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Maori TV To Still Air Doco Despite Chinese Protests

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, Aug 12 NZPA - A documentary which has caused tension between China and Australia is going to be broadcast on Maori Television despite protests from the Chinese Embassy.

Maori Television confirmed that it will screen "The 10 Conditions of Love" on Tuesday September 1.

The documentary is the story of exiled Uighur leader, Rebiya Kadeer.

The Uighur are a Muslim minority in China's Xinjiang Province, which they refer to as East Turkestan.

Ms Kadeer, who now lives in the United States, has been nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize.

China has denounced Ms Kadeer as a terrorist and has accused her of helping to orchestrate recent violence in the Xinjiang region between Muslim Uighur and members of the Chinese Han community.

When the documentary screened with Ms Kadeer in attendance at the Melbourne Film Festival it caused a diplomatic row between Australia and China.

Chinese Embassy officials in New Zealand today met with Maori Television management and requested they cancel the documentary saying it distorted the facts about China's policies regarding treatment of ethnic minorities. Maori Television chief executive Jim Mather said the meeting was amicable and respectful, but the documentary would still go to air.

The officials had declined an invitation to appear on current affairs programme, Native Affairs, to publicly state their position, Mr Mather said.

"Maori Television strongly believes in the fundamental right for all people to freedom of speech," he said.

Yesterday, Australia told China to rein in its diplomats yesterday, after Beijing's Canberra embassy tried to block a speech by Ms Kadeer .

The embassy's political counsellor Liu Jing met management at Canberra's National Press Club last week and requested they withdraw an invitation to Ms Kadeer to speak.

China's government accuses Ms Kadeer's World Uighur Congress of being a front for extremist militants pushing for a separate East Turkistan homeland. She was arrested in 1999 and found guilty of "providing secret information to foreigners".

The pressure to cancel Ms Kadeer's speech comes as relations between China and Australia are being tested in the wake of the arrest of senior Australian Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu on commercial espionage charges.

The showing of the documentary in Melbourne was marked by pro-Chinese protests and a cyber-attack on the film festival's web site.

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