Open letter to Chen Chu
Dear Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊),
As the producer (John Lewis) and director (Jeff Daniels) of The 10 Conditions of Love, we thank you sincerely for the courageous and principled decision of the Kaohsiung City Government to permit further screenings of our documentary at the Kaohsiung Film Festival (KFF), in addition to the screenings last week. As filmmakers, we are doubly blessed.
We hope these additional screenings, forming as they do the original intention of the KFF, will reassure those who may have wavered in their faith in your long-standing struggle and adherence to the struggle for democracy and human rights in Taiwan and Asia, in particular in Tibet and Xinjiang, and in the world generally.
We appreciate the immense pressure brought to bear on your administration by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) over the programming of the documentary in the KFF.
We believe the symbolism of your decision to permit further screenings will be welcomed and acclaimed by commentators and film-goers around the globe and will permanently establish Kaohsiung as one of the region’s most important and serious film festivals with an international reputation for integrity under pressure.
KFF will further establish its position as a leading cultural force in Taiwan by its plan to organize advance screenings of The 10 Conditions of Love throughout Taiwan. We have had numerous approaches by some parties in Taiwan claiming to have acquired rights to screenings, but we wish to confirm that only KFF can authorize screenings.
The Kaohsiung City Government and KFF have worked hard under great political duress to achieve this outcome. We hope organizations that wish to screen the film will contact KFF. It is important that these screenings are conducted legally because the rule of law is the first step towards the guarantee of human rights.
China must be resisted powerfully in its attempt to tell democracies what they may or may not see. It has attempted in past months to do this in Australia and again in New Zealand. In each case, its efforts were rebuffed firmly.
Compromise does not work with the Chinese in the matter of the Uighurs and World Uyghur Congress leader Rebiya Kadeer. Nor with Tibet.
We refer to a recent editorial in Taiwan News this week which said that there can be no retreat on free speech — not in Taiwan, not anywhere.
Once again, we express our gratitude and admiration for your actions in this matter.
Reflections on turning 60
Happy birthday to the PRC as it turns 60 years old this week. Six decades filled with turbulence, hardship and various modernization efforts have culminated in recent economic prosperity. But the lessons learned from the past should not be forgotten.
Development without consideration for the welfare of its citizens can and will lead to disastrous consequences. The string of food scandals that have plagued China in recent years and the appropriation of land in rural areas without fair compensation to the people suggests that the bureaucrats in charge of China’s development have not heeded the warnings from the past 60 years.
Initiating human-centered growth, taking into account such things as the health and education of the people and care for the environment, among others, will lead to not only an economically strong China, but a healthy and prosperous society that would serve the nation in the future.
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