Hackers attack Kaohsiung festival Web site

Defacement occurred despite exclusion of film from fest

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Hackers on Monday posted vulgarities and pro-Chinese slogans on a Taiwanese film festival's Web site to protest plans to screen a documentary about an exiled Uighur activist accused by Beijing of inciting recent ethnic violence in China's west.

The cyberattack came despite a decision by Kaohsiung's government last weekend not to air "The 10 Conditions of Love" at its Kaohsiung Film Festival next month. The film is about U.S.-based World Uighur Congress leader Rebiya Kadeer, whom Beijing says was behind July riots that left nearly 200 people dead in China's Xinjiang province.

Kadeer has strongly denied the accusations that she incited that violence, which broke out between Muslim Uighurs and members of China's dominant Han ethnic group.

The film is scheduled to be screened, instead, Tuesday and Wednesday at the city government's Kaohsiung Film Archive. The city said it was pulling the documentary out of the festival and showing it earlier in an effort to end the controversy.

"We just want rows (over the film) to end as early as possible," Liu said. "We want to help everyone focus on the film festival itself," said Liu Shiu-ying, who is the director of the archive and supervises the festival.

Liu told The Associated Press her staff found the front page of the Kaohsiung Film Festival Web site replaced Monday afternoon with a digitally altered photo of Kadeer and exiled Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama and some obscenities. She did not elaborate.

When an AP reporter viewed the site, the festival page was replaced with the altered photos showing the Dalai Lama with his arm on Kadeer along with crude language accusing the two of being sexually promiscuous and undignified. The Web site also included the phrase "anti-Xinjiang, anti-Tibet and anti-Taiwan independence. Fervently celebrate the motherland's 60th anniversary!" China will mark six decades of communist rule on Oct. 1.

A similar incident occurred last month when Kadeer attended a film festival in Melbourne that screened the documentary.

After festival director Richard Moore refused to scrap the Kadeer film, protesters posted a Chinese flag on the Web site as well as English-language messages demanding that festival organizers apologize to all Chinese for including Kadeer in the program. Four Chinese films also pulled out of the event.

Beijing has said the film "distorts the facts and glorifies a separatist," and warned the Kaohsiung municipal government against stirring up troubles in cross-strait relations, although it did not spell out the possible consequences of screening the film. Taiwan and China split amid civil war in 1949, but their relations have warmed recently.

But Kaohsiung is a stronghold for the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, which supports Taiwan's independence from China.

Local media have reported that tour operators have protested to the city government because they fear Chinese tourists may cancel their Kaohsiung trips over the film screening.