Australian media headlines: China is tough! Rumor has it that ABC Australia received a greeting: Don’t make false reports
According to ABC news, the Chinese government implicitly threatened the country’s broadcasting company that if ABC broadcasts a report produced by Beijing correspondent Stephen McDonell, relations between the two countries will be harmed.
The report will be aired on ABC’s Foreign Correspondent show on Tuesday night (Note: 8 o’clock), which explores the increasingly severe crackdowns by the Chinese government on a small number of Muslim groups in the western province of Xinjiang.
The independence movement sought by the Uighurs has been severely cracked down by the Chinese authorities.
The Chinese government recently sentenced the respected Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti to life imprisonment, a move that has been condemned by the international community.
Two weeks ago, when McDonell returned to Beijing after filming in Xinjiang, the Chinese Embassy in Canberra contacted Mark Scott, managing director of ABC, to express their concern about the show, and they asked not to broadcast the show.
Steve Taylor, executive producer of the Foreign Correspondent show, said: "They learned about the information while the show was still being produced, and they (the embassy officials) made the above comments."
After sending another email to Scott, two senior officials from the Chinese Embassy in Canberra had a one-hour meeting with ABC Media Director Michael Millett.
Millett told Fairfax Media: "They have expressed their views clearly and unmistakably. They don't want the show to be broadcast... But in short, we will broadcast the show."
ABC sources said that during the meeting, Chinese officials said that if the program is broadcast, the impact will be more than just a dispute with the state broadcaster.
Millet refused to meet to give a detailed explanation, saying only that Chinese officials "strongly, but politely expressed their views."
According to the executive producer, McDonell and Wayne McAllister have demonstrated perseverance in the face of obstruction by the Chinese authorities and produced shows that reflect the plight of Uyghurs.
Taylor said: "We were very worried about their integrity and safety during the recording of the show and when the materials were sent back to Australia."
In 2009, the Chinese government tried to prevent the Melbourne International Film Festival from canceling a documentary about exile to Uyghur leader Rebiya Kader, but was unsuccessful.
Fairfax Media has tried to contact the Chinese Embassy in this regard and sent written questions, but so far has not received a response.
Sydney Morning Herald