Chinese Boycott Melbourne Film Festival to Protest Attendance of Rebiya Kadeer

| July 23rd, 2009


[MOP] Australian media reports on July 22, to protest the 58th Melbourne International Film Festival playing the “East Turkistan” separatists’ documentary, the Chinese film directors Jia Zhangke and Zhao Liang decided to withdraw their 3 films, were going to be shown in early August at the Melbourne Film Festival.

Melbourne Film Festival was originally scheduled to play “Perfect Life” produced by the Chinese mainland director Jia Zhangke, “Cry Me a River” directed by Hong Kong director Tang Xiaobai and “Petition” directed by Zhao Liang. However the organizer is going to show engaging in separatist activities, head of “the World Council of Peacekeeping” Rebiya Kadeer’s documentary, and even invited her to Melbourne to attend the opening ceremony of the festival. The Chinese directors decided not to again to attend the festival in Melbourne and withdraw all their films to protest.

Jia Zhangke in the letter to Melbourne International Film Festival Organizing Committee said, early July serious violent incident have taken place in Urumqi resulting in the death of number of people. Most of the families of the victims believe that “Peacekeeping Council” let by Kadeer cannot shift off responsibilities.

Melbourne International Film Executive Director Richard Moore in an interview with Australian Broadcasting Corporation confirmed the news on Chinese directors withdrawing from the event.

Melbourne International Film Festival, an annual event is the most influential international film festival in the southern hemisphere. The 58th Melbourne International Film Festival is opening on the 24th of this month.

[AFP] in the news article hosted by google “Chinese boycott Australian festival in Uighur row”

Some quotes:

Richard Moore:

"It’s hard to draw any other conclusion,"

"It makes me feel angry, annoyed and irritated all at the same time, that they would try to interfere with our program for blatantly political ends."

The Victoria state government minister responsible for the festival, Gavin Jennings:

"The government is a strong believer in free speech," his office told AFP.

"The Victorian government believes decisions about what movies people can or can’t see should not be dictated by political considerations."

Greens senator Bob Brown:

"We’re dealing with a police state, not a democracy … the government needs to tell Beijing that we don’t appreciate the type of censorship that it’s trying to lever on the Melbourne film festival,"

Foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang:

"What kind of person Rebiya Kadeer is, we are all very clear,"

"We oppose any foreign countries providing her with a platform to engage in anti-China separatist activities."

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