The Chinese Government has demanded that the Melbourne International Film Festival remove the documentary The 10 Conditions of Love from its program, reports today’s The Age. Directed by Melbournian Jeff Daniels (not to be confused with the actor Jeff Daniels) the now controversial film focuses on millionaire Uighur businesswoman and activist Rebiya Kadeer (pictured left, click to enlarge) who China accuses of inciting ethnic riots in Xinjiang earlier this month during which 180+ people died. Here’s a snippet from the story:
Festival director Richard Moore said the Chinese consulate in Melbourne phoned him late on Friday after the festival’s full program was published in The Age, insisting that the documentary, The 10 Conditions of Love, be withdrawn.
The consular official, Ms Chen, who is believed to be the new Melbourne cultural attache, demanded that Mr Moore justify his decision to include the film. She also castigated him for allowing Ms Kadeer to be a guest of the festival. Ms Kadeer is due in Melbourne next month to speak at the premiere.
“When I told them that I did not have to justify the film’s inclusion, they became increasingly insistent and proceeded to list her (Ms Kadeer’s) crimes,” Mr Moore said.
The Chinese government’s request for the film to be dumped is of course way outa line, although festival organisers should be pleased about the free publicity. At this stage two things are obvious: a) MIFF’s reputation will be in tatters if they succumb to the Chinese government’s requests, meaning they have every reason not to and no obvious reasons why they would and b) when Kadeer speaks at the premiere next month she’ll have some juicy new material for the audience.