Sat, Jul 18, 2009 - Page 6 News List

China urges Aussie film festival to drop Uighur documentary

AFP , BEIJING

China said on Thursday it opposed any foreign platform for Rebiya Kadeer, after an Australian film festival accused Beijing of trying to stop a showing of a documentary about the leading Uighur activist.

“What kind of person Rabiya Kadeer is, we are all very clear,” foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang (秦剛) told reporters. “We oppose any foreign countries providing her with a platform to engage in anti-China separatist activities.”

Qin did not confirm if Chinese diplomats had pressured organizers not to show the film about the US-based head of the World Uighur Congress at the Melbourne International Film Festival.

Festival director Richard Moore said an official from the Chinese consulate called him on July 10 and urged him to withdraw the documentary Ten Conditions of Love by Melbourne film-maker Jeff Daniels.

Moore said the consulate official argued the festival should not screen the film because Kadeer was a criminal and also called for organizers to cancel a promotional visit by the activist scheduled for next month.

“She actually said: ‘I’m urging you to withdraw this film from the festival,’” Moore told ABC radio.

Moore said he told the official he did not have to justify the film’s inclusion, “then politely hung up.”

Violence that erupted in Xinjiang on July 5 left at least 192 people dead and more than 1,600 injured, Chinese authorities have said. China accuses Kadeer of fomenting the unrest.

The unrest saw members of China’s Muslim Uighur minority, who have long said they live under repressive Beijing rule, attack members of the nation’s dominant Han ethnic group.

Kadeer, who spent six years in a Chinese prison before she was released in 2005 after US pressure, has denied the accusations she organized the unrest.

Canberra is in the midst of a diplomatic row with Beijing over the fate of Stern Hu (胡士泰), a top Rio Tinto executive arrested and accused of bribery and espionage during troubled negotiations over iron ore contracts.

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