Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

'Rebiya' film lauded by first Taiwan viewers

'Rebiya' film lauded by first Taiwan viewers

Despite intense opposition from the People's Republic of China and local tourist businesses, a controversial documentary on the life of exiled Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer was acclaimed as "moving" and "thought provoking" by viewers who saw its first two screenings in Taiwan's southern port city of Kaohsiung yesterday afternoon.
In the wake of external and domestic pressure, the Democratic Progressive Party-administered Kaohsiung City government advanced the four showings of "The 10 Conditions of Love," a 59-minute documentary filmed by Australian director Jeff Danies, from the Kaohsiung Film Festival from Oct. 16 to Oct. 29 to four special screenings this week. Besides two showings yesterday afternoon at the KFF venue of the Kaohsiung Municipal Film Archive (KMFA), the film will be screened tomorrow at 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. at Vie Show Cinemas in Kaohsiung's FE21 shopping center.
Since the decision to show the documentary in the KFF was made, DPP Kaohsiung City Mayor Chen Chu and her administration have been subject to demands by the PRC Taiwan Affairs Office to cancel the film about Kadeer, the president of the Uyghur World Congress, whom Beijing views as "a criminal and a terrorist."
Chen Chu, a strident advocate of human rights and a former political prisoner in the struggle against Kuomintang (KMT) authoritarian rule in the 1970s and 1980s, declared Monday that cancelling the showings would bring shame on Kaohsiung's image as a "progressive and human rights city."
Despite Chen's decision to screen the documentary, about 20 human rights activists and film-makers protested the schedule change in front of the KMFA before the first showing of the documentary film for the news media yesterday afternoon at 2:00 p.m.
Taiwan Association of University Professors president and noted Taiwan historian Chen Yi-shan said that the decision showed a "lack of respect for human rights and artistic freedom" and that the Kaohsiung City government had "bowed to China's "use of commerce to pressure the government" and called for the reinstatement of "Ten Conditions" in the KFF.
Saying that "Without 'Love' there is no Human Rights," the Taiwan-centric protestors called for a boycott of the KFF. Similarly, Chen's decision prompted two Taiwan directors of two human rights films, "A Burning Mission - Rescue the Political Prisoners of Taiwan" and"My Human Rights Journey," to withdrawal from the KFF to protest the failure to defend artistic autonomy and professionalism.
"Freedom, democracy and human rights are the proudest achievements of the Taiwan people and with their loss, we will lose our most precious values," wrote Chen Li-kui and Chen Yu-ching in an open letter to Chen Chu issued Monday.
Moreover, the Kaohsiung City spokesman related that the city government was negotiating with Daniels to find a way to allow civic organizations across in Taiwan to screen "The 10 Conditions of Love."
"This movie expresses the concern that Rebiya Kadeer has for her compatriots and we can see many situations like this in the world wherever oppression by authority is faced with resistance to oppression," said Hsu.
"I found this documentary to be very moving and almost cried during the last half, on how four of Kadeer's children in China were arrested for her political activities," Hsu told The Taiwan News.
DPP Legislator Tien Chiu-chin, who attended the 4 p.m. showing, told The Taiwan News that its portrayal of the exiled Uighur activist from her upbringing in poverty and her later involvement in politics and exile reminded her of woman activists in Taiwan's "Tangwai" democratic movement of the 1970s and 1980s.
"It is obvious that the Chinese government does not want this film shown anywhere because it exposes the darkest side of its rule and because it shows Rebiya frankly as a human being whom is far from perfect but who is also absolutely not a 'devil' or a 'terrorist,"' observed the DPP lawmaker.
"Instead of trying to silence people like Rebiya or the Dalai Lama or putting pressure on us here, I hope we can have a dialogue with China as genuine friends who can talk to each other about what they really believe in their hearts," the DPP lawmaker said.
"But after watching this movie, anyone from Taiwan will consider how we can maintain our status quo under such unrelenting pressure from China," said Tien, who stated that "the most important lesson from this film is that you must have the courage to stand up for what you think is right."


Updated : 2022-01-23 08:32 GMT+08:00

"