall's Vieshow Cinema, because of increased demand.
Chen said the decision was made to prevent the controversy from escalating.
Chen said yesterday that she understood the concerns of the tourism sector, but “it would be too dangerous to allow Kaohsiung City's tourism development to fully depend on China's goodwill.”
But DPP City Councilor Huang Chao-hsing (黃昭星) said the city government should also screen the film at every park in the city.
“Are we going to sacrifice our democracy, freedom and dignity for money? Kaohsiung City is not a prostitute who will give up her dignity for money,” Huang said.
Two film directors — Chen Li-kuei (陳麗貴) and Chen Yu-ching (陳育青) — said yesterday they were withdrawing their films in protest against the city government's decision to bring forward the documentary's screening.
“Following such disgraceful action, we wouldn't know how to face the audience if we were to show our documentaries on Taiwan's struggle for freedom and democracy as planned in the section of the festival called 'The Power of the People,'” Chen Yu-ching said by telephone.
Chen Yu-ching is the director of My Human Rights Journey (我的人權之旅), a documentary on the prison on Green Island (綠島), where political dissidents were jailed during the White Terror era.
Director Chen Li-kuei also announced the withdrawal of her film The Burning Mission: Rescue of Political Prisoners in Taiwan.
On the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights last year, the city government announced it would create a special section titled “the power of the people” dedicated to films about human rights and freedom in this year's festival.
Both films were scheduled to be shown in this section.
“We regret that Mayor Chen Chu failed to defend the professionalism and independence of the festival and dishonored the 'city of human rights' title that Kaohsiung has given itself,” the two said in a joint statement.
“Bowing to political pressure and showing the film in a 'special screening' before the festival is not only a humiliation to the filmmaker, but also a rejection of the dream that Rebiya Kadeer pursues,” they said.
“Since the Kaohsiung City Government did not carefully consider all factors and does not respect the professionalism and independence of the festival, we would like to express our deepest regrets and withdraw our films,” the statement said.
DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday urged the central government to intervene, instead of letting the city government shoulder all the pressure from China.
“Cross-strait relations are the responsibility of the central government,” Tsai said. “It should share some of the burden.”
DPP spokesman Chao Tien-lin (趙天麟) said the party would “respect Kaohsiung's decision as an independent government body.”
However, the party would try to hold screenings of the film around the country, Chao said.
TIMING: 'The CHIPS Act funding is crucial for us. In other words, if the act’s passage is delayed for too long, we will certainly need to adjust,’ chairwoman Doris Hsu said GlobalWafers Co (環球晶圓) plans to start construction on a US$5 billion wafer fabrication facility in Texas in November, after passage of the US$52 billion Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America Act. The fab would be the largest of its kind in the US and one of the largest in the world, with a monthly capacity of 1.2 million wafers, GlobalWafers said, adding that the investment would be the first new fab in the US in more than 20 years and critical to closing a semiconductor supply chain gap. The world’s No. 3 silicon wafer supplier said the project, which
Samsung Electronics Co yesterday commenced mass production of 3-nanometer chips that are more powerful and efficient than predecessors, beating rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) to a key milestone in the race to build the most advanced chips in the world. South Korea’s largest company said in a statement that it was beginning with 3-nanometer semiconductors for high-performance and specialized low-power computing applications before expanding to mobile processors. By applying so-called Gate-All-Around transistor architecture, Samsung’s 3-nanometer products reduce power consumption by up to 45 percent and improve performance by 23 percent compared with 5-nanometer chips, it said. Samsung’s push to be first
Three to four tropical storms or typhoons are expected to hit Taiwan this year due to a weak La Nina effect in the northwest Pacific Ocean, the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) said yesterday, as typhoon season begins next month. Taiwan’s typhoon season generally lasts from July to September, with most typhoons occurring in August. Weather Forecast Center Director Lu Kuo-chen (呂國臣) told a news conference that a weakening La Nina is expected to have less of an effect on Taiwan. “The climate simulation we conducted, and those conducted by other meteorological agencies around the world, showed that the number of typhoons that
HYBRID THREAT: Lauding the alliance’s global vision in facing up to China’s challenges, MOFA said that Taiwan would continue to bolster cooperation with democratic allies NATO has for the first time singled out China as one of its strategic priorities for the next decade, warning about its growing military ambitions, confrontational rhetoric toward Taiwan and other neighbors, and increasingly close ties to Russia. In Taipei, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday said it appreciates the alliance’s global vision in facing up squarely to the systemic challenges posed by China. While Russia’s war against Ukraine has dominated discussions at the NATO summit in Madrid, China on Wednesday earned a place among the Western alliance’s most worrying security concerns. “China is substantially building up its military forces, including nuclear