Statement by Jia Zhangke on his withdrawal from Melbourne International Film Festival

As a follow-up to yesterday’s news of three Chinese films pulling out of the Melbourne International Film Festival in protest to a documentary on Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer, we are posting a translation of a statement made by Jia Zhangke concerning his decision to withdraw his short film as well as Emily Tang’s A Perfect Life, produced by Jia’s company XStream Pictures. The original statement in Chinese, found here, was translated by Yuqian Yan. In this statement Jia refers to another protest, by British director Ken Loach, who withdrew from the festival after objecting to the festival’s sponsorship by the state of Israel.

1. We have no intention to interfere with the film festival’s freedom to facilitate artistic communication. It is our way of self-discipline to withdraw from the Melbourne Film Festival. I’m not an expert at Xinjiang history, but since it is only two weeks after the Urumqi riots, I think we should at least be cautious not to offend the victims.

2. The political inclination of the Melbourne Film Festival this year is getting stronger. First, it was the British director Ken Loach who questioned the funding of the festival, accusing them of using blood money. Then Ten Conditions of Love, a documentary about Rebiya Kadeer, appeared on the program list. They even organized a series of activities for her.

3. We think attending the same event with Rebiya Kadeer contains political meanings. It is emotionally intolerable and practically inappropriate. So the staff of Xstream Pictures agreed to withdraw from the festival to show our attitude and stance.

4. On July 19, our company representative Zhou Qiang (Chow Keung) wrote to the president of Melbourne Film Festival, announcing that two films from XStream Pictures: “Cry Me a River” and A Perfect Life will withdraw from the festival. Director Emily Tang Xiaobai and producer Zhou Qiang (Chow Keung) also canceled their plans to attend the festival.

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