Film Festival in the Cross Hairs

The outrage and controversy in China over the showing of a documentary about Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer at a film festival in Australia has only spiked demand for and interest in the film, the New York Times reports:

The Chinese government has accused Ms. Kadeer of inciting the ethnic violence between Muslim Uighurs and Han Chinese in the Xinjiang region of northwest China that claimed at least 197 lives last month. Ms. Kadeer, who lives in exile in the United States, has denied any involvement.

Yet the controversy served only to bolster interest in the film and Ms. Kadeer’s appearance. To meet the demand, festival organizers moved the film’s sold-out premiere to the city’s 1,500-seat Town Hall, where on Saturday a dozen pro-China demonstrators were vastly outnumbered by the line of ticketholders waiting to see the film. Although Ms. Kadeer entered through the back, and the police intervened between some pro-Chinese-government and pro-Uighur protesters outside, the screening went smoothly.

Nevertheless the campaign against the festival, which ended Sunday, is raising concerns among Westerners — and some Chinese — over whether the intimidation will have a lasting effect on global artistic expression as China grows increasingly assertive on the world stage.

Watch a trailer for “The Ten Conditions of Love,” the documentary on Kadeer:

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