Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister He Yafei was to attend the Pacific Islands Forum earlier this month but sent a junior envoy instead, to protest against Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer's Australian visit, confirmed the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT). Lobbying by Chinese officials failed to stop a documentary about Kadeer airing at the recent Melbourne International Film Festival, and the Chinese were also angry that Kadeer was granted a visa, allowing her to speak at the National Press Club in Canberra last week. The exiled Uighur leader currently lives in the USA. Tension between the Muslim Uighur population and the Han Chinese flared last month, leaving some 200 people dead. China accused Kadeer of orchestrating the riot. "We regret that the Chinese government has felt obliged to take these steps, since the government's position on the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region is clear," said a DFAT spokesperson.