Melbourne, Australia – Chinese hackers attacked the website of the Melbourne’s International Film festival, apparently furious that it was going to screen a documentary about exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer.
Police have been called in to investigate the sabotage and private security guards were being hired to protect film-goers and festival staff. Four Chinese-language films had been withdrawn from the Festival and a long-term Hong Kong-based sponsor had pulled out of the event.
Hackers replaced festival information with the Chinese flag and anti-Kadeer slogans. Last night there was a denial of service attack on the site. The hackers said that they loved film, but hate Rebiya Kadeer. Another message called for an official apology to the Chinese people for daring to even mention the name Rebiya Kadeer. The attacks appear to be coming from a Chinese IP address.
Festival director Richard Moore said staff had been bombarded with abusive emails since it was disclosed that the festival had rejected Chinese Government demands to withdraw the film about Kadeer, The 10 Conditions of Love. Kadeer had been invited to attend the festival.
More said that the language used in the emails had been vile and it was obviously a concerted campaign to get the festival because it had refused to comply with the Chinese Government’s orders.
Director Tang Xiaobai withdrew her film Perfect Life from the festival after being phoned by the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television. She said that she didn’t want to see her film screened on the same platform as a film about Kadeer.
Beijing accuses Kadeer of masterminding the riots on July 5 in Xinjiang’s capital, Urumqi, in which almost 200 people died when they ran repeatedly into Chinese police batons. She denies this.
The film will be shown on August 8.