China hackers crash Aussie film festival website

Aug 01, 2009
Chinese hackers crashed the website of Australia's biggest film festival, organisers said, escalating tensions over a visit here by the exiled Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer, seen here in Tokyo this week.

Chinese hackers crashed the website of Australia's biggest film festival, organisers said on Saturday, escalating tensions over a visit here by the exiled leader of the Uighur minority.

Online bookings for the Melbourne International Film Festival had to be shut down after the site was bombarded with phony purchases which resulted in the entire program being sold out, said festival spokeswoman Asha Holmes.

A Chinese citizen living in the United States had alerted organisers to the viral campaign, which originated from a website in China titled "A Call to Action to All Chinese People", said Holmes.

The site explained how to set up a fake profile to buy tickets, and aimed to crash the festival's site in protest against its screening of "Ten Conditions of Love" and its hosting of the documentary's subject, Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer.

"It's a very pointed attempt to shut down the system, which has been quite effective," Holmes told AFP.

"We have had to shut down our online site and ask everyone to book at the physical box office or on the phone."

The scam aimed "to protest and sabotage the Melbourne International Film Festival because the festival invited Rebiya Kadeer, the exiled Uighur leader from Washington DC," the man who first raised the alarm wrote, in an seen by AFP.

"Really, we imagine that until we withdraw the film (about Kadeer), which we are not going to do, this kind of activity will continue," Holmes said.

China has labelled the US-based Muslim minority leader a "criminal" and accuses her of masterminding the July 5 Xinjiang riots that left at least 197 people dead and 1,600 injured.

Canberra has rebuffed Chinese objections to the visit by Kadeer, saying she is not a "terrorist" and there is no reason to exclude her.

All Chinese language films were withdrawn from the festival in protest, and Hong Kong and Taipei's trade offices both pulled their sponsorship.

China summoned Australia's ambassador to the foreign ministry in Beijing to protest Kadeer's visit, according to state media there.

Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun told Ambassador Geoff Raby that Australia must not allow Kadeer to engage in any anti-Chinese separatist activities during her visit, the official Xinhua news agency reported late Friday.

Australia should "immediately correct its wrongdoings", it said, apparently referring to Canberra's decision to issue a visa to the 62-year-old grandmother and Nobel Peace Prize candidate.

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: Digital dilemma: How will US respond to Sony hack?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

YouTube confirms website blocked in China

Mar 24, 2009

YouTube confirmed Tuesday its website was being blocked in China, although the California firm offered no explanation for why Chinese authorities were barring access to the popular video-sharing service.

Tiananmen security tight on crackdown anniversary

Jun 03, 2009

(AP) -- Police saturated Tiananmen Square with security Thursday, the 20th anniversary of the bloody crackdown on pro-democracy activists, and an exiled protest leader was blocked from returning home to confront ...

China to stick to controversial software rule

Jun 23, 2009

China will not back away from a new rule requiring that Internet filtering software be shipped with all computers sold in the country despite heavy criticism of the plan, state media has said.

Recommended for you

Digital dilemma: How will US respond to Sony hack?

Dec 18, 2014

The detective work blaming North Korea for the Sony hacker break-in appears so far to be largely circumstantial, The Associated Press has learned. The dramatic conclusion of a Korean role is based on subtle ...

UN General Assembly OKs digital privacy resolution

Dec 18, 2014

The U.N. General Assembly has approved a resolution demanding better digital privacy protections for people around the world, another response to Edward Snowden's revelations about U.S. government spying.

Online privacy to remain thorny issue: survey

Dec 18, 2014

Online privacy will remain a thorny issue over the next decade, without a widely accepted system that balances user rights and personal data collection, a survey of experts showed Thursday.

Spain: Google News vanishes amid 'Google Tax' spat

Dec 16, 2014

Google on Tuesday followed through with a pledge to shut down Google News in Spain in reaction to a Spanish law requiring news publishers to receive payment for content even if they are willing to give it away.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.