November 2, 2009

China looks to export censorship

A few days before the start of this year's Melbourne International Film Festival its executive director received an "audacious" telephone call.

BBC News, Beijing

An official from China's consulate in the city called him to "urge" the festival to withdraw a film about the Chinese activist Rebiya Kadeer.

Beijing then tried to persuade the organisers of the Frankfurt Book Fair not to allow two Chinese writers to attend an event.

China says it does not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.
But some see these acts as an attempt by China to use abroad the tough censorship measures it constantly employs at home.

Intimidation and threats

Richard Moore, the Melbourne festival's executive director, said he was astonished to receive the call from the city's Chinese consulate.

"It came down to [the consular official] saying we need to justify our decision to include the film in the programme. It was a remarkable display of confidence and arrogance," he said.

The festival decided to ignore the advice and go ahead with the film - about an activist who campaigns for better rights for China's Uighur minority - but that did not end the issue.

The festival organisation was subjected to an intense campaign of threats, intimidation and disruption, although it is not clear who - if anyone - orchestrated the campaign.

The festival e-mail address received insulting messages, there were waves of annoying phone calls and the fax machine was jammed with callers.

Some notes to the organisers contained messages threatening Mr Moore's family.

Internet hackers managed to break into the festival's online booking site, making it appear that session tickets had been sold out.

Hackers also managed to post a Chinese flag on the main website and Chinese film-makers withdrew their movies from the festival.


Hat Tip to Michael


Northman said...

There's a surprise. I would have never expected such a thing from that lovely Chinese government. I mean, they would never do that, they hosted the Olympics. I love how countries, leaders, people, do things they're known for and should be expected to do and because it doesn't fit the liberal cookie cutter of "acceptable" it's met with a reaction of surprise and a "why would you do that" face. What was that saying about history?...

Snarky Basterd said...

I hear Obugger's having a conference call later this week with Chinese hackers in an attempt to shut down conservative blogs.

Oh. Wait. I shouldn't snark about that. It's probably really going to happen.

Anonymous said...


China now has the slick shiny veneer of semi-capitalism. Beneath that surface is Mao's revolution. China is the Trojan Horse, with money and technology.

Anonymous said...

Dave I'm waiting for a few major lawsuits and Justice Dept. investigations to begin appearing amongst then Conservative blogosphere.

Anonymous said...

The hacker are coming.

Unknown said...

What ‘China’ did should always not be agreed with, but Rebiya Kadeer did not have any position to do what she did either.

In Chinese, we’ve got an expression: ‘Dog bites dog, mouthful of hair’ (狗咬狗,滿嘴毛). This is what I’d like to say towards them.