On Saturday, 34 days after the July 5 riot in China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region that claimed 197 lives, a controversial documentary depicting Rebiya Kadeer, a notorious Chinese separatist, was screened at the Melbourne International Film Festival.
Kadeer, 62, was among the several hundred viewers at Melbourne Town Hall to watch the 53-minute "The 10 Conditions of Love."
The host at the screening had apparently expected praises and applauds at the end of the showing, but Kadeer appeared on the stage only to find that many in the audience had started to leave.
Allen and Dana, a couple who left the hall skipping the question-and-answer session, told Xinhua that they were not at all interested in what Kadeer would say after the screening.
They said they believed that Kadeer and her supporters intended to use the occasion to promote their views and influence.
Expressing deep disappointment, a university professor who identified herself as Catherine told Xinhua that the film was full of prejudices.
She said she had lived in China for two years and had been to Xinjiang, which enabled her to witness the great changes which have taken place in China and the huge progress in Xinjiang brought about by the Chinese government's preferential policies toward ethnic minorities there.
Rebiya Kadeer, with an education background of only elementary school, could not have been able to achieve her business success if she had not benefited from those policies, Catherine said.
Kadeer started from a small business in the 1980s and worked her way to the richest woman in Xinjiang. She had also been a delegate to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference,
China's top political consultative body, before she was found leaking state secrets to overseas separatists.
Kadeer was given a lot of honor by the government, but the ungrateful woman in the end turned against the government, Catherine said, adding that it put a question mark on her integrity and credibility.
Freelance writer Linda told Xinhua while walking out of the hall that it was a poorly shot documentary among the nearly 200 films that were screened at the annual international festival in Melbourne.
She said she was here simply because issues concerning Xinjiang were hyped up recently in Australia by some media.
That did not mean she agreed with what Kadeer's biopic said, she added.
During the question-and-answer session, Kadeer was at one point stumped for words in response to a question about the July 5 violence.
A man from the audience who called himself David challenged Kadeer's assertion that she is an advocate of non-violence.
"I have stayed in China for three years... Personally I think China's ethnic policies do create opportunities for the people of all ethnic minorities in China," David said, adding that Kadeer was herself one of the beneficiaries.
He noted that the casualties of Han Chinese in the July 5 riot were much higher than those of Uygurs. How come the Chinese government suppressed ethnic minorities?
The question left Kadeer and the director speechless with embarrassment. After all, lies will collapse of themselves.
Kadeer is leader of the World Uygur Congress which is believed to be behind the deadly July 5 rioting in Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
Seven Chinese films have been withdrawn from the 58th Melbourne International Film Festival in protest at the screening of Kadeer's biopic. The directors of the Chinese films have expressed strong condemnation against the festival's invitation of Kadeer.