Sunday, August 02, 2009

AFP(!) reports Taipei Trade Office in Canberra Supports PRC Film Festival Boycott

AFP reports on the Chinese toddler temper tantrum at Canberra over a film festival because an Uighur leader opposed to PRC colonialism in Xinjiang is visiting Australia....
Chinese hackers crashed the website of Australia's biggest film festival, organisers said on Saturday, escalating tensions over a visit here by the exiled leader of the Uighur minority.

Online bookings for the Melbourne International Film Festival had to be shut down after the site was bombarded with phony purchases which resulted in the entire program being sold out, said festival spokeswoman Asha Holmes.

A Chinese citizen living in the United States had alerted organisers to the viral campaign, which originated from a website in China titled "A Call to Action to All Chinese People", said Holmes.

The site explained how to set up a fake profile to buy tickets, and aimed to crash the festival's site in protest against its screening of "Ten Conditions of Love" and its hosting of the documentary's subject, Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer.
Stay classy, Chinese people!

However, from the Taiwan perspective, this is the kicker:
China has labelled the US-based Muslim minority leader a "criminal" and accuses her of masterminding the July 5 Xinjiang riots that left at least 197 people dead and 1,600 injured.

Canberra has rebuffed Chinese objections to the visit by Kadeer, saying she is not a "terrorist" and there is no reason to exclude her.

All Chinese language films were withdrawn from the festival in protest, and Hong Kong and Taipei's trade offices both pulled their sponsorship.
What? Taipei pulled out of the festival? This is not in other news reports of the attacks and the boycott (see WaPo and The Age). Moreover, a Taiwan Trade and Economic Office (TECO) in Australia press release dated the 28th (Tuesday) says:

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Australia (TECO) is very surprised and regretful to hear that the distributing company of the film entitled “Miao Miao”, namely Fortissimo Films, which is based in Hong Kong, has decided to withdraw the screening of “Miao Miao”, directed by Taiwanese Cheng Hsiao-Tse.

The withdrawal is due to the recent boycott made by the authorities of the Chinese People’s Republic which controls Hong Kong, against the Melbourne International Film Festival. This has nothing to do with Taiwan which is in support of the continuous participation of the film and the freedom of expression and human rights.

The TECO regards that the arts is a special medium that should be above politics and free from political dictation. The TECO firmly believes that it is wrong to boycott this international cultural event because of political differences. The TECO feels very disappointed that the Australian public will be unable to have the opportunity to enjoy viewing “Miao Miao”.

However, there are two Taiwan short films, namely “Joyce Agape” and “The Pursuit of What Was”, that will still be participating in the Melbourne International Film Festival.

The TECO will continue to give their full support to the Melbourne International Film Festival, and hopes to introduce more Taiwan films to this event in the future.

As far as I can see, there have been no updates at the TECO site on this issue since Tuesday. Hence the AFP report appears to be false.

A Hong Kong distributor withdrew a Taiwanese film as part of the PRC's classy boycott of a film festival, is what happened. The TECO announcement says it is wrong to boycott a film festival. Hard to imagine they turned around and boycotted it after saying that.

UPDATE: TECO sent this around to people it had invited to screen the film:
We regret to inform that the film "Miao Miao" has been forced to cancel on 29 July at 12:30 pm for the complaint from China. As China claims that part of the fund of the film "Miao Miao" was from Hongkong P/L, so it could not join the Melbourne film festival as a Taiwanese film.

We apologize for any of the inconvience it causes and thank you for your support in this matter.
Nope. Doesn't look like AFP got that right. Those of you who support the "one country, two systems" hogwash might want to examine the role of Hong Kong in all this. Is that really what you want for Taiwan?
Don't miss the comments below! And check out my blog and its sidebars for events, links to previous posts and picture posts, and scores of links to other Taiwan blogs and forums!


Craig Ferguson (@cfimages) said...

More mentions of Taipei.,,25862379-7485,00.html

(FYI : is a Murdoch tabloid and often full of errors. Think New York Post style)

Anonymous said...

One country... ONE system.

MJ Klein said...

the more China does this, the better it is for everyone else involved. they'll soon find out that nobody cares if they withdraw, and by drawing so much attention, their boycotts actually backfire on them. somebody needs their diaper changed.

Michael Turton said...

Yeah, but it seems no matter how many times they engage in this baby behavior, nobody ever calls them on it.


Anonymous said...

China's military celebrated its 82nd anniversary Saturday, with an editorial in the official paper calling on the armed forces to maintain social stability in the wake of unrest on the fringes of its territory.

"We must closely pay attention to developments in the domestic and international situation ... and firmly oppose all violent criminal activities and attempts to split the country," it said.

its officialy, PRC is not capable to keep itself together.

Thoth Harris said...

Thank you for paying attention to this matter. I think the Chinese government's and Chinese nationalists' use of cyberterrorism (which is what this hacking is, and not some isolated incident) needs more attention in the news media. If people don't pay any attention to Green Dam, Chinese censorship in its own country (the great firewall), hacking of other country's sites, etc., then all the freedoms we ever thought we had in Australia, Canada, the U.S., Taiwan, France, etc. will be a distant memory in the Memory Hole.
I am deeply disturbed!!! We all should be. I feel like swearing, "Damn it all to @#$%!" Everything is nearly up with us.

Taikula said...

AFP has dropped the ball frequently in the past when reporting about Taiwan. One gets the sense that they have only the vaguest idea what goes on here.

Excellent point about the sabotage of freedom in Hong Kong.

Ed said...

And once again there's a great reason to download the movies using BitTorrent instead... Well the Chinese do have a good record of keeping their own people poor.

Anonymous said...

I think Chinese people did a correct thing. Nobody wants to talk with terrorist like Kadeer. It is a pitty that our Australia mix Movie Art with politcs especially terrorism. I support chinese movie director.

Thoth Harris said...

Just ignore the trolls and move on. You know what I'm talking about MIchael. Otherwise, they will feel encouraged. They are just one aspect of cyberterrorismm

Anonymous said...

It is a pitty that our Australia mix Movie Art with politcs especially terrorism.

Sadly, you fail to understand the medium of film as an art form.

Politics, whether you agree or disagree with the goals, has been a vital component of all art forms and film is no exception.

From Potemkin to Triumph of the Will or from Crows and Sparrows to Third Sister Liu... from The Birth of a Nation to Syriana, film has played a prominent role as a polemic discourse in the dialectic between the pluralities within and outside national borders.

To attempt to suppress or subvert this valuable medium into only one viewpoint, is an attempt to stamp out diversity and plurality.

So while you are enjoying the freedom to be who you are and speak your mind from the safety of Australia, no matter how unpopular, think about your ability to do the same on any other unpopular topic in China.

Marc said...

I wonder, Michael, if it's time to do som research on AFP and its CEO, Pierre Louette, and editor-in-chief, Nicolas Miletitch to discover what their ties are to China, and why they have such a bias.

Anyone out there know about these gentlemen's political affiliations?

I note on the AFP website the following corporations are listed as AFP partners:

Transatlantic Holdings, Inc.

Gore Flat Cable

AĆ©roports de Paris

Authentix and One Network Partner

Dixteel said...

Perhaps Marc,

But I think it might be more because those AFP reporters stationed in Asia probably only get their news resources from Hong Kong and Beijing. Maybe it is time for them to get their butts out of there and do some real reporting.

Anonymous said...

I think he doesn't understand the purpose of ART in general.

Art is not meant to just be a "pretty" and benign medium for our pleasure. Art is intended to be provocative and elicit a wide range of emotions in the viewer. Without the layers of politics and meaning it is simple "design".

Thoth Harris said...

I'm almost tempted to suggest to you, Michael, that you disable anonymous commenters. At least if people put an effort into making up a pseudonym (whether they are genuine commenters or trolls), then this nonsense of certain parties trying to derail genuine discussion and debate might ceasse. Just a suggestion.
It won't stop them completely, on a blog as popular and frequently visited as yours, but it will improve the situation.
Genuine discussion and freedom (including the feeling of freedom), whether it be by a blogger by yourself, myself, film festivals, newspapers, magazines, and protesters, means freedom for more people everywhere, whether it be in Myanmar, North Korea, or Communist-controlled China.
Anonymous trolls, however, are like cockroaches, For those menaces, we do the same thing we do with cockroaches. Keep a clean house. In addition, put out poison. I am all for baiting cockroaches and squashing them like the bugs they are!

Marc said...

THOTH HARRIS would have it that anonymous comments are stricken from this blog. Mr. Thoth may not consider that some commentators need to conceal their identity because of those who may be reading this blog and possibly 'making lists.'

Under the current political climate, some people may need to exercise discretion while participating in the debate. I oppose any exclusion.

The so-called trolls are easily identified whether they real names or not.

Anonymous said...

Michael has the discretion to post all comments. You don't think the numbskull comments he does allow are the only ones he receives? I think he posts them for our own entertainment.

Readin said...

I think he posts them for our own entertainment.

I realize that Michael Turton has clear political reasons for the blog and makes no pretense about being an objective news source, but I do hope his general criteria for allowing or disallowing posts has more to do with decency intellect than with entertainment or with the views presented.

An attempt to silence well-spoken critics while allowing those critics who are abusive or incoherent in order to make his critics look bad would put him into territory I couldn't respect.

He certainly does post views that disagree with his (often mine fall into that category). Whether or not he does so as entertainment is something I'll not venture to guess. But I hope and suspect that it is the rule rather than the exception for him to post all non-abusive and coherent posts.

Michael Turton said...


I post all cogent criticism and sometimes alert my readers to it, like I did with Robert Kelly's criticisms of my complaints about adventure tourism here.

I seldom get cogent criticism from the Blue side; they are practically incapable of cogent commentary. Notice that while Green blogs in English abound, there are literally no intelligent Blue blogs in English. KMT positions cannot be rationally defended, because they are generally religious truths rather than economic, social, or political truths.

I generally kill comments that seem to (1) be trolling to spark anger, etc
(2) contain stuff that looks seriously legally actionable (death threats, etc). (3) adverts and spam (4) contain racism, homophobia etc.

I strive to put as many comments as I can here, mostly because I consider the comments here useful and important. I can't get corrected without them when I make errors. I wish Blogger offered better comment systems so we could have threads, etc.

I will always allow anonymous comments, some of my best comments have come from anonymous posters.