A controversial documentary about the struggles of exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer in China failed to draw a big audience despite all the hype that preceded its broadcast.

The Chinese Embassy created a buzz last month when it asked Maori Television not to screen The 10 Conditions of Love, claiming it distorted facts.

But the controversy did not convert into high ratings.

Attracting 63,000 viewers to watch the documentary - which depicted the plight of the Muslim Uighur people living in Xinjiang - was "probably a bit disappointing", said Maori TV's general manager of sales and marketing, Sonya Haggie.

While the Chinese Government did not manage to stop the broadcast, it was successful in having its response - Xinjiang Urumqi July 5 Riot: Truth - shown immediately after The 10 Conditions of Love.

But that official version of the ethnic riots in July in which at least 197 people were killed and more than 1600 were injured drew only 50,000 viewers to Maori TV.

Ms Haggie said that "overall, the ratings were strong for a Tuesday."

"However, we were surprised that the two documentaries did not attract a larger audience given the level of interest that there has been."

In Xinjiang Urumqi July 5 Riot: Truth, Kadeer was branded a terrorist and was accused of instigating and orchestrating the riots.

Ms Haggie said the station received one email which expressed concern at the level of violence in the Chinese Government's documentary.

A senior source at Maori Television said that despite the Chinese Embassy's request to "can" The 10 Conditions of Love, the New Zealand Government had never pressured the station not to show it.

"They have never, to my knowledge, tried to exert any editorial control over the station at any time."

The source said the possibility of Ms Kadeer, who now lives in the United States, seeking an audience with King Tuheitia during the recent coronation commemorations at Ngaruawahia had been mooted.

But a senior Tainui figure, whom the Herald agreed not to name, said the meeting had never eventuated and no contact between the exiled Muslim leader and the tribe had occurred.