Intellectuals Support Uighur Economist as Beijing Tries to Stop Film Screening

Beijing has reportedly called on fim festival organizers in Australia not to show a documentary about Rebiya Kadeer, the exiled Uighur leader whom the government blames for last week’s violence in Xinjiang. From BBC:

Organisers of Melbourne’s International Film Festival have defied calls from China not to show a documentary about an exiled Uighur leader.

Festival director Richard Moore said a Chinese consular official had insisted that the film be withdrawn, but he had refused to do so.

The film, Ten Conditions of Love, centres on Rebiya Kadeer, the US-based head of the World Uighur Congress.

China accuses the group of inciting recent ethnic unrest in Xinjiang.

Watch a clip of the movie here:

In China, a group of more than 100 mostly Han intellectuals and journalists have signed a petition calling for the release of Ilham Tohti, the Uighur economist who has been detained in Beijing. From the New York Times:

The petition to free Mr. Tohti was started by Wang Lixiong, one of China’s leading experts on ethnic minority issues and the husband of Woeser, a well-known Tibetan blogger. The petition had 158 signatures early Wednesday. The signers are mostly ethnic Han and are from all over China.

One of the signers, Ran Yunfei, a well-known magazine editor and blogger who is of Monguor, or Tu, ethnicity, said in a telephone interview: “Even if we don’t have democracy, we should have freedom of speech. And they should not detain someone for his remarks. As far as I know, Professor Ilham’s Web site is a very gentle and rational one.”

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