Chinese hackers have sabotaged the website of Australia's biggest film festival over plans to screen a documentary about a Uighur activist China accuses of stirring unrest.There has been a shift from about the nineties onwards where leaders are not recognising, or meeting, the Dalai Lama, at China's behest, and where the occupation of Tibet has been swept under the carpet. Of course, it is a popular cause, so various celebrities keep it in the news, but in South Africa recently, Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu refused to attend a soccer celebration, also celebrating peace, as the Dalai Lama had been refused a visa by South African authorities. Certain elements think that Desmond Tutu is not a man for peace either. I strongly disagree with this, but opaqueness is the name of the game, baby. The public may be willing to do the right thing, but our governments sure ain't.
The proliferation of the Net means that we can get more information than ever before, but we can also get more false information than before, and it can look very professional and it can pervade all levels of news. Of course this has always been the case, but I don't think that the spreading of propaganda and the sabotage of sites which put up differing views has ever been so easy or prolific.
One of the downsides, and there are many, to making sure that all production is done offshore means that you are, to a degree, held to the offshore country's politics and policies. Small presses, such as university presses in Australia, now print offshore. I remember a while ago that a book that was being printed about Queensland was refused printing in China due to it detailing a time when China and Tibet shared a border. The university chose to publish the book in Thailand.
On paper, Western companies can choose to take their work elsewhere if they can not get it printed in China. In the case of UNSW this meant engaging the services of a printer in Thailand. However, not all Western companies can afford to do this. Especially not if they have a standing contract with a Chinese printer and cannot go elsewhere due to time or financial constraints, or if they are part of a joint venture and have a stake in said printer.The Dalai Lama, after all, in Chinese eyes is a dangerous criminal, or that is what the propaganda will tell you. Tibet has always been Chinese.
The Uighur Chinese are discriminated against. There is, as in Tibet, an active policy to replace them with the majority Han Chinese. There was a motto from 2000, "Go west young Han," meaning, such as in so many other trouble spots in the world, go forth and ethnically cleanse, by your very presence if not by your actions.
Of course, the rabid Islamphobia in the west means that China can also jump on this bandwagon and use it as a justification for its actions, in addition to knowing that many nations in the world depend upon it for trade.
I feel sorry for the organiser of this year's festival. Ken Loach has withdrawn his film due to concern about the Israeli embassy's involvement. Some Chinese directors, as detailed in the article below, have withdrawn their films due to the inclusion of a documentary on exiled Uighur leader, Rebiya Kadeer. Also a Channel 4 interview with her.
I remember my Chinese students in New Zealand telling me that the student protests at Tiananmen Square which resulted in the deaths of protesters (estimates, 600-800) were some students who got some bad ideas and did something wrong. Such obfuscation exists in our own countries too, of course. On the Esplanade in Fremantle is a statue commemorating the Battle of Pinjarra. The Aboriginal people of the area call it the Massacre of Pinjarra, which seems more apt, and it was not a unique event. Yet, many Australians know nothing about it.
My students also told me that China would never attack another country and only ever took up arms when she had to defend herself. Now, I think that every country likes to think this of themselves, or like their citizens to think this. However, I guess that our school system tends to value critical thinking. Or some teachers do, and some students pick it up.
Anyway, one would think that our leaders had not put their ability to think critically in the complete pandering and pragmatic box. Of course Australia got rid of its secondary industries long ago, probably in the name of the free trade that benefits a few countries, and disadvantages most of the others, so, maybe we have no choice but to pander to China if we want our economy to stay afloat.
I wonder what repeats in history? The actual facts or the continual distortion of them so that no element of truth is ever known, and therefore such jingoistic and distorted actions, such as discrimination, land grabs, the perpetuation of human rights abuse not only never abate but are nurtured in perpetuity.
This link came via Australians for Palestine, and it should make interesting listening:
What then is the ethical position of a festival director in response to the
politics of cultural boycott?
Richard Moore of MIFF and Rod Webb, who was director of the Sydney Film
Festival in the l980s, during the apartheid years discuss the issues
Chinese hackers target Aussie film festival
12:07 AEST Sun Jul 26 2009
Chinese hackers have sabotaged the website of Australia's biggest film festival over plans to screen a documentary about a Uighur activist China accuses of stirring unrest.
Hackers attacked the Melbourne International Film Festival website yesterday, replacing information with the Chinese flag and leaving slogans criticising exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer, The Age newspaper reported.
Chinese directors have already withdrawn their films over the August 8 screening of the Kadeer documentary and festival director Richard Moore has accused Chinese officials of trying to bully him into pulling the documentary.
The Age reported that festival staff had been inundated with abusive emails over Moore's refusal to withdraw the film and cancel Kadeer's invitation to attend the screening.
"The language has been vile," Moore told the newspaper. "It is obviously a concerted campaign to get us because we've refused to comply with the Chinese government's demands."
He said police were investigating the website attacks, which appeared to come from a Chinese Internet address, and private security guards would be on hand to protect Kadeer and film-goers at next month's screening.
The website appeared to be working normally Sunday and festival organisers were not immediately available for comment.
Kadeer, the US-based head of the World Uighur Congress, is the subject of the documentary "Ten Conditions of Love" by Australian Jeff Daniels.
The Chinese government accuses her of masterminding violent unrest that broke out in China's northwestern Xinjiang region on July 5 that left more than 190 people dead. She denies the charges.
The Uighurs, a Muslim ethnic minority group who mainly live in western Xinjiang province, complain of political and religious repression under Chinese rule.
Chinese directors Tang Xiaobai and Jia Zhangke withdrew their films from the festival last week, citing the Kadeer documentary's inclusion.
Tang said she decided to boycott the event after receiving calls from government officials but insisted she was not pressured and the decision was her own.
Retrieved July 26, 2009 from http://news.ninemsn.com.au/technology/841905/Chinese-hackers-target-Aussie-film-festival