Maori TV to show Chinese Govt video - after Kadeer documentary

By Edward Gay

The maker of a documentary showing tonight on Maori Television says it is galling that another programme he describes as Chinese "state propaganda" will be shown straight after his finishes.

John Lewis, the producer of 10 Conditions of Love which looks at the struggle of the Uyghur people in China, is saddened that a documentary owned by the Chinese Government will also be aired tonight.

Maori Television has said it is not bowing to pressure, despite a visit from embassy staff asking it to pull Mr Lewis' documentary.

The Television chanel announced today that it would also show Xinjiang Urumqi July 5 Riot: Truth tonight in the interests of showing two points of view.

Ms Haggie originally said that the station was not planning on displaying a message before the Chinese Government's documentary aired to explain where it had come from. She later confirmed that a message would run to say that the documentary was owned by the Chinese Government.

Mr Lewis said he was saddened by the decision to show the documentary.

"The Chinese programme is not a film by a Chinese filmmaker presenting another side of the Uyghur issue. There are no Uyghur voices in this program.

This is government propaganda, pure and simple," Mr Lewis said.

His documentary is about the life and struggles of Uyghur nationalist leader Rebiya Kadeer, a leader of the Muslim minority in the northwest of China.

The Chinese Government's documentary represents the Chinese Government's view of the recent ethnic riots between the Uyghur people and the Han Chinese which left 197 people dead in July.

Maori TV spokeswoman Sonya Haggie said there was pressure from the Chinese Government but "we didn't feel the pressure".

She said the delegation from the embassy said Rebiya Kadeer was a terrorist but embassy staff could not "substantiate the claims".

Mr Lewis said these issues were looked into by the Australian Government when they processed her visa application last month.

"The advice from Australia's intelligence agencies was that Ms Kadeer was not a terrorist. Ms Kadeer was issued an Australian visa," Mr Lewis said.

He said the Chinese Government must be happy that Maori TV have decided to run their documentary.

"Since there will be no rebuttal of the slanders contained in the Chinese program tonight, there is a very simple remedy: we hope the Maori community, whose own history resonates so strongly with the Uyghurs, now invites Rebiya Kadeer to visit New Zealand as their guest to tell her side of the July 5 story and the on-going Uyghur genocide," Mr Lewis said.

The Chinese Government also asked the Melbourne International Film Festival to withdraw Mr Lewis' film.

Festival director Richard Moore refused the request. The festival's communication systems - phone, fax, email and website - were hacked and blocked by overuse.

It was believed Beijing then pressured Chinese film-makers into withdrawing their films from the festival programme.

The embassy of the People's Republic of China in New Zealand was contacted for comment but did not return phone calls.

MAORI TV TONIGHT

8.30pm 10 Conditions of Love
9.30pm Xinjiang Urumqi July 5 Riot: Truth

See the trailer for the documentary below:

- NZ Herald

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