1 Sep 2009

Maori TV to screen doco despite Chinese opposition

6:49 pm on 1 September 2009

Maori Television says it will screen a documentary about an exiled Muslim leader from China despite calls from embassy officials not to.

The Ten Conditions of Love, to be screened on Tuesday night, focuses on Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer, who now lives in the United States.

The Uighurs are a Muslim minority with ancestral ties to China's Xinjiang province, which they call East Turkestan, and were involved in riots amid ethnic tensions in July this year.

Hundreds of people were detained following violence involving Uighurs protesting over the killing of two Uighurs by Han Chinese. Almost 200 people died in the clashes in the provincial capital, Urumqi.

Maori Television chief executive Jim Mather says Chinese embassy officials claim Ms Kadeer has links to terrorist groups and they implied that the documentary is unbalanced.

"Having personally viewed the documentary ... I came to the conclusion that this was as balanced as one would expect in any independently produced documentary."

Mr Mather says in order to maintain balance of the issue, Maori Television has scheduled a documentary supplied by the Chinese government regarding the Xinjiang riots to screen straight after the documentary on Ms Kadeer.

Maori Television says it has a strong belief in the fundamental right of all people to have freedom of speech.

Attempts by Chinese officials to stop the film being aired in Australia in July were also unsuccessful.