Protesting the planned appearance of Uighur-independence activist Rebiya Kadeer, whom the Chinese government blames for the ethnic violence this month between Uighurs and Han Chinese, a hacker has posted a Chinese flag on the Web site of the Melbourne International Film Festival, the New York Times has reported, citing the Associated Press. The ethnic riots in the East Turkistan region left nearly 200 people dead.
The hacker, reportedly a Chinese man offended by Kadeer's scheduled appearance at the screening of Melbourne-based filmmaker Jeff Daniels' documentary The 10 Conditions of Love, also left messages in English demanding an apology from festival organizers. The 10 Conditions of Love, which chronicles Kadeer and her family's struggles against the Chinese government's oppression, premiered at the festival last night without any disturbances at the screening.
According to a festival spokesperson, there have been hundreds of other attempts to hack the Melbourne festival's site. Additionally, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson has lambasted the The 10 Conditions of Love screening, a Chinese diplomat at the consulate in Melbourne has demanded that the film be withdrawn, and four Chinese films have been pulled out of the festival, which has been inundated with e-mails that festival director Richard Moore says are best described as “vile.”
The Melbourne festival's synopsis of The 10 Conditions of Love explains that two-time Nobel Prize nominee Rebiya Kadeer, at one point one of China's wealthiest citizens, spent six years in a Chinese prison before being exiled to Washington, D.C. Compounding matters, two of her sons have received lengthy prison sentences.
Kadeer is scheduled to attend the festival at a sold-out screening of The 10 Conditions of Love on Aug. 8. She denies having had any role in the recent ethnic violence.
The Melbourne Film Festival runs until Aug. 9.