In an attempt to minimise controversy, Taiwan’s Kaohsiung City Government has decided to separate the screening of documentary 10 Conditions Of Love from the upcoming Kaohsiung Film Festival in October.
The controversial film will be instead screened at Kaohsiung Film Archive on Sept 22 and Sept 23, with two screenings on each day.
The film, about exiled Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer, was originally selected for the documentary section by the 9th Kaohsiung International Film Festival. However the selection sparked criticism from mainland China as well as from some Taiwanese legislators.
Kadeer is deemed a dangerous separatist by the Chinese government and the Chinese authorities believed she was behind the violent riot in Xinjiang in July.
Some mainland tourist groups were reportedly “discouraged” from visiting and staying in Kaohsiung City after the city’s inclusion of the controversial film, also after the city’s invitation of the Dalai Lama to visit Taiwan in August.
Kaohsiung City’s tourism industry pointed out that, in September, more than 2,000 hotel rooms were cancelled by mainland tourist groups, and the business of department stores and restaurants dropped by 30%. Representatives of Kaohsiung’s tourism industry last week publicly urged the city government to reconsider cancelling the screening of the film.
Despite this gesture from Kaohsiung, the Taiwan Affairs Office of China’s State Council said in a statement released yesterday that the office “firmly objects to the screening of the film”. “We urge Kaohsiung City not to cause more disturbances on cross-strait relations,” the office said in a statement.