2 Sep 2009

Producer protests screening of Chinese programme

3:09 pm on 2 September 2009

Maori Television is being accused of bowing to pressure and screening Chinese government propaganda aimed at discrediting a documentary about a dissident leader.

The channel on Tuesday night showed two programmes about the Muslim minority Uighur people in Xinjiang province, where riots in July claimed at least 200 lives.

The first, The 10 Conditions of Love, tells of the personal trials of exiled Uighur leader, Rebiya Kadeer, who now lives in the United States.

The second film was produced by the Chinese government, which accuses Ms Kadeer of masterminding the riots in Xinjiang. It claimed peace has returned to Xinjiang.

10 Conditions of Love producer John Lewis described the 20 minute Chinese film as state totalitarian propaganda and says Maori Television should have refused to run it.

He says the decision was doubly disappointing because Maori TV was one of the first to offer to help fund the film.

Maori Television chief executive Jim Mather met Chinese officials on Wednesday, but says he was under no pressure to screen the film.