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Taiwan urged not to run Rebiya film
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10:31, September 21, 2009

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The mainland's Taiwan Affairs Office yesterday urged the city of Kaohsiung not to show a scheduled film about Rebiya Kadeer.

Kaohsiung plans to show the film about the Uygur separatist four times tomorrow and on Wednesday ahead of its annual film festival.

"To draw the curtains over this controversy as soon as possible, the film will be screened ahead of schedule," city officials said in a statement.

The documentary had been scheduled for next month's annual film festival in Kaohsiung, whose mayor, Chen Chu, is backed by Taiwan's (pro-independence) opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

The Kaohsiung government said they were re-evaluating whether or not to show the film after the local tourism sector expressed grave concern that mainland tourists would boycott the southern port city if it insists on showing the movie.

Mayor Chen announced yesterday that the documentary would be screened tomorrow and on Wednesday, instead of at the film festival next month.

"Since the film festival organizers have decided to show the film, we simply cannot say 'no' to them," Chen told reporters, adding she did not want to see the film festival negatively impacted.

The Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman yesterday expressed "resolute opposition" to Kaohsiung's decision, saying Rebiya is a separatist and was behind the July 5 riot in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, which led to 197 deaths and more than 1,700 people being injured.

While "some force" in Kaohsiung insisted on showing this film, which twisted the facts and beautified the separatist, the spokesman said the film actually sends "the wrong signals to terrorists".

The spokesman also urged Kaohsiung not to insist on getting its way and stop provoking issues in cross-Straits ties.

Chen and six other heads of Taiwan's southern cities and counties, all DPP members, invited the Dalai Lama to visit the island two weeks ago to pray for victims of Typhoon Morakot, which killed up to 770 people, mostly in mudslides. That had already caused "resolute opposition" from Beijing, also leading to concerns over damage to cross-Straits ties.

Some mainland travel agents have avoided Kaohsiung hotels since the Dalai Lama's visit, contributing to a marked September decline in room bookings, said Taipei Association of Travel Agents official Anthony Liao.

Source:China Daily

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