Doc gets Kaohsiung non-fest screening

'10 Conditions' sparked China, Australia diplomatic row

HONG KONG -- The documentary that sparked a diplomatic row between China and Australia will screen after all in Taiwan's second city Kaohsiung, but not at the upcoming Kaohsiung film festival (Oct. 16-29).
 
"The 10 Conditions of Love," a portrayal of Rebiya Kadeer, the exiled Uighur leader who is blamed by China for the recent civil unrest in its Xinjiang province, will screen four times on Tuesday and Wednesday next week (Sept. 22-23), said Liu Hsiu-ying, director of the Kaohsiung Film Library, the festival’s organizer.
 
Organizers originally announced that the film would be part of the festival, but last week publicly admitted that, after pressure from local officials and representatives of the tourism sector, they were reconsidering its selection.
 
Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Yang Yi said at a press conference in Beijing on Sept. 16 that Taiwan wants to avoid "any repeat of incidents that might disturb the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations."
 
Hotels in Kaohsiung have recently reported a sharp drop in the number of Chinese visitors coming to the city and some people have blamed the festival and the Jeff Daniels-directed movie. Others, however, have pointed to the reduced tourist numbers across much of southern Taiwan, the destruction caused by Typhoon Morakot and the visit to Taiwan by the Dalai Lama -- who, like Kadeer, is regarded by the Chinese government as a separatist.
 
"We (the ruling Kuomintang party) can't tell Kaohsiung what it can screen and what it cannot screen," said KMT deputy secretary-general Chang Jung-kung, even though he also warned the city mayor to "think carefully" about the possible consequences of going ahead with the film.
 
The Melbourne International Film Festival last month chose to give "10 Conditions" its world premiere, despite an official complaint from the Chinese embassy in Australia. But the festival paid the price of its editorial independence when six Chinese-language films were withdrawn in protest.
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